Hello! My name is Susan Dillon and I am a milliner (maker of lovely hats) in Denver, CO. My line is called Kitty Mae Millinery - one of a kind hats & accessories for those who demand the spotlight! I specialize in bespoke, couture and ready made hats & headpieces for anyone who wants all eyes on them.
I discovered the world of millinery in 2008, and have been going full steam ever since. What started as a little hobby of making fascinators & mini top hats for myself and other performers, became a passion (and profession) when I began offering bridal & couture styles in 2010. And, once I discovered the process of hand blocking dress or Kentucky Derby style hats, all thought of doing anything else was gone! I ADORE hats... making them, wearing them, seeing others wear them, talking about them, anything to do with hats... I am happy to take part!
I am a self taught milliner... everything I know comes from trial & error, a couple of books and a few internet searches. It's the process I love more than anything. Hat making is almost sculptural; I often think of what I create as more art than fashion (but it is art you can wear)! From molding the materials on blocks, assembling the combination of brim & crown (or fascinator base) to determine the style of the hat, and all the way to choosing & manipulating the embellishments to finish the piece, each step is fascinating and immensely rewarding for me.
In 2012, I offered dress hats for the Kentucky Derby for the first time. American milliners can really let loose on hats for the Kentucky Derby... it's our one domestic event renowned for hat wearing. I sold more than a dozen handmade hats, each unique and several made to order, with 3 actually traveling to Kentucky to attend the Derby in person!
I am ready to expand, both professionally and creatively. And, in order to expand, I need to be able to offer even more incredible styles for the upcoming 2013 Kentucky Derby. And that means ordering new blocks. These blocks will allow me almost exponential growth in the fabulous hats I can create. But blocks are expensive, and you need a different one for each different style or size. I would also like to help bring back "hat culture" (really just celebrate the art of dressing up), by throwing a Kentucky Derby event here in Denver where we will also show off the Kentucky Derby and Spring/Summer 2013 line.
And I need your help!
I am asking for your help to purchase the blocks and materials to make the 2013 Spring/Summer Dress & Derby hats & to help fund our Kentucky Derby event to celebrate the line. There are so many rewards available to thank you for your help. Every little bit helps, and your support will be truly appreciated. In this era of mass produced goods & quantity over quality, a business where EVERYTHING is handmade one stitch at a time is rarity. Please help me keep the handmade millinery tradition alive, and with it, my dream of being able to do what I love for a very long time!
Thank you so much for your support!
Susan -AKA- "Kitty Mae"
~New! Pictures of rewards!!~
I have had some time to make some samples of the incentives for support, so I thought I would pass some images along!
For a pledge of $15, you will get one hand made hat/stick pin. Each one is unique, and goes beautifully on your hat or jacket lapel.
For $55 support, you will receive a beautiful, hand made silk rose pin in hot pink. These flowers are all made by me, each petal is cut by hand then pressed with two different flower irons one at a time to make the fluffy rose. It is huge, too... almost 8 inches across! I normally sell this style & size rose for $75, but here is your chance to get your own for a bargain AND help out a small business!
The "Cocktail hat thank you" in black, is your only chance to get this piece... I will only make them for Kickstarter supporters! Its is a button style base with a black sinamay flower, black stripped rooster feathers and a a spiral curled peacock sword. It is finished with a bow of black veiling, and mounted on a headband. This is one of the rewards for $150 in support.
And finally, a new reward!! A hand made silk bridal bouquet in two tones of red with vines of green silk & fresh water pearls. Each petal is cut one by one & shaped with two flower irons... a time consuming process (with over 150 petals) but with beautiful results! This style bouquet (10 sweetheart roses and 3 vines) normally retails for $450, but I will make one for you for a pledge of $350! There are only four available, so don't miss out!
I have gotten a couple requests to post some pictures of some of the other rewards. I have finished a sample of the bridal fascinator reward, so here it is!
And, because I shot this against a white wall, you lose the veiling & feathers. So here is a shot on a dark background. You can see the detail of the ruffly petals, all hand formed, and the rhinestone center as well (and did you notice the rhinestone teardrops at the base of the feathers?).
I would normally sell this piece for $175, but, as a "thank you" for supporting my Kickstarter campaign, you can get this hand made pretty created especially for your big day for $125!
Now to finish the Derby Fascinator! Pictures as soon as I do!
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge will be increasing the rate of production of the hats should the orders come in at a higher rate than I anticipated. Although I would LOVE to have more orders than I can handle, I do recognise that this is a possibility as I do all of the work myself. I have begun training interns in millinery to assist me should this happen. I would welcome enough orders to afford the opportunity to hire assistants, and pass on my love for millinery and hats (as well and provide gainful employment for others)!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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