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Swan&Stone Millinery--eco-fabulous headwear, handmade in Brandon, VT--accepted to Grand Central Holiday Fair in New York City!
Swan&Stone Millinery--eco-fabulous headwear, handmade in Brandon, VT--accepted to Grand Central Holiday Fair in New York City!
144 backers pledged $18,060 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

Farm fresh Vermont hats are New York City bound! project video thumbnail
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$18,060

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We're going to New York! 

Swan&Stone Millinery began four years ago as a collaboration of 6 sheep and two artisans, making hats on our Brandon, Vermont farm.  Sam Stone, our farmer and felter, makes our felts using farm-raised wool and other natural fibers.  Nora Swan, our designer and milliner works with the unique properties of each felt to create hats and fascinators, using antique hat forms, vintage trims and feathers from the farm and beyond.

Since the beginning, we have been making hats, one by one, and selling mostly at 3-day-long art shows up and down the east coast.  Our sales and production capacity have been about equal, and we've been plugging along. 

Then we were approached by one of the directors of the Grand Central Holiday Fair...

To do this market, we will need to produce twice the amount of hats for a six-week period than what in the past we've produced for an entire year!  In order to prepare, and to bump ourselves up to a new level of business, we took out an economic development loan from our home town.  With the loan, we were able to expand our studio space, purchase a FeltLoom for making felt yardage used in some of our hats, and buy much greater quantities of raw materials (including hundreds of pounds of merino wool.)

So we were poised and ready to go when the acceptance letter showed up in our inbox! A show of this size brings a level of exposure we could never expect in Vermont--greater than any marketing plan we could either devise or fund.  In fashion, one of the most important keys to success is just being seen.  And with over two million people passing through Grand Central Station daily, this is guaranteed.  In addition, the level of sales we can expect could allow us to continue growing our business:  train and hire staff, launch new lines and products, and, ultimately, acquire a custom millinery retail space.  

The only piece missing now is the $16,690 booth fee to participate in the show!  Let us explain that number.  Yes, it is high, but it is also the way we have grown accustomed to doing business.  Throughout the year, we travel to art shows up and down the coast, and in addition to gas and hotel, we often pay booth fees that range from $900 to $1,500 for just two or three days.  This show in Grand Central is 39 days straight AND it's in the center of Manhattan.  It is very comparable to what we currently pay for other shows. 

But the value to our business far exceeds that number.  And we hope you join us for this great journey!  We've created a rewards structure that invites all of you along with us to New York, by offering pieces unique to this fall season and many debuing at the Grand Central Holiday Fair.  We also hope that you will all join us in a great celebration in January, when we host a Cocktail Hat Party at our studio, with music, food, and, above all, hats!

The Rewards

Sage and Bitter Chocolate Soft Cloche
Sage and Bitter Chocolate Soft Cloche
Art Felt Fascinator
Art Felt Fascinator
Blocked Hat Trimmed with Art Felt
Blocked Hat Trimmed with Art Felt
Art Felt Hair Clip
Art Felt Hair Clip

 A Little Press

http://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/four-vermont-fashion-mavens-take-their-creations-to-strut/Content?oid=2265959

http://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2014/02/23/adventurous-fashion-from-hose-toes/pffXOIJfSCvc6nWvYrV0HN/story.html

Risks and challenges

This is a very low risk endeavor! Our business has four years of success under our belts and we are looking to achieve a greater level of exposure and broaden our reach from local to global.
We've eliminated most of the risk by preparing ourselves in advance. Now that we will have the FeltLoom in our studio and do not have to rent time elsewhere, our capacity has dramatically grown. We will minimize the risks by communicating with you before shipping any rewards: You can choose color and style, we will show you how to measure your head and eliminate size issues, and we always email photos back and forth to be sure you are receiving exactly what we've agreed on!

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    We will send you a hand-written thank you card with a feather enclosed.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Our brand-new, never before released Art Felt Hair Clip. We start with our hand-made, colorful felt, using merino fiber, silks, yarns and anything else that looks amazing, and add it to a barrette. Please see the photo under "Rewards." Beautiful, unique, one of a kind!

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    One of our brand-new, never-before-seen hand felted bow ties! These are pre-tied clip-ons to minimize fuss. Each is completely unique, gorgeous and one-of-kind!

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    You and a friend will join us for an exclusive Cocktail Hat Party in our Brandon, VT studio. Come dressed to the nines and we'll provide hats for the evening, music, light refreshments and party atmosphere!

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Women have a choice of one of our Loom-Felted, soft merino wool hats: either a kepi or cloche. This is $35 off our retail price in celebration of our new FeltLoom! Choose one of three color combinations: sage and bitter chocolate, red and black or black and gray. These hats are adjustable and one size fits most (we are happy to work with particularly petite or well-endowed noggins).
    In addition, we will send you one invitation to our Cocktail Hat Party in January.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    For the men, we will send you one of our newly launched, hand-felted merino scarves. Be the first to sport this season's Swan&Stone menswear around your manly neck. We will offer a choice of color combinations.
    In addition, we will send you one invitation to our Cocktail Hat Party in January.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Choice of one of our exclusive art felt fascinators. We make this felt with merino wool, silk fibers and fabrics and various yarns and the effect is sublime! We will offer three shapes--button, cupcake and rain drop--and general color choice. But the actual felt design is left to us to surprise and wow you!
    In addition, we will send you one invitation to our Cocktail Hat Party in January.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Coordinated art felt hat and scarf. This is our very chic blocked hat in black, trimmed with colorful art felt. We will work with you to chose the hat's shape and size. The felt design of the scarf will match the felt accent on the hat.
    In addition, we will send you one invitation to our Cocktail Hat Party in January.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Completely custom, Swan&Stone Millinery original hat with coordinated scarf, and one-of-a-kind fascinator. Start your Swan&Stone collection in style, by providing your head with all its day and evening wear needs at once, all while maintaining the knowledge that no one on the planet will ever sport the same chapeau (unless you loan it out). This includes a session with Sam to select felt colors and 2-4 sessions with Nora to select style, shape and trim. This can be done in person at our studio in Brandon or through email, text, Skype or FaceTime!

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Funding period

- (30 days)