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American Hat Makers
Our American hat company has been proudly handcrafting hats for over 50 years. Founder Gary Watrous, started selling handmade leather goods out of the back of his Chevy station wagon in the 1970's. Today we are one of the largest hat manufacturers in the world. Gary Watrous started American Hat Makers in the early 1970's. With an investment of $20 in leather and $20 in leather working tools, he began making belts, wallets, and purses and selling them from the back of his 1963 Chevy station wagon. In the mid 70's, Gary created a leather hat for his own use. He loved it so much that hats quickly became his calling and sole artistic focus. Mostly self-taught - while learning in the "school of hard knocks" - Gary is thankful for the tremendous support and advice he has received from many talented hat professionals and knowledgeable individuals over the years. He also has the good fortune to have a creative and supportive family, many of whom have chosen to join him as the demand for his handmade hats have grown. Not only is Gary profoundly passionate about leatherwork and hat making, he is equally enamored with the team of people working with him at American Hat Makers at the Watsonville, CA headquarters.