Is anyone aware of a business in the US that leases or rents blocks for short term? They are so expensive, It sounds like a good business idea?
Some ideas for block alternatives here
There's a class this weekend in metro Atlanta at which the instructor is going to bring blocks and the students can block as many hats as possible. I think that's a really nice idea. I like the idea of a block lending library, but it seems that all the hat makers in the U.S. are so spread out it may be hard to start such a business without having to ship the blocks--and that may be prohibitively pricey.
I'm frustrated by the lack of Sinamay in a variety of colors in the U.S. I'm considering ordering some from overseas. I really don't want to do the dyeing thing. It's just not my thing.
What it comes down to Kathleen, is we really need to get people in the U.S. to wear more hats! :)
Cynthia, you are so right about getting more people to wear hats. The more people who wear hats, the more the demand for milliners, which in turn will create the need for more millinery supplies, which will make it easier for those of us in the US to find and purchase supplies without paying for international shipping.
Some of the members of MOE have talked about sharing blocks, but the thought of letting one of mine out of my site, is hard for me to imagine. I have so few that I use all of mine and don't relish the thought of not being able to pull them down to use at any time. I also worry that mailing them often invites risks that damage can occur. I purchased one that arrived with the box so mangled, I could almost see the shape of the block.
I think we really do need hats right now. Our economy is in the toilet. We're still at war. We're like a rudderless ship. We need hats - bold hats, hats that don't compromise, hopeful hats!
I'm going to be ordering some supplies from overseas soon, namely some colorful Sinamay. I've bought felts from overseas before, and I remember it costing me a small fortune in shipping costs. The large supply house on the west coast just doesn't have the variety they have overseas.
I'm like you, I don't think I'd want to send my blocks anywhere. What if you don't get them back?
Yes, more people need to wear hats! :)
I so agree. There is something about seeing big, bold hats that just lifts your spirits. I find it sad that hats went out of vogue here. I do think that with the right exposure, especially if we target younger women, we can bring them back.
I've been watching the fashions coming out of 'New York Fashion Week', and I've never seen so many models wearing hats! So maybe that is a good sign of things to come. I think Americans spend more energy trying to 'dress down'. At least in the midwest and western states. :(
I think you are talking about Jan Wutkowski, and I have had the pleasure of meeting her in a class and we were able to use her wonderful blocks. I am waiting for her to come back to Chicago! She is so talented.
Yes, you guessed that one (Jan W.) without many clues!
I know hat blocks direct do it in England and I think I remember someone mentioning a place in New York but I can't think of the name. It's a great business idea for the states and maybe one you should think about somewhere down the line!
What about taking a block making course, I've saved so much money over time making some of my blocks.
I would love to take a block making class, and I'm watching Jan's schedule regularly for her Chicago arrival. I think the only way a block rental would work in the states, is if a visa/MC were held for the block replacement price. The amount would be refunded, when the block was returned and only a rental fee would then be charged. I would certainly pay to rent a block for a month. If enough orders were taken for that style, it would be worth the investment to purchase my own block. Maybe a distributorship deal could be worked out with a quality block maker, who would benefit from residual orders??
Lacis, 3163 Adeline St., Berkeley, CA 94703, 510-843-7178 has a hat block rental service.
You don't happen to have any woodworking groups in your area by any chance? Although they may not have the offset for their lathes to create oval head blocks, they can often fulfill your needs for smaller cocktail pieces. Some may even be thrilled to exchange a block for a hat for their ladies etc...