I am new to selling at events and just spent two days selling at a professional women's event. I learned that I would have a table at this event just 4 days prior, so I didn't have time to really build inventory before I went. I took between 40 and 50 hats of varying sizes, styles, colors, etc. Not as much variety in sizes as I would have liked, but there would only be 127 women, and knew there probably wouldn't be a large number of buyers. Most of my hats were 22-22 1/2 inches, what I have always thought was average. My hats were too small for the majority of women who tried them on. I think I could have sold twice the number of hats had they been larger. I did offer to take orders, and one woman did place one, but most needed a hat for a dinner at this particular event. I honestly think many, many of these women could have worn my husband's hat and I use a 24" hat block for his. I tried fitting them with pill boxes and fascinators, but no matter where we placed them, their heads were just too large for the hats to look attractive. I don't generally keep saucer hats in stock, because up till now, I have sold mostly online and the cost of shipping those can be prohibitive. What sizes do you take to events? Is there a ratio of small hat sizes to large? I felt really bad for the women who wanted a hat that I could not fit in time for their dinner. I just ordered a "lot" of vintage/antique hat blocks that have large sizes, but need to decide how many larger sizes I should take to the next event I attend.
Good discussion. As a member of the 24-inch club, I've learned that size (and shape) does matter. :) You are right! Even though the pillbox isn't a head-size hat (typically), it needs to be bigger - just so the proportion looks right. When you put a smaller pillbox hat on a larger head, it looks like a kid's birthday hat. And even though it's not quite the style any longer, if you have a fat head (like mine), I think it looks better tilted back a little bit. And you're doubly right about saucer hats. I think they look great and fit just about everyone - just not a very wintry hat. Putting an adjustable headband in your hats can help you fit a larger number of people. You can't make a small hat larger, but you can may a larger hat somewhat smaller. I think you could probably get away with bringing 22-1/2 and 24. In a pinch, there are products that millinery supply houses carry that can reduce the head size. Having that available during your fitting may be helpful. I use it a lot in theater work. I do think there are two things going on. The first and most fundamental is making sure the hat fits on the head. The second and more difficult is making sure that the hat suits the head. I dunno' about a 24-inch head being typical. Most of my friends have 22-inch heads, which is just fine with me because it makes borrowing my hats impossible!
Yes, you can make a larger hat somewhat smaller, and I do occasionally use adjustable hat bands, but try to refrain from using larger hats for smaller hat sizes, because I am a member of the 21" club and I find that larger hats just do not do a small head justice. A larger size hat just looks like a bucket on me. When I make smaller hat sizes I generally lower the crown as well as reduce the size of the brim scaling the hat to a smaller head and face. I purchased a lot of 5 hat blocks with 3 of the larger hat blocks the other day and am anxiously waiting for their arrival. I think they will go a long way to helping me fit my larger head size customers. I just don't think there is an easy way around the varied hat sizes and it may be a toss up as to how many of the larger sizes to take to events.
I think you make a great point. If you're going to make a custom made hat, it defeats the purpose to try to fashion some sort of one size fits all type affair. How many hats do you usually try to bring to a venue? Do you let customers try them on independently, or do you work with each customer personally?
I have just started attending events, so I am still trying to find the proper number of hats and the best methods. The last event that I attended was a special interest group with about 130 attendees. I took most of the hats that I had in stock between 45-50 hats. I would have taken more, had I had more time to prepare. I would have sold more had I had more hats in larger sizes. I try to assist customers with trying on hats, because it both allows an opportunity to educate the customer, and helps protect the hat from rough handling. I have learned however, that when customers converge in a large number, it just isn't always possible to give them the individual attention that I would like. Some just seem to prefer to "do it on their own." I try not to hover to the point that it discourages them from trying on hats. I think it is always a balancing act.
More or less hair does make a difference, however, some women just genetically have larger or smaller heads. When hats are made to fit the "average" head size, I find that they generally don't fit anyone well, unless it is the "average head size" Head sizes can also change over the years. Our heads can actually gain or lose in size depending on a variety of reasons.