We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeff Biggars and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jeff, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
One thing I don’t think a lot of people realize is just how much work goes into making a hat. A lot of people just kind of assume that they’re stamped out somewhere, and that’s far from what we actually do. There is a lot of machine work on century old machines, along with a ton of handcrafting that takes years to learn. There is also a lot of down time to allow the hat to cure between steps. An average custom hat takes us 7 to 10 days to make using the process that we have put together with almost 25 years of experience. When we give folks tours of the backroom it really opens their eyes.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Hat making is a dying art. Hatters are historically very secretive, so unfortunately a lot of the process is not passed down, This causes years of learning through trial and error. I shaped hats for four years before I ever saw one actually made. At first I learned through hearsay basically, and it took a couple of years just to get decent at it. Later I worked along true veterans of the trade that had done it for at least 25 years. I’ve developed my own style since then, but just getting that first-hand knowledge makes a world of difference. I am teaching our employees most of what I have learned, but I show and tell my son everything. No secrets between us. This has brought him very far, very fast. Keeping the tradition alive is very important to me. Hat making is a peculiar blend of science and art, and that has always fascinated me. I’ve made custom hats for years and also production hats for years. Although it is a similar process between both, there are many differences. Understanding these differences and combining the best of both worlds is what sets us apart. We also use the highest quality bodies available, While our competitors take shortcuts, we never skip steps that would sacrifice the integrity of the hat.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
First place would be to go to our store on the Decatur Town Square. I’d give them a tour of the back where we make the hats. Then we would grab a steak at Sweetie Pie’s Ribeyes, and then pre-game at Rooster’s Roadhouse. Next we’d go grab a Dallas Stars game, and post-game back at Trinity Street Coffee Bar.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
A ton of people have helped me along the way, however the one person that has really made my dreams come true is my father-in-law Mike Garland. He partnered up with me and has provided everything we need to make the best hats made today. My mother-in-law Susan has also helped tremendously with the daily operations as our CFO. Without them I would have had to give up on my dream years ago.
Other: Snapchat: @biggarhatstore Tumblr: @biggarhatstore Periscope: @biggarhatstore TikTok: @biggarhatstore
Jesse Scofield Tadd Myers Corey Spicer Emily Nicole Jeff Biggars