Colo. Nate Funmaker is a master hatter noted for his high
quality hats, each handmade, designed and constructed with
a particular buyer in mind. His business is Nathaniels Hat
a passion with him, something hes devoted the past 16 years
doing. He loves making hats, but realizes there is a limit to what
he can do and what he can earn. Everything I sell now, I have
to touch. Thats fine, I dont mind, but Ill always
just make wages doing that.
that in mind, hes going to start producing a lower-priced
line. The hats will be made under the name Indian Hat Company. This
new line will be better quality than most commercial hats now on
the market, Funmaker said. Im going to put some
of my expertise behind it. Its hard and its tricky because
it wont be a known name like Stetson it will be Indian
Hat Company. Its hard to compete with the big daddies that
have a mega-million-dollar media push.
now lives 40 miles from the Four Corners Monument near the base
of Mesa Verde National Park. The park draws about 750,000 people
each summer, and he gets a decent percentage of them. People
see this tiny shop and see the name Nathaniels; its
funny how many walk in and comment, I thought I was going
to meet an old Jewish guy. No, Im Native American and
I make hats.
was born in Wisconsin, but his parents moved when he was five. His
parents were both Winnebago, his mother from Wisconsin and his father
from Nebraska. My folks had values for us and were pretty
strict, Funmaker recalls. Those same values have stuck
with me and were doing the same with our kids.
very much an urban Indian. I appreciate and take great pride in
what I am. I think one of the best ways to represent your people
is to be a good example. My parents never looked at the color of
a persons skin. Look at their heart was their
way. Thats how I lead my life now.
describes a master hatter as someone who takes a raw piece of material
made of rabbit or beaver fur, or a blend of the two, then molds
it, blocks it and sands it to create a hat. If you ask me
to make you a hat Im going to look at you and ask, Where
do you live? Where would you wear this? What will you wear it for?
I complement the hat for a facial complexion, frame the crown around
the face, balance the brim and then I execute it. Its got
to be the right hat and look good
what Nathaniels is all about custom hats designed for
a particular person, but it also becomes an expensive hat. A rabbit
fur hat is $450, a 50 percent blend with beaver is $575 and an all-beaver
hat runs $790. But his customers come back for more and bring their
friends. Youre going to get what you pay for,
he said. The bodies for the hats, before he even starts, run about
you buy a $200 hat, youre buying a $2 wool body raw before
its blocked or built that says 5X or 10X on it. That used
to denote how much beaver fur was in the hat. Nowadays its
watered down. They are just complete junk. He says the older
name-brand hats were great hats, but the newer hats are questionable.
new Indian Hat Company line will also be handmade. He found a small
manufacturer so he doesnt have to handle each hat, but each
will be done with his oversight. He doesnt have a definite
price line established, but expects them to be in the range of $200
$300. The Web site is open but not yet finished at www.indianhatcompany.com.
father was an artist who once designed a silk screen for T-shirts.
He plans to use that logo on the hats. Hes going to burn the
emblem on it as a trademark for the new line. Hes also planning
a line of T-shirts and ball caps which will carry the new logo.
sees his new line as a way to bring in the money to allow him to
continue making the higher-end line. He obviously enjoys the personal
touch of making hats designed for particular people, but recognizes
the limitation of how many he can produce. I take pride in
what I do. Youre only as good as your last hat.
more information visit: http://www.nathanielsofcolorado.com/