Sep 21, 2023
Custom hats available in downtown Wetumpka
Staff Writer Cliff Williams / The Herald The Vault Variety Shop owner Sharon Brooks started creating custom hats earlier this year. The store has several already created on display and available for
Cliff Williams / The Herald The Vault Variety Shop owner Sharon Brooks started creating custom hats earlier this year. The store has several already created on display and available for sale.
Sharon Brooks likes hats, but not just any hat.
Brooks, owner and stylist at the Vault Variety Shop in downtown Wetumpka, hopped onto a national trend in February after noticing the social media posts of Nashville’s Alexa Wisnieski and her custom hats. A customer and stylist, Brooks already had many hats in her inventory but decided she would give the trend a try in Wetumpka. She wanted to take it a step further and create hats with even more meaning than just customization.
“My idea is if you have your grandfather’s hat and bullet from him, any trinket, we can make a memory hat,” Brooks said. “We can do it however, from basic on up.”
Brooks said some customers seeking custom hats want something simple, while others want detail after detail.
“Some people want two scarves and a feather and others don’t,” Brooks said. “We have a selection of broken jewelry. We are really detailing them. We have used real bones. We are using belts, all sorts of stuff.”
Along the way, Brooks has scrolled through more social media than she can count adding to her skills to make the hats. She has burned and spray painted custom features onto hats. A floppy beach hat with some Modge Podge applied quickly turns the hat into a cowboy style.
“We have hats for both women and men,” Brooks said. “The idea is to be unique and different.”
Some of Brooks' creations have cards leading to hat names such as the “Ace of Spades.”
“We will rip the card and burn the edges,” Brooks said. “The limit really is the imagination.”
At first, Brooks used hats from her inventory. Some were new, others vintage.
“I found a couple real gems there,” Brooks said. “Those are priced a little higher.”
Brooks’ most expensive hat is about $150 only because of the hat’s initial.
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“I’m trying to be realistic about pricing, most are $60 or less,” Brooks said. “The likelihood of selling an expensive one here in Wetumpka isn’t high. Plus, everyone gets a custom burlap bag with their hat.”
Brooks has also figured out where to find an inventory of hats.
“I have bought a few new hats,” Brooks said. “We have been lucky enough to find random hats at thrift stores and online.”
The custom hats on the shelves in The Vault Variety Shop were created with no customer in mind. It was just an idea Brooks had and executed. She said she has some customers who like them because they have little time available.
“Other customers get into the design of theirs,” Brooks said. “They bring things in or get to pick items out here in the store.”
Brooks is now looking to expand on the hats in her store.
“We are starting to pair them with T-Shirts,” she said.
A recent vacation with her granddaughters also gave Brooks another idea.
“We had a girls party with it,” Brooks said. “They all made their own hats. We want to get it going as a girls night out.”
Brooks believes her hats aren’t just a styling accessory, but a necessity at times while also showing the personality under the hat.
“You have beach hair, just put on a hat,” Brooks said. “These hats work all the time and in any situation. The way we make them, they will always look good regardless of time spent on your hair.”
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A good deal of sunshine. Hot. High near 95F. Winds light and variable.
Partial cloudiness early, with scattered showers and thunderstorms overnight. Low around 75F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 40%.
Variable clouds with scattered thunderstorms. Storms may contain strong gusty winds. High around 90F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%.Success!Error!