I own a woman’s boutique in Cape May New Jersey. This blog isn’t about that boutique, but about the American Dream, and good ol’ American Spirit. This blog is about an item that I found to sell in my store based on the true values of America, it’s the story of Stormy Kromer and I am a sucker for a good story on an idea that became a legend, an idea that grew into a company, a company that doesn’t farm out to China and a company to base inspiration on for your business because after all – we are American and we never give up! Read on and I hope to inspire that person out there that has a dream to follow through on an idea.
HATS, I’ve always been a hat wearer and didn’t care if I looked like a goof. I am a firm believer that hats are a must in cold temps as heat from your body rises and is released through your head – if you’re not a menopausal woman, you want to hold close and never let any hot air escape.
While animal looking knitted hats are the craze this season from children to college student, to adults, these absolutely adorable wool knitted hats with flaps and cozy fleece linings are in and trendy. The good ones are made in Nepal, not China (the China version is acrylic knit and poorly made)– and yes, I am big on buying American, but encourage you to purchase these because most are made out of fair trade villages – which means that the people knitting these hats are given a fair wage after the product has been completed. It’s ok to sustain a village. It would be even cooler if the village were in America.
If you want to buy American – try the Stormy Kromer – it’s a hat that has been in production since 1903 and totally cool, you just don’t know it yet, but my prediction is that this is the coolest hat around, way cooler than a Fedora.
George “Stormy” Kromer was a real guy – a semi-pro baseball player and railroad engineer. Not the kind of guy you’d expect to start a clothing company, in other words, but one who happened to create a cap that became known for long-comfort and the ability to stay snug, even in the fiercest winds.
This final feature, in fact, is the reason he made his famous headgear in the first place, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Mr. Kromer, known as “Stormy” to the folks who knew his temper, was born in 1876 in Kaukauna, Wisconsin. He grew up with baseball and would eventually play on nearly 30 semi-pro teams throughout the Midwest. He might have continued to play that field, too, but he met Ida, and before Ida’s father would allow her hand in marriage, our ballplayer needed to find real work.
Real work meant the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad and long, cold trips across the plains. Stormy was an engineer, and to see where he was headed, he had to stick his head out the window – into the wind. Mother Nature stole his cap more than once, and as the story goes, he set out to get her back.
In 1903, he asked Ida (his wife and an excellent seamstress) to modify an old baseball cap to help keep it on in windy weather. The all-cloth cap with the soft, canvas visor was a departure from the traditional fedoras of the day, but it was more comfortable and because of it’s six-panel fit, it stayed put.
Soon other railroad workers wanted one of Stormy Kromer’s caps for themselves, and when Ida could no longer keep up with demand, they hired a few employees and the business was born.
Wear one, and you’ll know what I am talking about. This year the company introduced a woman’s version of the Stormy Kromer and it is absolutely adorable. What I love about this hat (because I am a runner) is that the fabric will wick off the sweat that your head produces and leaves you still warm and not damp. Cool company made on good ol’ American ambition and spirit!
MoonStruck Boutique at 503 in Cape May NJ is the only Stormy Kromer distributor in the area and we are proud to carry this product. You can friend us on facebook, or check out our website – http://www.MoonStruckBoutique503.com. Place and order and we’ll ship for Christmas. Size range is Small, Medium and Large. You can also place an order over the phone – 609.884.5949.