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2012 Hatty Award Winners
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2012 Hatty Awards Winners


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We are very excited about a new hat store in Oregon City called "You Can Leave Your Hat On." The store, on 7th Street, is the brainchild of Sandra Gillman.

The shop harkens back to the good old days when you could actually walk into a hat store and get fitted for a hat (ah, the good old days). The store is 500-square-feet in the main showroom and 400-square-feet in the "back room" vintage area. "The back room is for people who are serious about seeing vintage hats. I found that having a special room for vintage hats makes people feel special - it's become like a VIP room," adds Gillman.

To know Gillman is to know her background. Her previous job was as a mitigation specialist, conducting investigations about convicted murderers facing potential execution. She did this for quite a long time and finally came to the conclusion that the stress was taking its toll on her. So, she quit her job and created You Can Leave Your Hat On.

"I just decided I'm going to spend my days around pretty things instead of criminals," she said. "Now I'm having a good time and I'm around fun people. And it smells a lot better than prison."

The store is an upbeat place where music plays and fresh local chocolates are sold (it's a feel good place). Gillman also gives customers the luxury of service with a smile. "When someone enters my store I tell them that I have chocolates and everyone gets a chocolate truffle (great move).

I show them the hand felted hats and custom rain hats from Seattle. I point out my Anuschka hand bags, the scarves and vintage hankies. I tell them they are welcome to try anything on. I also point out my new collection of Arturo Rios hats and request that they ask for my help if they want to try them on."

Gillman also teaches customer's how to wear hats. She also has a booklet filled with famous hat quotes to give her shoppers the confidence they may need to put on their first hat.

"Last week one of my customers was sipping Champagne and sitting in one of my leather chairs. She looked up and saw a hat and asked for me to get it down for her. When I did she actually had tears in her eyes and said 'I have not felt this pretty since I was 20-years old.' She left the store wearing the hat."

Gillman also rents out vintage hats from her store (she said they do that in the UK). "I got a request to rent hats for a tea party. I have a collection of over 100 vintage hats displayed in my Back Vintage Room."

We keep hearing that the Royal wedding spurred on the wearing of hats and fascinators, and Gillman seems to see this influence on hat wearing as well. "The royal wedding has caused people to want to have hat parties. Several customers have come in to purchase a hat just because they were required to wear one to a party."

Gillman sells hats that range from $10 to over $300 from varied sources that range from Louise Green to Arturo Rios and Something Special. She started selling both men's and women's hats, but is now selling mostly women's hats (sorry fellas).

Sandra Gillman
You Can Leave Your Hat On
212 7th St, Oregon City, Oregon