Mad hats: owls, beards and Vikings
By Igor Studenkov
Having crocheted since she was a little girl, Dana Dooley, a 2009 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, decided to turn her hobby into an online business in 2011.
She envisioned Dana Dooley Designs, which she launched on Etsy.com, as a store solely for crocheted purses.
When winter came, Dooley began to offer a few “silly” hats patterned after cartoon characters and animals. These hats became her most popular items, and soon Dooley was receiving requests from all over the world.
She has stayed inspired in the process, even though her home state of California is not known for toasty headgear.
Where do you get ideas for your hats?
Some of the best ideas come from custom requests. Because of these, I’ve developed a Viking hat, a sloth hat, an owl hat, beard hats and a variety of crazy, colorful goodies that are all now in my inventory. People have also given me suggestions on Facebook, at craft fairs and in conversation.
How do you come up with a design?
I draw out a simple sketch. From there, I study which shapes compose that final product, and use trial and error to crochet those shapes and stitch it all together. It takes me about a week to create a new design from scratch.
What hats are most popular?
There are times when a certain hat design will be in high demand. This has happened with owl hats and then beard hats [worn over the lower half of the face]. Beard hats are still pretty popular, as is anything that references geek culture.
Something I really learned through all this is that you rarely know what will work and what won’t. As long as I continue making what I enjoy and that passion shines through in my work, the business [will do] well.