A haberdashery was originally an accessory and men's clothing store that carried suit-making materials, buttons, hats, scarves and other items.
Since then, the tradition has taken on a more contemporary turn at Hatbox: A Modern Haberdashery, CEO Lauri Turner's hat haven. Operations Manager Tyler Leverenz said Hatbox sells a variety of headwear for both men and women and other accessories such as ties and bolos, which is a tie consisting of a cord usually made of leather.
"A lot of what we do is very similar to the haberdashery idea, which is really styling a person and completing the outfit," Leverenz said.
Turner opened her first store, Vertigo Inc., in 1974 in Houston and later in 1982, brought it to Austin. The store's concept has morphed from a gift retailer to a custom clothing store to an accessory specialty store. She closed Vertigo and opened the first Hatbox in 2003 at 115 E. Sixth St.
"In my retail career I have always sought out a component that was either drastically innovative or a concept completely absent in the retail community," Turner said.
She said she felt confident that her store could thrive in Austin after having success in Houston as a business owner.
The store's second location opened in December 2011 at The Domain as a means to reach out to new clientele, Leverenz said.
"I really enjoy helping people with their style," she said.
Giving customers the confidence to wear something they did not think they could is something Leverenz said they try to achieve at the store.
Hatbox carries hats by designers from throughout the world, including Japan, France, Italy and England. The store also has designer hats from New York and some from Texas, including Stetson. Hatbox recently started showcasing hats by Vivien Sheriff, who has designed for the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, Leverenz said.
Part of the store is dedicated to finer hats, or those that are almost entirely handmade, have tighter-woven straw, or use fur felt instead of wool, Leverenz said. Hatbox also carries about 10 different manufacturers for non-handmade hats. Its haberdashers, employees who are trained to shape and size all hats, can work with headwear not purchased at Hatbox as well.
"Our in-store haberdashers are specially trained to adorn the customer with the perfect hat and to offer the same old-fashioned courtesy as in the heyday of haberdasheries, something you just can't get anywhere else," Turner said.
Designers at Hatbox
- Bailey of Hollywood
- Cha Cha's House of Ill Repute
- Christine Moore
- Grace Hats of Tokyo
- Louise Green
- Milli Star
- Vivien Sheriff
Hatbox: A Modern Haberdashery, 11401 Century Oaks Terrace, Ste. 129, 833-9595, www.hatbox.com