Hats off to this local Fremont business. Though its roots are firmly planted in Ohio, their designs can be seen on noggins all across the world!
A couple that creates together, stays together
Blonde Swan Hats is run by husband and wife duo Alex Poznanski and Elisabeth Martin. Both have theater backgrounds - both on stage and behind the curtain - and both have a shared passion for the performing arts. Their common interests pushed them to put their heads together and start crafting custom headwear.
And craft their hearts and heads out they did.
The beginning of their heady business
What began as just the two of them cutting and sewing materials in their guest bedroom decades ago has since grown immensely in their nearly 20 years in the business.
They currently work out of a local warehouse in Fremont as well as their downtown office. From this humble corner of Ohio, they diligently sell and ship out various orders of custom-made headgear all over the world. Some of their biggest customers reside across the pond, specifically Sweden and England.
Truly, this is a feather in their cap.
Literally, they really did put feathers on a cap because their first Blonde Swan designs were mainly made of feathers.
Intent to make their business fly, Elisabeth worked hard and was able to snag a booth at the local Fremont Renaissance Festival. Thus began their head-on journey to success. Add to this the high demand for various types of headwear and this hat-making couple has never looked back.
Their initial hat designs were made out of felt and straw. When they found such materials to be too difficult and time-consuming to work with, they transitioned into using high-quality leather. Much of their leather is sourced from another local Ohio company, Weaver Leather. Their expert use of leather has set them well above their competitors.
Head and shoulders above the rest
From the beginning, Blonde Swan Hats has made it a point to always push the boundaries. They currently debut new designs on a regular basis - a challenge other craftspeople often shy away from.
For example, when steampunk was all the rage, their leather hats were right on-trend.
While keeping up with the latest pop culture fads gives them a lot of inspiration, they continue to introduce new techniques such as airbrushing.
Remarking on all they’ve been able to create over the years, Elisabeth says, “You feel very proud when you look at all of the beautiful things you’ve created”.
Heading to the future
In a typical year, The Blonde Swan would be on the road from Spring to nearly Christmas, crisscrossing the country for Renaissance Fairs, cosplay events and Comic Cons. But when the COVID-19 restrictions began to cancel all live and in-person events, Elisabeth says she went into hibernation mode for the first few months. She found the uncertainty of the future overwhelming. While they do have a shop on Etsy and are still able to connect with their customers through social media, they miss talking and connecting in-person at live events.
But in a moment of quarantine inspiration, Elisabeth hopped on Facebook Live and began auctioning off back-stocked hats from their warehouse.
Since some of the hats were discounted up to 60%, their creations were soon flying off the shelves (a new hat typically sells for around $200). Though some of these hats possess an older style, have a faulty stitch, or a small defect, they are still of exceptional design and quality that Blonde Swan is best known for.
Due to the wild online success Elisabeth experienced, she now has a weekly auction on Facebook called Warehouse Wednesdays. Not only has this been a great way to clean up the warehouse, this type of online event may have not even occurred to her if it weren’t for the current pandemic and the extra time she has at home.
The Blonde Swan looks forward to branching out in their designs and working on new accessories such as bags and belts. Soon will come a time when you will find Madam Swan holding court again at the nearest Renaissance Faire.
To purchase Blonde Swan Hats, visit their Etsy Shop here.