Saving the Art of Montecristi Panama Hats
We exist to prevent the extinction of a fine art.
The business was created in 1988 with the specific goal to prevent the impending extinction of the art of fine hat weaving in Montecristi. How do we save the art of fine hat weaving? Simple. Buy as many hats as possible, raise market prices so weavers earn enough to make weaving a desirable way to make a living.
60 new weavers in first five years!
Established in January 2011, in the village where the very finest hats are woven, our little school is teaching the next generation to weave–to perform the sorcery that turns straw into cloth. PLAY VIDEO
To save the art, first we must save the artists.
We have been working, sometimes successfully, for almost 30 years to improve quality of life for the weavers. We have provided free medical care, prescription medications, blood tests, eye exams, food, clean water for the village, and more.
The weavers never met a buyer like me.
I don’t try to beat them or cheat them, like they’re used to from the local buyers. I treat the weavers like my teammates, not my adversaries. They make what I sell. I want them to keep weaving. I pay higher prices, give them free supplies, even free groceries. An entertaining example:
This little boy caught my eye.
I noticed his eyes don’t agree with each other. I worried he couldn’t learn to read, that kids would tease him. We got him to an optometrist and into a series of corrective lenses. Here’s how it happened.
8 months to weave, straw thinner than dental floss.
Even National Geographic noticed my work to save the art of weaving Montecristi Panama hats is important. See the article.
I’m one of Keoghan’s Heroes on CBS. And he’s one of mine. Watch the video.