We have been around for more than 15 years passionately selling Panama hats and other fine hats, and one thing that has never changed is our customers desire for quality. Early on we realized hat aficionados, like you, are the type of people who think long-term. You splurge for those leather shoes rather than the suede shoe because you know how much longer they will last. We also realized the Panama hat industry is incredibly misunderstood and unregulated.
Universal grading standards, for example, virtually do not exist. The seller creates their own grading scale and without established standards, the seller has nothing stopping them from mislabeling or over-hyping inferior quality hats. Even our name originated from a popular but commonly-abused grading scale from Ecuador.
If you've shopped around, you will notice we do not use grading scales for our Panama hats (for the reason listed above). Rather every Panama hat we carry has been personally picked by us, in person, in Ecuador, with the weavers. Because we know you care about durability, finish, and comfort, we promise feature hats that will last many years, are hand-finished with careful attention to detail, and overall a great freaking hat to wear.
We are not cheap, we know that and you know that. But what many don't know is why. Our prices are primarily influenced by the weaver themselves. Unfortunately, underneath this veil of elegance and breath-taking hats is an industry that has been plagued by abuse and unfair trade deals between weavers and distributors. The internet greatly helped popularize these hats but big purchase orders that came with it put a big strain on demand and production.
Because it takes lifetimes to master the art of weaving, distributors either had to find other suppliers such as Asian factories or place more pressure on the weavers to produce faster. We've even discovered some weavers to be locked in exclusivity contracts. Producing at a faster rate also leads to lower quality and more production errors. Art cannot be rushed. Obviously, there is very little incentive for the weavers to continue this practice and that is where we come in.
The only way we can preserve this beautiful tradition is by rewarding our weavers more and educating the public. With all the weavers and weaving families we work with we paid them what is necessary to thrive and incentive younger generations to learn and preserve this art. If we make it so that weaving is lucrative art, the weavers will keep weaving. Competition and striving for more profits is destroying this tradition.
So if you choose to purchase from us, we will be transparent that the costs will be higher than usual, but that is because we love and are passionate about caring for this artform. You are preserving this beautiful half-a-millennium old tradition of weaving every time you buy our hats.