Locks started the business three years ago selling the hats out of her Saratoga home, but stepped it up a notch last summer by renting space at the Saratoga Raceway during the summer meet. That is when, she said, that her business grew so rapidly, she found herself with a growing list of clientele wanting her specialty pieces.
“It just got too big to be run out of my home,” said Locks, who prides herself on the number and assortment of inventory she has in stock. “We can accommodate everyone’s needs and everyone’s budgets.”
Locks said that while hats are the main focus of the store, it is a one-stop destination for a woman who has brought the dress and now wants to accessorize it.
“Once a woman buys the dress she can come here to finish it,” said Locks, pointing out that the store carries everything someone might need to accessorize including evening clutches, scarfs and replica jewelry.
“Our replica collection is a reproduction of originals made in Italy,” said Locks. “All the stones are hand set and the jewelry gold-plated.”
Locks, who hand sews all her custom hats, said one of the biggest misconceptions people have is that they don’t think they can wear a hat.
“Some people say to me that they can’t wear a hat, but it is that they have not learned how to wear it and own it,” explained Locks, adding that the best way for a woman to start out would be to wear what is called a fascinator.
“They are so easy to wear,” she said as she picked up a small straw brim piece with a headband to hold it in place. “The fascinator has a different feel and is smaller, so it gets the person familiar with a headpiece.”
While she has an inventory featuring a vast array of well-known designers, Lock also features one-of-a-kind head pieces in her Oak Room, which is by appointment only.
“I take a blank and take it up to different levels,” said Locks, who admits choosing the adornment for a hat is the most difficult part of the process. “It depends on what the client wants, but picking out the parts is the most difficult.
Locks, who hand sews every one-of-a-kind hat, also sewed the curtains and valances for her store. She noted that it took five weeks of over 80 hours a week to ready the shop and then set up the inventory, but that she was pleased with the warm rich tones and inviting ambiance of Hatsational.
“I love the coppery feel of the colors,” said Locks. “It goes well with the wood and keeping in line with the tin ceiling.”
Pointing out that she likes to keep the winter collection of hats still on display because “many women still love their felt hats in the spring,” Locks said she also carries a large selection of hats for men and children.
“I try and have something for everyone and at all price points,” said Locks pointing out the selection of men’s pocket bags, ties and gloves. “And we have a very large selection of men’s hats – I didn’t realize how many styles of men’s hats there were until men starting asking for them.”
Noting that she tries to buy from as many vendors as possible who make their product in America, Locks said Hatsational also offers a wide selection of hats for special occasions and holidays including Easter hats and bonnets.
“We have some really nice Easter hats,” said Locks. “And there are little boys’ Fedoras and Ivy caps and little girls’ straw Easter bonnets – we have hats for all ages and sizes – little girls do love their hats.”
Hatsational is located at 510 Broadway, Saratoga Springs. It is open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 – 5 p.m. on Sunday. For an appointment or consultation, call (518) 587-1022.