Life on the farm has taken a fashionable twist… Get Ahead Hats, a nationwide collective of hat boutiques run by women from the farming community, is fast becoming one of Britain’s most successful rural diversification businesses.
Get Ahead Hats was born in the bedroom of a Yorkshire farmhouse over 25 years ago and has now grown into an enviable fashion brand with 18 branches in countryside locations across the UK. Today the company is run by Creative Director Sarah Rhodes from her family farm at Great Harwood, near Blackburn. She took over the company in 2000 and hosts biannual meetings for all franchisees, who come together to choose their stock and share thoughts on upcoming trends.
It’s that clash between the muck and graft of the farmyard and the beauty and glamour of the hats which makes the company so unique and endearing. Get Ahead Hats allows women to bring in a substantial extra income and build their work around farming and family life. Franchisees become part of a thriving and profitable company, which has stood the test of time in the face of a recession.
There is a true sense of friendship and support between the boutique owners, who share the seasonal ups and downs of farming life. In fact, many of the women have said that in the face of crises such as foot and mouth or personal bereavement, Get Ahead Hats has been their driving force to get up and carry on.
The boutiques have a real sense of fun and play, offering all the opulence of a top department store but with a personal touch that the big retailers cannot hope to rival. Hats are available in every colour, shape, size and style imaginable, and clients are given personal appointments in order to enjoy the experience of finding their own dream hat in total privacy.
These rural entrepreneurs are true experts and extremely fashion forward. Whether visitors are looking for a hat for the races or a special wedding, they can expect to find highly desirable labels and a truly bespoke service.
With Get Ahead Hats recently adding Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and members of the Middleton family to their ever growing client list, the future certainly looks bright.