is everywhere lately! This adorable line of children's accessories is just perfect for the teensiest fashion mavens in your life. I'm just in love with the bonnets, bowties, and bloomers -- many of which can be monogrammed. I keep hoping a friend or relative will have a baby soon so that I can buy all the Beaufort Bonnets!
I recently caught up with Markey Hart Hutchinson, the Lexington lady behind The Beaufort Bonnet Company. She's smart and fun, with a great eye for fun design. Markey's great attitude certainly shines through in her company's designs! -- HCW
A few questions with Markey:
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m from Lexington. I graduated from Sewanee (The University of the South) in Tennessee. I’m 32. I have two funny, smart, and wonderful children, my son Wakefield, who's 3, and Betsey, who's 1 1/2. My husband is a patient man and a great father. I like laughing, nice people, and all things that make my eyes smile. Colors and ‘pretty’ influence my mood; style and design have always been a passion.
How did The Beaufort Bonnet Company come to be?
A Mother Daughter Team started Susu and John in Beaufort, South Carolina around 2007-2009ish. The Beaufort Bonnet, made from an old heirloom pattern, was their star item and the reason they went into business. When I was pregnant and seeing the world through pink-colored glasses, I spotted a picture of a friend’s baby wearing a pink gingham bonnet while perusing Facebook. I asked where she got the little gem; I just knew Betsey would want a bonnet! My friend ended up gifting us one and it was love at first sight. Betsey wore her bonnet everywhere and people went bananas over it. Strangers and friends were asking where to get one. After studying the Susu and John website I noticed they didn’t have any retail accounts in Kentucky. I thought, I’m already selling these bonnets- I might as well get paid for it. I contacted the owner and asked if I could have the exclusive rights to sell them in Kentucky- a few emails later I found myself negotiating a price to buy her business. I gave the company a new name and logo and hit the ground running.
I see a lot of traditional Southern style in your products, with some Lilly Pulitzer-style preppy mixed in. What are your inspirations for The Beaufort Bonnet Company's products?
Great observation! TBBC style is a reflection of my style. I like all things classic, timeless and refined- but I also like colorful, fun, and clever. My inspirations demonstrate that ‘refined’ doesn’t have to mean ‘boring’. Lilly Pulitzer, Dorothy Draper, and Carleton Varney mastered the art of pairing classic pieces with bold elements & bright colors to make things interesting. I want babies and children wearing TBBC items to provoke smiles (followed by compliments and conversation) - I love the idea of being partly responsible for someone’s smile.
Here at HerKentucky, we love to support Kentucky's women-owned businesses. What advice do you have for women who want to start their own business?
I regret I’m not qualified to hand out advice. The Beaufort Bonnet Company is 4 months old; I’m still craving advice, suggestions, and wisdom. Ask me again when I recover my investment and start sleeping ;-)
What do you wish someone had told you before you started The Beaufort Bonnet Company?
someone had told me I was going to make mistakes- and that some mistakes were going to be expensive. Mistakes involving trust and dependability sting the most. The good thing is, I’m a fast learner.
Now for a few fun questions:
Coffee or Tea?
I’m way too complicated to answer this question. I drink coffee every morning but it’s really not my cup of tea- ha- do you get it?
Bourbon or Beer?
Cold BEER. In a bottle. But a cup or can is fine too.
Jeans or a Skirt?
Cats or Cards?
C.A.T.S cats cats cats!!
What's your favorite spot in Lexington?
My favorite spot(s) in Lexington are… Greenbrier’s pool, 3rd Floor Main at Keeneland, the house where I grew up, Wheelers, Suggins, Merrick, Rupp Arena when the Cats are playing, Gate 11 for tailgating, Monkees, L.V. Harkness, and the Chinoe Pub. Hmm, I bet there aren’t many people who have used L.V. Harkness and Chinoe Pub in the same sentence… I guess that’s me in a nutshell.
If The Beaufort Bonnet Company products are on your Holiday Wish List, you can find them at these Kentucky stores:
.: 531 W. Short St., Lexington (They even do registries for expectant mamas!)
: 120 Clay Ave., Lexington
: 133 West Main St., Springfield
: 300 North Mayo Trail Suite 3, Pikeville
: 188 West Court St., Prestonsburg