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What A Great Hat Puts Schnazzy Spin on Christmas Gifts

The specialty hat shop is above Panera in Fairlawn Town Centre.

Maybe you love hats. Maybe you think your head is awkward and no hat looks right on you. Either way, Paula Singleton wants to meet you.

Singleton is the owner of What a Great Hat!, located in Fairlawn Town Centre above Panera. She specializes in making all types of hats by hand.

"My product is unique because I'm not embellishing previously made hats," Singleton said. "I can custom make any size, color or fabric. And some customers really like being a part of that process."

Singleton has been in the Fairlawn area for six years, starting out with a store on Springside Drive in Bath Township. She moved to Fairlawn Town Centre three years ago.

"I never used to wear hats because I didn't like the way they looked," Singleton said. "But I went to this art fair in Ann Arbor and bought a hat. I got so many compliments that I decided this was something I wanted to do."

Singleton was already pretty good at sewing, so she took a few courses at Virginia Marti College in Lakewood and got her millinery certificate.

"It's a very niche market," Singleton said. "(Hats aren't) something everyone feels they need. I enjoy the process of finding a hat that's right for them."

This past weekend, Singleton was in Columbus for the Winterfair arts and crafts show. She had a woman come into her booth saying how much she loved hats but didn't own any because none fit her right. 

"I told her to try a few on and after five or six, she found one she really liked, and then another," Singleton said. "She kept trying on different hats and eventually bought one. So she came into my booth with this frowny face and then came back to tell me how much she loved my hats."

Singleton has also won awards for her Kentucky Derby hat designs and has had three hats on display at the Kentucky Derby musuem for the last three years.

Singleton said people buying hats this time of year are looking for functionality. If you're interested in a custom-made hat, it will take about a week before it's ready for wear, she said.

Depending on the fabric, Singleton's hats cost anywhere from $100 to $300. 

Appointments can be made by calling the store, or just by stopping in. Gift certificates are also available. Singleton will host an open house on from 11 to 3 p.m. on Dec. 15. 

Nancy December 04, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Once you wear a hat made by Paula, you'll never buy a mass produced version again. The difference in quality is remarkable and working with Paula is a joy. I Iove all five of my What a Great Hat masterpieces - thanks Paula!
Pamela Z Daum December 10, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Whenever I wear one of Paula's hats, I get compliments. "What a Great Hat" says it all.

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