With one of the most highly anticipated days on the racing calendar just around the corner, Katie Sutherland is busy helping her clients find the perfect hats to complement their dresses.
Next Thursday, hundreds of ladies will be dressed to impress and looking to scoop a fabulous prize for their efforts at Perth Races. And who knows, maybe the winner will wear one of the hats north-east entrepreneur Katie offers for hire.
Katie, who owns Katie Sutherland Hat Hire, said: “If you want to make a statement with your hat, then the races is the place to do it.
“It’s sometimes good to keep your outfit a little more simple if you’re going for something bold and it’s usually a case of the bigger, the better!
“There’s always a best hat competition, which is fun.”
She had been playing with the idea of setting up her own business for a while, but Katie only launched her hat hire in March.
She said: “I have two young girls so I wanted to wait until my youngest was a little older before I started up.
“The hat hire business is something I work around my girls.
“At the moment I do evening appointments a few days a week. However, once my youngest daughter is at nursery, I will have availability for some daytime appointments too.”
The brand new hat hire business is based at Katie’s home in Inverurie.
She said: “The set up of the house is ideal for this as it’s built over three storeys and the entry floor has a room to the back which is almost separate from the rest of the house.
“It has a lot of privacy and there’s also a WC, which allows ladies to get changed into their outfit if they’d like to.
“Although it’s in a house, it really doesn’t feel that way.”
At the moment, Katie offers 60 hats, hatinators with large decorative designs and fascinators, which are usually much smaller than hatinators and don’t have the appearance of hats, for hire. And she’s always on the lookout to add more pieces to her collection.
She said: “I’m always adding to this when I get a feel for what is proving popular and where I may have some gaps in colour choice.”
Katie offers a good mix of high street hats as well as more exclusive pieces sought from various milliners.
She said: “I just go for lovely pieces that I know I would like to wear myself.
“I have the hats I think will be popular in a few different colour options as it can be disappointing if you really like a hat, but it doesn’t go with your outfit.”
Katie cleverly uses social media to showcase her current hat offering.
She said: “Social media has really helped me spread the word about my business quickly, making me very busy from the outset.
“I have an Instagram and Facebook page which have photographs of some of my selection and also photographs of clients wearing them at their special occasion.
“It’s great as it gives people an idea of how a particular hat looks with different outfits and hairstyles.
“People tend to book appointments with me through social media and take their outfit along to the appointment.
“It gives them a chance to try on different styles and colours of hats and I offer advice on what suits them and their outfit.
“I think giving an honest opinion and some guidance is really important.
“More often than not, people have a choice of a good few hats and know themselves which they feel really good in.”
The main occasions Katie’s hat hire caters for are weddings, garden parties, ladies’ days and races.
She said: “There are so many different options to wear with regards to size, shape and detailing.
“I don’t think you can really go wrong.
“There are no set rules other than you shouldn’t remove your hat until the mother of the bride has removed hers, which is usually during the meal.
“I do think some of the more flamboyant hats are maybe not suitable for a wedding, however, they are perfect for the races.”
While Katie also offers extravagant hats, personally, she likes simple yet unusual headpieces.
She explained: “I really like hats that don’t have too much fussiness but have beautiful and unusual lines to them.
“A really popular style I have at the moment has a high split back, which is so eye-catching without being overly fussy.
“I have a few favourites, however, my very favourite at the moment is the Bundle MacLaren Fern headpiece.
“I usually prefer larger hats, however, I love the rose gold and blush colours of this one.
“It has a pink tipped rose that sits on top and a curled gold quill that adds height.
“It’s so feminine and easy to wear.
“I actually wore it to a friend’s wedding recently and absolutely loved it on.”
According to Katie, hatinators are very popular at the moment.
She said: “I really like them as they don’t look as formal as a traditional hat and I feel they are kinder to your hairstyle when they are removed later in the day.
“Colour trends do influence hat choices to a certain extent, however, as it’s an accessory you find that a few different hat colours complement the on-trend outfit colour.”
Katie also thinks florals will always be a popular choice as they are “very elegant and pretty”. In addition to flowers, many ladies also choose to go for lovely bow detailing.
In the next few months, the successful businesswoman hopes to see her business grow further. She also plans to add a few more high end hats to her current selection.
She said: “The Bundle MacLaren and Vixen Millinery hats have been very popular already so I will look into picking out some more beautiful pieces over the year.”
If you wish to book an appointment, contact Katie Sutherland Hat Hire on Facebook.