Hampui Hats founder Willee Roberts was raised in Berkeley, California where his earliest childhood memory was sneaking into his father's closet to play with his great-grandfather's hat. While living in Peru, he again saw the transformative power of the hat as a tool for personal growth and transformation. The idea for Hampui Hats was born...
As an adult, his work with hats has been paralleled by dedicated medicine work with reputed teachers of the Americas. His craft is now his prayer. He takes inspiration from hat culture around the world including the fedoras worn by Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs of New Orleans, the bowlers worn by Cholitas of the Andes, and of course, the Western Hats worn by his own ancestors.
For Willee, creating Medicine Hats is an intimate process. Each hat begins with a prayer. Once he’s ready to create a hat, he treats the raw material with the same integrity as if it were a living being - because these hats have souls all of their own.
Willee's friendships with crafts men and women throughout the Americas offer him a window into different artistic worlds. From producers in Bolivia to finishers in Berkeley, he works to ensure that the entire hat making process honors all those who contribute in a sustainable and intentional way. Willee breathes hats and would be honored to breath one for you.
A blessing on
After years of practice and hundreds of hattings, Willee moved production to his recently renovated Berkeley studio, where he can be found, unless he's off exploring the country in his mobile hat shop. He is meticulous with every aspect of the hat making process and prayers involved. Exploring the wisdom, styles and artistic offerings of different peoples around the world has allowed him to develop techniques and designs that give Hampui Hats a distinct style that honors those whose traditions he walks in, and the unique story of the individual that the hat is crafted for.