Big Hat Guy – Dubois County Free Press, Inc.
“So I’m a big hat guy. I sleep with hats. I shower in hats,” Curtis Crow deadpanned. “But, literally, I wear hats all the time. So much so that when I don’t have a hat, people think it’s weird.
The 27-year-old picked up the habit in a roundabout way. A comb barely touched her hair in high school.
“I was always taking a shower at night, and when I woke up in the morning, I was just going to school,” Curtis said. “I would look like a complete blunderer.”
He was unaware of it at the time, but at university the image of the jester had to disappear.
“All of a sudden things change, don’t they,” he said. “You’re in the market trying to impress people.”
A friend suggested she put stuff in her hair to manage it a bit. “So, I did, and it was pretty decent,” he admitted.
Neither perfectly groomed hair nor the structured study of college life matched Curtis’ personality. These two items were not on his checklist of future aspirations for success. He dropped out of college and returned home to work on his entrepreneurial ambitions in media production. The daily dippy-do was dropped and the hats returned to their place on top of her mop.
Today, the permanent indentation that crowns his head is almost as much a signature as his hats are at his growing multimedia production company, Crowbird Creative.
“I spend a lot more time each morning picking out my hat than picking out my shirt,” he joked.
He has been building Crowbird Creative since 2017 and now works for several local businesses producing digital content, videos and podcasts.
Curtis is goal-oriented and self-motivated. In 2021, with the growth of his successful individual outfit, Curtis began to consider another venture. “One of my goals for 2021 was to set up a printing press,” he explained.
He decided to teach himself how to use a heat press to make t-shirts. “I bought a cheap heat press from Amazon,” he said. “I toyed with this idea of making clothes a bit. I made shirts for myself and shirts for other people, and honestly, I hated it.
The press had a few other attachments, however. One was a hat press.
“I needed hats for myself, so I hung them up,” Curtis said.
He had ordered some patches from an Etsy store and he started learning how to heat press them to attach them to hats.
“I made a few hats. I was pretty happy with them and posted them on Instagram,” he explained.
The hats featured his Crow Bird Creative logo, and they garnered some interest from his followers. To his surprise, some people even asked to buy the branded hats.
“I was like, ‘That’s cool, that’s a nice ad,'” he said. “But then someone reached out to me and asked if I could make five or six custom hats for their company.”
It snowballed from there.
“Naturally, as an entrepreneur, my mind immediately wondered how can I scale this by just making a few hats for myself and the few people who are interested in it,” Curtis said.
Just as he had done with his media production company, he immersed himself in the processes and taught himself the ins and outs of creating the hats now featured on his new company’s website and in his store on 14th Street in Jasper.
Along the way, there were casualties. He burned a few of the cheap heat presses – once during a disastrous hat race for his first big customer – before taking the leap to invest in an industrial machine rather than heat machines. ‘amateur.
He also has a hat graveyard for all the crumbling specimens he came across during the learning process.
With the investment in the proper equipment, Curtis decided to make it a proper business. He completed the Old Crow Apparel website while his wife, Miranda, was in labor with the couple’s second child. Remi was born on October 27, 2021 and the new company came true a few days later.
“It was a terrible time to make a decision like that, but I quit my job to go full time with Crow Bird just before our first child (Jensen) was born,” he said. . “So I think every time we have a kid, I’ll start a new business.”
“We’re done having kids,” he added quickly. “So maybe we’re done with new businesses.”
Growing up, Curtis moved to local sources for patches. He is now working with Crystal Water Designs to have the patches made in Jasper rather than an online source. He sources blank hats from just about anywhere he can find them because, like most industries, global shipping issues are making them hard to come by right now.
His studio is located in the basement of his house in Huntingburg. He spends his days working with his clients on their digital media production needs, then once the kids are in bed, he comes downstairs, cranks up his 20-hour playlist of bluegrass music, and pounds hats off. at midnight for his pleasure. or for its growing list of clients.
A conversation and a bit of daring awareness has also earned him a great connection. He is a big fan of stand-up comedy. “It’s something I want to try one day,” he admitted. “I have a note on my phone full of documents I’ve been working on for years.”
He’s a huge Dusty Slay fan. After attending one of Dusty’s shows in Nashville, Curtis and the comedian found something in common in their love of hats. “I bought a couple of his hats and he complimented me on my hat,” he said. “And we talked a bit.”
Curtis felt like there was a connection between them, so he reached out to Dusty via Instagram to see if he’d be interested in working together.
The comedian was interested. Frantically, Curtis went through a bunch of designs until Dusty found one he liked. Curtis isn’t sure if the connection will lead to anything meaningful, but just getting to work with one of his favorite comedians is worth the hard work.
Dusty could appear on stage with some of Curtis’ work on his head in the future, and for Curtis, it’s worth it. Although he’s good at creating beautiful digital content for Crowbird Creative, he’s found a different kind of joy in using those design talents and new skills to create a signature product – one he loves and uses every days.
You can follow and order custom hats from Old Crow Apparel on Instagram, Facebook and at OldCrowApparel.com. You can order hats directly here.
The Dubois County Chamber of Commerce is also hosting a business break at the store located at 107 East 14th Street in Jasper on February 18 from 8-9 a.m.