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Chad Isham

Chad Isham is someone who understands the quality and character of an item. From collecting and dealing in amazing antiques to crafting one of a kind leather goods by hand, Chad has a keen eye for finely made goods. Early Navajo textiles, saddles, fun western trinckets to handmade chaps and bags - you can find it all on their online mercentile. Need help with a horse? They've got you covered there as well.

I've always known Chad to wear a good hat, and you can read about his relationship with them below.

I grew up in a small town in Texas, where the cowboy lifestyle was very prominent and pretty much all I knew and loved. My father worked for Bandera Hat Company, a Fort Worth based business that was later bought out by Bailey. I spent a lot of time there as a kid, and became fascinated with shaping hats at a very young age. Dad was a salesman, fromo Texas to Oklahoma was his territory. During those days he actually traveled all across those states calling on his accounts and taking orders on the new lines. There weren’t all the big western stores like we have now, but small mom and pop stores, dry good businesses and feed stores. I would hit the road with him in summer and serve as his sample boy, laying out the new line around the store for the owners or managers to pick and choose their orders. I quickly became a bit of a novelty act in the various hat departments, because these establishments learned that I was pretty handy at shaping, so I would actually shape hats for customers that happened in while I was there.

My family also owned a feed and western store in my hometown, where I shaped hats on a regular basis. Naturally, I only wore Bandera or Bailey growing up, but I would have them custom made to my liking. The cowboy hat has always been a permanent fixture for me. I pretty much put one on first thing in the morning, and it remains on my head until days end. After graduating from high school I began working on cattle ranches across Texas where a hat is truly put to the test. I had always been a stickler for quality, but this is when I realized just how important the fur quality really is. If you wear a hat every day, and you work in it, it needs to be at minimum a (50X.) To be honest I always wanted to bump that up a tad, but at cowboy wages that never seemed feasible. 

I’m pretty hard on hats and generally order a new felt every year, rotating last year’s hat into my ‘work hat’ collection. Ideally, I like to receive my new hat towards the end of the summer, allowing me time to wear it in some hot weather, creating a little perspiration and allowing it to mould to my head well.

The cowboy hat is not just a fashion statement for me, but truly a part of my make up.

Learn more about Chad and his wife Zuza and see their amazing colelction of goods via their website here:

See a slection of Chad's handmade hat bands here:


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