Every Hat Tells a Story

Designer/Owner Kristi Pohly designs are a wearable tribute to something you love.

Kristi Pohly has experienced her fair share of loss in the past few years, including her uncle, aunt, cousin, and beloved dog Kaila (pronounced Ky-la). She’s now channeling her heartbreak into a custom hat-making business where each design is a wearable tribute to a person, place, or time imprinted on the wearer’s heart. 

Kristi never set out to be in the hat-making business. She grew up in Littleton with roots in the vast mountainous landscape of Estes Park, where her grandparents were one of the first families to settle. Later, her grandparents moved to the small town of Fredericksburg, nestled in Texas hill country.

Growing up with an artist mom, Kristi had a talent and passion for artistry and design. Yet, after graduating with a marketing degree from Colorado State University, Kristi put her creative pursuits aside and began working in telecom and the pharmaceutical industry. 

It wasn’t until she was laid off that Kristi put her heart and soul into design full-time, making bouquets and floral arrangements for weddings and special events. After 20 successful years, tragedy struck. Loss after loss during the pandemic left her reeling and rethinking her life’s purpose. 

When her dog Kaila died, Kristi bought a pink felt hat and created a design with Kaila’s name, favorite flower, and the longitude and latitude coordinates of their home together burned into the rim. Wearing it made her feel closer to Kaila, but it wasn’t until a trip to see her favorite country music artist that she discovered she might be onto something.

“I grew up on old country music by Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Hank Williams. Their music became the soundtrack of our road trips,” says Kristi. “The memories attached to songs are what make me tick.”

Realizing how painfully short life can be, Kristi checked an item off her bucket list and bought a ticket to see Willie Nelson at the  Whitewater Amphitheater in New Braunfels, Texas. Afterward, Kristi wanted a way to memorialize the event but found the concert merchandise overpriced and underwhelming. 

“So I burned the song title ‘Revival,’ lyrics from that song (Zach Bryan changed one of the lines to call out Willie Nelson), and Whitewater Amphitheater coordinates into a new hat,” says Kristi. “Now, whenever I wear one of my hats to a stock show or music festival, people want to buy it off my head.”

It didn’t take long for Kristi to realize she could help other people commemorate their joyful life experiences or pay tribute to lost loved ones through their hats, leading Kristi to start the Pohly Hat Company.

Today, Kristi sells her hats online from her Colorado home, where buyers can see examples of her unique artistry. Custom hats are made from wool, which can withstand the burning process. The design options are limitless, and Kristi can help create the perfect tribute.

“My friend Rachel’s uncle passed away, and he had his own brand, so I put it on the back. He also loved hunting, so I put a bullet casing under the left side. It can all be really customized.”

Kristi’s fashion hats are a less-expensive option. They’re made from polyester, which won’t hold up to wood burning, so only the band can be customized by color and accessories. Because men’s hats don’t come in a one-size-fits-most option, Kristi plans to add a third option where men (and women) can bring their hats, which she will customize. She also plans on creating a custom bridal line.

Kristi’s hats come with the official cattle brand her grandfather created and registered for use on his cattle ranch in Tulsa. It’s symbolized by a pole and the capital letter E, for Pohly. Using the brand allows Pohly to carry on the family name, something she’s incredibly proud to do.

Kristi donates 5% of every purchase to the Memorial Day Flowers Foundation, which raises funds to honor veterans by placing flowers on the gravesites of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

“Giving back is important to me, so when I created the Pohly Hat Company, I knew I’d donate a portion of the proceeds to charity,” she says.

Kristi started Polhy Hat Company as a tribute to her grandparent’s legacy and her furry best friend. With that, she’s also creating a lasting legacy for anyone who wants to memorialize a person, pet, or moment in time through a wearable piece of art.

Behind the Brand -

Designer/Owner Kristi Pohly

"It is my mission to put heart and soul into each custom hat I design."

"My pride, heart, and soul runs deep in representing our unique family name and the honest western way of life my grandparents were dedicated to and that my family lives each day."

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