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A Little Bit of Yellowstone in Boerne:

Meet Master Hatter, Greg White With Billy’s Western Wear

Article by Morgan Hirosky

Photography by Sarah Brooke Lyons

Originally published in Boerne Lifestyle

Billy’s Western Wear is a local family-owned specialty western store.  Held in high esteem for its extensive selection of western wear products, such as boots, hats, apparel, belts, purses, jewelry, candles and so much more. Billy’s has thousands of styles and an enormous selection of all the famous brands.  Additionally, Billy’s has an incredible, creative emphasis on both hat customization and shaping with extensive training that has been perfected for over 42 years.

Billy’s is appropriately named after its co-founder, Billy Bishop, who along with his wife Sarah started the company in 1980. Billy, now 96 years old, is known for his acclaimed company and courageous military service in both World War II and the Korean War. Billy and Sarah's son-in-law, Greg White, joined the business in 1987, who with his great staff successfully run both stores as well as the E-Commerce store. He is continually teaching and training people in the art of creating custom designs for online customers as well as those living and visiting the Boerne and Kerrville stores. Do you have a hat that is worn or needs to be cleaned and brought back to life? Their hatters can make that happen.

For Billy’s the hat industry has been especially fruitful in recent years due to popularity spikes in western wear, in part due to the Emmy-nominated neo-western, Yellowstone. Wardrobe for the series purchased hats from Billy’s in June for their upcoming season.

Because of their great selection of hats in-store and online at BillysWesternWear.Com and because of their sought-after custom hat services, they continue to have great success and have seen a huge increase in custom hat sales. Instagram has had a huge impact as well as people from all over the world can message them on either of their Instagram pages; #billyswesternwear or the #billyscustomhatters and can help with any hat they may want, custom shape it, and send pictures to the customer as the hat is progressing.  Then when the hat is perfect, it is shipped to wherever they are in the world.

Whether you pick a style right off the rack or if you desire a custom crease, band and/or feather, they will customize your hat to your complete satisfaction. 

Although business is booming, the hat industry is one of many industries facing major tribulations due to supply chain issues far out of their control. Complications with tertiary sources fulfilling product demand have ultimately led to a hat-shortage, leaving companies with no choices besides placing merchandise on backorder for 12 to 24 months. Some companies are not even taking any orders at all.

Felt hat materials include the highest grade of beaver, with hats made with 100% pure beaver and other higher qualities include chinchilla with a 14K gold buckle with diamonds that retail at over $5,299.99. The more beaver fur in the hat, the better the quality.

Another important fur blend for making felt hats are rabbit hides; unfortunately, one of the biggest importers is in Ukraine, so it has been more challenging because rabbit is an important ingredient for making quality felt hats. The lower-priced hats are made from wool felt and are more affordable.  Straw hats are made from all types of straw, Palm leaves and/or Sisal.  A lot of the hats that Billy’s carries are made in the U.S.  Some are imported from all over the world and shipped to stores like Billy’s where they are customized and hand-shaped.

By providing high-quality attire for a wide-ranging spectrum of customers, Billy’s Western Wear is a must-stop. Their impressive inventory and all-encompassing span of merchandise easily cater to a plethora of wants, needs and preferences. Above all, Billy’s demonstration of intertwining family values and tradition into their business is what truly dignifies this establishment.