When she was working on Wall Street, Katie Whaley started making hats as a hobby. Working with her hands was a way to relieve the stress of eight years in her family brokerage firm, which she simply knew she “wasn’t going to survive.” Refocusing on the traditions of her families’ Kentucky farm and carriage driving, Katie began a small business in Millinery that, thirty years later, has blossomed into a year-round service hand building hats for Derby and beyond.
In between trips traveling to compete in carriage competitons, Katie is available by appointment as the in-house Milliner for Carl Meyers. Using a natural, straw imported from England called Sinamay, Katie works on every hat with her own hands. Adorned with flowers, feathers, bows and ribbons, hats by Katie always turn heads in the stands of Churchill Downs, Ascot and The Royal Windsor Horse Show.
Katie and Sherri met at the Saddlebred World Championships. Instantly, “she loved my hats and I loved her clothes,” says Katie. Now you can find her at CM a few times a week for fittings, and her collection of colorways blocked in black and white, creams, pinks and navies perfectly coordinate with Carl Meyers’ Derby dress collections. Popping with bright flowers, feathers and trim, your hat and dress will be perfectly coordinated for one of the great people watching events of the year!