Rhody Maker: Mary Gauvin of Mary Originals
Mary Gauvin's quirky handmade hats are the tops for kids and grownups.
Mary Gauvin of Mary Originals carefully crochets each and every hat she sells. From a bald eagle to a snow leopard, a dragon to a narwhal, there are hundreds of designs to choose from. Mary Originals now has more than 200 hats on the site but it all began with Gauvin, who lives in Pascoag, creating hats for her kids to wear to school.
Gauvin says she started to really get into crochet when her daughter was born. She bought a crochet book with a kit and started to teach herself. After a lot of practice, Gauvin made her own patterns from what she thought was missing from hats that were being sold.
“My friends and the community would see my kids in the hats and they would ask to buy them from me. Slowly, I started selling them to friends of mine and then that prompted me to open up my own online shop,” says Gauvin, who now runs a star seller Etsy account with nearly 3,000 sales to date. Many her designs range in size from newborn to adult large.
Some of Gauvin’s favorite items that she sells are her fish-themed hats.
“I came up with the tail piece that hangs down the back that looked like the body of the fish. At the time, that didn’t exist anywhere,” says Gauvin. It is so important for her to keep ideas original and really make them stand out among the rest.
With school in session, Gauvin is gearing up for her busiest time of year for the shop. To keep up with demand, she creates a stockpile of hat bases, without any decorations. Even with the stockpile ready to go, Gauvin still tends to work between seventy and eighty hours per week during that time of the year.
Gauvin believes that what makes Mary Originals different from other companies is her hand-crafted designs you can’t find anywhere else. From elephants, cats and trains for the kiddos to adult-centric hats that read “F*ck Cancer” or denote the wearer’s love of wine, Gauvin’s selection is varied, too.
“I am really careful with the quality of what I make. I’m very meticulous with making sure everything’s secure and everything’s made exactly the way it looks in the picture. I’m very careful to make sure the quality is really good,” says Gauvin.
Creating this business and turning it into a job has brought a lot of joy to Gauvin, but she says it’s also brought a lot of joy to others.
“People are gifting it and people are making keepsake pieces out of these items that they have and I think that’s just fantastic. I also give a lot of donations to charities that work with sick kids and hospitals. Although there’s a lot of sadness attached, I know it brings a lot of comfort and a lot of joy,” says Gauvin.
As for the future of Mary Originals, Gauvin says that hats are going to continue to be the staple selling piece because they sell so well. She is always coming up with new patterns and designs to add into the shop.
“I have books and books of patterns. I just started adding animal hats recently and I have a bunch of plush patterns that are going to be added in,” says Gauvin.
You can find hundreds of hats on Mary Originals on Etsy. If you don’t see what you are looking for, send a message to Mary Originals about a custom design.