Blog

Mad Hatter is a charming quaint shop located in downtown If you love whimsical and fun, along with hats and teas, this is a shop you will want to visit.


Follow my blog with Bloglovin

view:  full / summary

The Mad Hatter Goes Truly "Mad" For a Day

Posted by asad1775 on August 12, 2017 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (0)

As you know, the local version of The Mad Hatter came to an end this past July. It was the final chapter of the physical shop but by no means the end of the Mad Hatter shop. We’re continuing online and we’ll still be in town for special tea parties and other fun events.


But we couldn’t let the shop go out without a final send-off, so we decided to go literally mad for a day and just give it all away. Literally, we opened up the doors and just invited people in for a free-for-all!


In the retail world, that is the very definition of ‘Mad’!


Email Subscribers Had a Terrific Surprise in Their Inboxes One Morning


Subscribers to the Mad Hatter email woke to find a special message in their inboxes. We’d sent out an announcement saying that day would be ‘Free Day’ at the Mad Hatter and they’d better hurry down before everyone else got wind of the event.


All Our Friends Showed Up


The email worked, and soon our friends and loyal customers were trickling—then pouring—into the shop to see what was what. Some seemed to think maybe it was all a joke.


How could anyone give away their shop?


But once our friends and customers walked through the front door of the shop and realized Free Day was no joke, they joined in the fun. Everyone was picking out what they wanted: teas, lotions, soaps, hat boxes and yes… hats.


Here’s Why We Did It


Bobbie really hates moving! Since the Mad Hatter was closing down, the shop had to be completely emptied. The prospect of moving everything was just too much for this Southern lady and her crew so we came up with the idea of Free Day.


Plus, it was our way of thanking our loyal local customers for years of fun and support. We were thrilled that so many of you got to take home some great products and we had a fun day on top of it all.


What Happened to the Rest?


Believe it or not, there was still some merchandise left in the shop at the end of Free Day! And since Bobbie really hates packing, we called a local thrift store that raises money for autism. They came and picked up the rest, thereby ending the final phase of Free Day at the Mad Hatter.


Thanks, Everyone, For Making Free Day a Success!


We met our goal and emptied the shop on Free Day. But the real reward was seeing our customers once again, and knowing we provided some items they’ll enjoy. That, more than anything, means a lot to us here at the Mad Hatter… because without our local customers, we never would have arrived at the place where we are today.


We hope everyone continues to stay in touch with us, either by visiting us online to read our blog or by shopping our online shops. See you soon!

We're Closing Our Doors- But Opening New Ones!

Posted by asad1775 on July 29, 2017 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (0)

This week marks the end of the Mad Hatter storefront in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina. And while we’ll miss our cozy little downtown spot, we’re truly excited about the next phase: a 24/7 e-commerce storefront where we can spotlight our products to the world.


Come With Us, Fuquay-Varina!


So we’re not thinking of this as an end. We’re not even leaving Fuquay-Varina behind. Rather, we’re taking Fuquay-Varina and the Mad Hatter out into the world. Our local shop is now part of the global marketplace and we can’t wait to tell the world about our community, our products, and the lovely network of customers who’ve been with us all along.


In fact, it’s our customers—both local and those visiting from distant regions—that we owe everything we have. So this is not about closing our physical doors. It’s about thanking our customers and inviting you to come along with the Mad Hatter on a journey into the global stratosphere.


We’ll still be posting customer photos, so watch for the Mad Hatter community to grow in the upcoming months ahead.


What Does all this Mean for You?


You can still find Mad Hatter teas and lotions, only now they’re conveniently showcased on our new Etsy store (MadHatterNC). As for our hats, you can still visit us online at www.MadHatterNC.com to do your window shopping and get ideas before you make a purchase. The blog will live on, too.


And for all our customers in Fuquay-Varina, stay tuned for a revival of the Mad Hatter Tea Society!


Whichever way you choose to connect with us, we look forward to seeing everyone again. Thank you, everyone, for making the Mad Hatter everything we are today. We couldn’t have done this without you. Here’s to our journey together as we enter the next phase of Mad Hattery.

Introducing Buckingham Palace and Duchess Kate Teas: the Many Flavors of Earl Grey

Posted by asad1775 on July 9, 2017 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (2)

One of the best ways to enjoy a leisurely afternoon is by treating yourself to a good cup of tea. If you’ve been lucky enough to sample high-quality teas from around the world, you know the distinct pleasures of a good Earl Grey.


We’ve added two new tea blends to our tea lineup here in the shop. Both are variations on Earl Grey.


Two New Earl Grey Teas at the Mad Hatter


In case you aren’t familiar with Earl Grey, it’s a blend with a very distinctive flavor. That flavor comes from the bergamot oil, which is derived from the rind of the bergamot orange. The result isn’t what you’d describe as ‘orange-ey’, though. It’s more like an exotic, delicious twist on black tea.


Nobody does tea blends like the British, and indeed, Earl Grey is a British creation. Here are the two new blends we have in the shop this week:



1. Buckingham Palace Garden Party Tea


What’s more British than Earl Grey tea? Earl Grey tea served at a garden party! We know the Queen is a huge fan of tea, and this one, with its soft notes of Jasmine, seems perfect for an afternoon tea at her palace.

 

In fact, she does serve this blend at her annual garden party at Buckingham Palace. It’s a unique blend created just for that occasion, with green tea as well as black tea. Now it’s available at the Mad Hatter, too.


2. Duchess Kate Tea


If you’ve ever visited the Mad Hatter, you might have noticed that we’re a big fan of Duchess Kate.


There’s no better ambassador for hat fashion, of course. She does for hats what Brigitte Bardot did for the bikini. Or what Audrey Hepburn did for the little black dress. And more specifically, Duchess Kate has introduced millions of American women to the the special magic that comes from wearing a perfectly placed fascinator.


We’re such a great fan of Duchess Kate that we named our second new tea after her. As far as we know, nobody else has a Duchess Kate Tea! Just like her youthful spirit and her impeccable sense of fashion, this tea is light and refreshing. It can be served hot or cold, with or without milk and sugar.


The secret to our Duchess Kate Tea is the double bergamot, which gives the tea a truly rich, exotic flavor.


You don’t have to be a Duchess or a Queen to enjoy the finest Earl Grey blends. They’re right here at the Mad Hatter. Next time you’re in the area, stop by for one of our new tea blends and say hello.


Shipping is available via our Etsy Shop: MadHatterNC


Four Things to Know About Choosing Your Preakness Hat

Posted by asad1775 on May 9, 2017 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (1)

Preakness Season is here. The annual Spring racing fashion event is May 20. Ladies, if you’re heading up to Baltimore to attend the races, it’s time to start thinking about your wardrobes.


And of course, the most important part of your look is your hat.


But just like the other horse racing events this Spring and Summer, you can’t wear just any old hat. There’s an unwritten ‘code’ to the hat styles women wear. Here’s your basic guide to what type of hat to wear to Preakness Stakes and all the other exciting horse racing events you plan to attend this year and beyond.


1. Preakness Stakes has a Color Theme


If you were just at the Kentucky Derby, you’ve got a good sense of what women are wearing this year. As far as hats go, what works for the Kentucky Derby also works for Preakness.


There’s definitely a color theme for the Baltimore race, however: Black-Eyed Susan colors! Even a touch of yellow will show you’re in the spirit of the day.


2. Oversized Hats are Perfect


There are several advantages to wearing an oversized hat. One very practical reason is that those wide brims cast a shadow and will protect your face and shoulders from the Baltimore sun.


Secondly, think of an oversized hat as a canvas. The larger the hat, the more embellishments it can hold! Race Day hats are best when fully decked out with flowers, but you can venture into the unexpected and get creative.


3. This is Your Opportunity to be a Little Zany


If you’re going to wear a hat (I suggest you do, for the sun protection alone), there’s no reason to be shy about it. Part of the charm of attending a horse race like Preakness Stakes is that everyone’s decked out.


Once the day is over, you can revert to your normal wardrobe but for race day, it’s a fantasy land of hats and dresses and seersucker suits.


So, that gigantic hot pink hat that seems like overkill while running errands will fit right in at the races.


4. Fascinators Work, Too


For some, the opportunity to wear a fascinator is too tempting so for race day, that’s their choice. Also acceptable!


You may not get the full benefit of sun coverage, but there is an advantage of the fascinator over the oversized hat.


With a fascinator, you don’t have to worry your hat is going to blow away. Fascinators can be secured with bobby pins for a footloose and fancy-free day at the races.


And that’s how we hope you feel as you attend the races: like you don’t have a care in the world except making sure you get a good view of the race. Stop by the Mad Hatter and we’ll get you set up with your new Preakness Stakes hat.


Photo Credit: JHR Photography


Three Main Reasons Why We Love the Kentucky Derby

Posted by asad1775 on April 19, 2017 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Who’s going to the Kentucky Derby?


We’re in full throttle here at Mad Hatter, helping friends and customers get ready for the hat event of the year. Millinery fans know hat season begins in early Spring and lasts well into late summer but the high point is the Kentucky Derby.


Why all the fuss and fanaticism? To help explain the special mystique of the Kentucky Derby for fashion fans, here are three reasons why we love the Kentucky Derby.


1. It’s All About The Hats


The Kentucky Derby is a famous horse race, of course. But to some, it’s all about the hats. Top names in fashion arrive all decked out in outfits that were obviously created around the hat. It’s a virtual showcase of the world’s most beautiful hats!


2. It’s a Special World Where Anything Goes


It’s not every day that you get to dress up and wear a stunning hat. If you’ve ever been to the Kentucky Derby, you probably noticed that some people really go all out with the creativity.


The Kentucky Derby hat scene is special because it’s a temporary fantasy land for people who love to dress up in fancy hat-based ensembles. Creative types can indulge their wildest hat creation fantasies. Conservative types can let loose with a little creativity. It’s a chance to live in a different world for a fleeting moment.


3. Fashionable Hats Were Part of the Original Vision for the Race


Did you know that the Kentucky Derby was established by the grandson of famous explorer General William Clark? Like his grandfather, Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr. loved to travel. After attending horse races in England and France in the 1870s, he returned to America to start his own race*.


The problem was: American ladies at the time tended to steer clear of horse races. They associated the events with drinking and gambling. So, to pull in the ladies, Clark made his Kentucky Derby a fashion event, too. He required “full morning dress”, which meant hat and gloves. The rest is history.


As a result, he required “full morning dress”, which meant hat and gloves. The rest is history.


Hats for the Kentucky Derby Scene


Mad Hatter is the acknowledged hat expert in the Fuquay-Varina area. Our customers know there’s no substitute for a well-made hat, and they can rely on us for a carefully-curated collection of beautiful hats for any special occasion. Not only that, but we know and love hats- come by the shop to see our latest collection. But hurry- most are Kentucky Derby-bound!


*Source: Zorthian, Julia & Ronk, Liz. “A Brief History of the Kentucky Derby Hat”. Time Magazine. Retrieved 4/18/2017 from http://time.com/4317873/kentucky-derby-hat-history/


Miss North Carolina Garden Party

Posted by asad1775 on April 3, 2017 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Anyone Up for a Garden Party?


We always know it’s Spring when everyone starts getting ready for the party of the year – the Garden party of the year, that is! And nothing stirs up the excitement quite like a photo shoot with Miss North Carolina. Let me explain…


The Miss North Carolina Garden Party


Every year in June, there is the Miss NC Garden Party. Hosted by the Miss NC Scholarship Pageant Organization, at  William Peace University again this year, the party will have a featured speaker and 45 Miss North Carolina contestants on hand with their friends and family.


Also in attendance will be the Scholarship Donors, who set a record this year of a whopping $80,000. The new Miss North Carolina for 2017 will receive a $20,000 scholarship.


The featured speaker, Tycely Williams, was the first runner-up in 1997 and she will touch upon highlights from this year’s theme: You Don’t Have to Wear a Crown to Be a Winner!


Crowns Not Required, But Hats are Encouraged!


You may not have to wear a crown to be a winner, but all invited guests should be inspired to don pretty Spring hats. And if a hat isn’t your style, then a fascinator suits the occasion just fine, too!


To kick off all the pre-party fun, the Mad Hatter was host to none other than Miss North Carolina herself, McKenzie Faggart. We had a blast snapping pics of her in all the new Spring hats we have in the shop. Such a fun day with a truly wonderful gal – I couldn’t wait to share these pictures with everyone.


We also took some of the hats from the shop to the Walter Aiken House in downtown Fuquay-Varina, where the historic backdrop made the hats look so special. Of course, having Miss North Carolina wear the hats made the hats look pretty special too.


My favorite is the monochrome peach/coral hat in front of the grand old mirror at the Walter Aiken House. In case you haven’t noticed, peach/coral is a very big color this Spring and we’re seeing it everywhere – from sneakers to garden hats!


Thanks, McKenzie Faggart, for spending the afternoon at the Mad Hatter- it was so much fun, and what a way to get ready for Spring!


Photo Credit: Wicked 6 Media


Are Your Going to the Garden Party at the NC Azalea Festival?

Posted by asad1775 on March 14, 2017 at 6:30 PM Comments comments (0)

This crazy, cold winter will soon come to an end, just in time for the NC Azalea festival on April 5-9. Here at the shop, our favorite part of the lineup of events is, of course, the Garden Party at Airlie Gardens. Have you ever been?


It’s the Colorful Debut of Stunning Spring Garden Hats

 

Around here, we don’t need any excuse to don our Spring hats. Just a tiny break in the weather is all it takes and already, many members of the Mad Hatter community are already planning outfits to go with new hats. But the Luncheon Garden party at the NC Azalea Festival is Spring’s first official calling to bring out the new styles and show our colors.


I’ve sent many hats to the festival: many of my customers love the Garden Party and attend year after year. One of my proudest moments was when I sent this lovely creme and burgundy garden hat (flowers added after purchase) to the festival (see photo below), worn by one of my lovely customers with a matching creme-colored strapless ruffled dress and pearls (how Southern!). The ruffles were carefully chosen, I imagine, to mirror the ruffles on the hat itself. I’m not sure where she found such a perfect dress, but I’m pretty sure she turned a lot of heads that year!


Another year, that same customer chose a green and fuchsia color scheme (fuschia and white was added to hat after purchase) but kept the same extremely wide brim style. Personally, I favor that style too, as it shades not only the face but also the shoulders from the sun. And for the shoulder-baring styles this lovely lady chose, it was a wise choice, as the Spring sun shone bright and clear both years. Something to think about if you’re planning on attending this year.


What to Expect at the NC Azalea Festival’s Garden Party

 

It’s not only great fun but also an important networking event and a place to see and be seen. While women come in big fancy hats, men attend in their best Southern seersucker suits and bow ties (or ties).


A whopping 2,500 people kick off the season at this party, too. That’s a lot of hats to take in and a lot of people to rub elbows with! There’s also the Citadel Summerall Guards performance, which you can catch if you get there early enough.


Are you headed to Wilmington on April 5-9 for the NC Azalea Festival and the garden party at Airlie Gardens? Stop by the Mad Hatter and we’ll find you the perfect, show-stopping hat!


Lavender Hand Lotion- Today's Top Reason for Shopping Local

Posted by asad1775 on March 5, 2017 at 6:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Lavender Hand Lotion.....a Mad Hatter lotion, locally made with goat's milk and honey.


If you know anything about the Mad Hatter, you know I’m all about the ShopLocal movement. By shopping local, you support our community by helping to keep Fuquay-Varina unique and special.

I like to practice what I preach, so I shop local for some of the products I sell in the store too. Right now my favorite happens to be a locally-made lavender hand lotion that’s created just for the Mad Hatter store.


Made With Lavender Essential Oil- Nature’s Calming Scent

 

I just love this lavender hand & body lotion for its fresh, clean scent. But many believe lavender essential oil – the type that’s used in this lotion – can do more than merely smell amazing. In some circles, lavender essential oil is known to have a calming effect and is therefore used as a healthy and alternative treatment for insomnia, headaches, and even depression.

Now, I’m not one to go promoting quasi-scientific home remedies but I sure do feel happy and calm when I condition my hands with this wonderful, restorative lotion. Call it a treat for the senses, I guess! And if it calms you and helps you sleep, all the better.


A Rich, Beautifully-Scented Hand Lotion Just for the Mad Hatter

 

This restorative, protective hand lotion is a product I’d select for my customers no matter where it was made. It’s got goat’s milk and honey, too, which help hydrate and moisturize the skin – naturally, which I know is important to a lot of my customers.

Knowing it’s made locally, however, I feel that it’s very much in line with my values – and hopefully yours! I love my community, and by sourcing my products locally I’m not only strengthening this town but also reducing environmental impact, too. It feels good to invest in Fuquay-Varina, and hopefully I’m helping to create more good jobs, too.

If you’re in the area, stop by and check out my line of locally-produced hand lotions and sprays. We even have the Mad Hatter Signature Scent, created expressly for this boutique. I know you’ll love them all.



What Makes Shades of Earl Grey Different?

Posted by asad1775 on January 29, 2017 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (0)

What Makes Shades of Earl Grey So Deliciously Different?

 

When you picture tea leaves, large petals of blue flowers don’t usually come to mind. But that’s what makes Shades of Earl Grey so special. Since this tea is one of the most popular in the shop, I thought I’d introduce it to anyone who’s not familiar with this rich, robust, unusual tea that’s become a staple in my house as well as many of my regulars here at Mad Hatter.

 

What’s Earl Grey Tea, Anyway?

 

Even without the addition of those mysterious blue flower petals, Earl Grey tea is already something special. Start with premium black tea from the best tea-growing areas in the world. Then, oil of bergamot is added for an intense, citrus flavor. Finally, it’s the cornflowers that make this tea different- that’s where the blue color in the loose tea comes from – actual cornflowers! 


But hold on- back to that second ingredient – the one that makes Earl Grey tea what it is in the first place: Oil of Bergamot. That might need some explanation, too.

 

And… What’s ‘Oil of Bergamot’?

 

A bergamot looks like something between a lemon and an orange and tastes that way, too. Some might rightly compare the bergamot to a sour orange but it’s actually a hybrid of sour orange and lemon.¹ They grow in Morocco, France, and Italy but most of the bergamots grown for commercial purposes come from a specific area of Italy (Calabria) on about 7,500 acres known to produce high-quality bergamot fruit.¹ 


They grow in Morocco, France, and Italy but most of the bergamots grown for commercial purposes come from a specific area of Italy (Calabria). There, they are grown on about 7,500 acres known to produce high-quality bergamot fruit.¹ 


Bergamot is what gives Earl Grey tea its distinctive unusual aroma and taste: slightly exotic, pungent, and simply wonderful on the taste buds.

 

Finally, About Those Blue Flowers


They’re cornflowers, actually, and they are the ingredient that separates this tea from other Earl Greys. The cornflowers give this tea a “creamy” taste, according to For Tea’s Sake, the folks who blend and distribute this specialty tea for the Mad Hatter. I just think the cornflower petals make it the smoothest cup of tea ever. How about you? Have you tried Shades of Earl Grey yet?

 

References 

 

  1. Bergamot Sour Orange Hybrid. University of California Riverside. College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. Retrieved 1/27/2017 from  http://www.citrusvariety.ucr.edu/citrus/bergamot.html

 

Photo by Mad Hatter

7 Reasons to Celebrate: January is National Hot Tea Month

Posted by asad1775 on January 13, 2017 at 10:05 PM Comments comments (1)

Each January we celebrate National Hot Tea Month and invite you to join us in the month-long appreciation of the wonderful, pleasing effects of a good cup of premium hot tea.


If you love tea, I’m sure I don’t have to remind you of all the wonderful benefits: from the calming effects of a nice chamomile to the delicious, robust flavor of a good Earl Grey, there’s a tea for every mood.


In fact, there are seasonal teas as well, and if you were around the shop during the Holidays, you might have picked up some of our Chocolate Peppermint Tea. If not, no worries: it’s not too late. We plan to carry this flavor well into 2017.


Don’t forget the other reasons to celebrate hot tea this month: this ancient beverage has proven health benefits, too. Here are seven of the ways hot tea is good for the body, mind, and soul:

 

  1. Green tea has been shown to reduce chance of stroke by 35% and reduce risk of heart attack by 20%.¹
  2. Since all teas have less caffeine than coffee, you can enjoy a good hot cup more often throughout the day without so much of those annoying jittery effects that come from drinking too much coffee.
  3. Green tea may ward off periodontal disease- it’s the polyphenols, which inhibit growth of pathogens in the gums.²
  4. Tea contains a super-abundant supply of antioxidants, which help protect the body from cellular damage (and helps keep us young!).
  5. It appears that drinking tea may help ward off cancer, too. While more hard evidence is needed, anyone with a family history might want to take up drinking hot tea just in case.
  6. Tea may even help reduce cholesterol. The USDA conducted a study and found that Black Tea reduced LDL (“bad” cholesterol) in just 3 weeks.³
  7. L-theanine is an amino acid unique to tea, and may boost certain brain functions.

 

These are just 7 of the ways tea is great for you. For me, the pleasure I get from sipping hot tea and settling into a good book (when I find the time!) is reason enough to go all out celebrating National Hot Tea Month. Join me, and stop by the shop for some premium tea for your home (and your health!)


References

 

 

  1. Tea Drinking Linked to Better Heart Health. American Heart Association. Retrieved 1/12/2017 from http://www.news.heart.org/tea-drinking-linked-to-better-heart-health/
  2. Kushiyama, M. et al. Relationship between intake of green tea and periodontal disease. US National Institutes of Health. Retrieved 1/12/2017 from https//www..ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19254120
  3. Davies MJ, Judd JT, Baer DJ, Clevidence BA, Paul DR, Edwards AJ, Wiseman SA, Muesing RA, Chen SC. Black tea consumption reduces total and LDL cholesterol in mildly hypercholesterolemic adults. J Nutr 2003 Oct;133(10):3298S-3302S
  4. 8 Kelly SP, Gomez-Ramirez M, Montesi JL, Foxe JJ. L-Theanine and caffeine in combination affect human cognition as evidenced by oscillatory alpha-band activity and attention task performance. J Nutr 2008;138:1572S–7S.

 


Rss_feed