How We Got Started

The Urban Baby Bonnet project is the brainchild of artist and mom Colette Palamar.

Colette's daughter, Sabine, was born in early October 2007.  And the search was on for a perfect hat.  Colette tried knit caps-- these were great in winter but still did not keep the sun off of Sabine's face.  Sun hats seemed to have brims that were too floppy and were always covering her eyes and making her cry.  Bucket hats were another choice, but these seemed to "ride" down the front of her face, especially if she was being carried in a sling or baby carrier.

One afternoon, Sabine's great-grandmother, Ada, came over with a special gift for Sabine-- a little bonnet that she made.  It was adorable-- featuring a black retro floral fabric and long strap ties.  But, it was too small.  Although she asked Ada to make another, larger hat, Colette couldn’t wait—she was on a mission.

After looking at some commercial baby bonnets, and determining the features she liked and did not like, Colette designed her own pattern for Sabine's first real bonnet.  She went to her fabric stash & found 4 fabrics that she loved.  After a few hours of hard work, Colette completed what has become the *UB2* signature bonnet-- the Vines & Goldenrod.  Colette tried it on Sabine, and it was perfect!  The bonnet was a hit everywhere they went.  Colette describes how she went from making a special hat for her daughter to making baby bonnets that have dazzled the world: “People were constantly stopping me, raving about how cute the bonnet was, and asking me where I got it!  And I thought, if this many people love the hat, maybe I should make a few to sell!”  And just that quickly, *UB2* was BORN!

Soon after that first bonnet, Colette quickly became an expert seamstress and was creating literally hundreds of bonnets in her living room using two machines-- a 5-thread Janome serger and a Shark Euro-Pro sewing machine.  In just a few months, expansion of the project required a business license and wholesale fabric purchases.  After about a year, she refinished a room in the upper part of her house and created an airy, open studio space with lots of room for fabric storage.

The bonnets continued to attract attention everywhere, and her local sales to boutiques began to grow quickly.  While Colette loved designing and sewing the bonnets, she soon began to wonder how this new bonnet work fit into her previous fine art projects as a painter, sculptural ceramicist, and installation artist.  She wondered how this work fit into her educational background in art, philosophy, and environmental studies (she has an MFA and a PhD).  As it happens with all of her art projects, the rationale emerged in a flash of inspiration.  One day, it just dawned on her:  the bonnets ARE an art project!!  And this brought the project proper into existence.  Just a few days later, she wrote the project statement and set about learning how to make the bonnets even more available.  That's when she found etsy, an on-line arts & crafts site.  Essentially, the *UB2* Project joins Colette's experience with color from her work as a painter, her sc


ulptural abilities honed by her work as a ceramicist & installation artist, and her philosophical expertise from her work with phenomenology and aesthetics.  

Since the inauguration of the project, the bonnets found their way all around the world to Italy, Sweden, France, England, Germany, Australia, Canada, South Korea, Thailand, Egypt, Greece, Norway, Puerto rice, Cyprus, Japan, Ireland, and Singapore, and New Zealand, among many others.  Colette’s ultimate goal is to bring a bright spot of artist-designed color to people's everyday lives.

A team of work-at-home women sews all of *UB2*’s wholesale bonnets and the ones available here.  Everything made by *UB2* is handmade in the USA.  All seams are professionally finished, and everything is triple checked for quality.  These bonnets are DURABLE and will easily last through several kids.  In fact, we hope YOUR bonnets will become heirloom items-- existing as one of the few treasured items saved in your hope chest for grandchildren-to-be.   The *UB2* bonnets truly are “a postmodern twist on an heirloom classic! ℠

*UB2* bonnets THE go-to baby gift.  They work for boys and girls and in rear and front facing carriers and slings.  When the brim is out, they allow discrete breastfeeding, and prevent the necessity of using chemical sunscreens on baby’s delicate facial skin.  They’re reversible, machine washable, and super-cute.  One customer described the bonnets as having a “my-mom-is-super-hip” vibe.  *UB2* bonnets are fun, funky, functional, and fashionable!

As *UB2* grows, we are committed to making sure that the bonnets continue to be handmade in the USA.  we plan to continue to expand our ecoBonnets and ecoCaps, our hats featuring GOTS certified organic fabrics. In addition, 1% of profits are donated to environmental, social, and children's organizations.  You can be sure that your purchase is supporting environmental and social commitments to justice, living wages, & ecological protection. *UB2* is committed to quality, to domestic production, and to delivering fantastic design and living wages to the women who make the bonnets.  Support a homegrown, American company: buy *UB2*!