Katherine Davis was born about 100 years too late. All her life she has been fascinated by all things Victorian. About six months ago she turned that fascination into a business, M'Lady's Millinery.
Katherine makes hats representative of the 1700s, 1800s and early 1900s.
She comes by the interest in bygone days naturally. Her mother, Karen, has been drawn to the clan history of Scotland most of her life and participates in Highland Games and activities for the Clan Kincaid, taking her daughter along for the adventure. And they are sharing the adventure of Katherine's business.
"Katie is the creative side and I'm the business side," said Karen.
"I have three basic hat forms and do the colors according to what people want," said Katie.
"They've become very popular with the Red Hat ladies," Karen said.
"Yes. I'm doing a lot of red and purple hats," said Katie.
Explaining how she became a hat maker, Katie said, "I wanted a hat of my own. I looked at them on the Internet and figured I could make them myself."
Several ladies at her church, Payson First Baptist, wanted hats and her bosses at Family Mercantile encouraged her to put the hats in their shop.
"Katie is Victorian through and through," Karen said.
"It's true, I like everything about the horse and buggy era -- the elegance and gentility. Gentlemen were gentlemen and ladies were ladies -- the romance of the era."
Karen had a business background, so she uses her expertise to keep things organized and put Katie and her work in the public eye. Recently several hats from M'Lady's Millinery were displayed at SAFCU Federal Credit Union, in addition to those displayed at Family Mercantile.
Katie has made about 150 hats in the six months since she started her business and said it takes about two hours to complete one.
"Most of my supplies are available locally," Katie said.
The hats displayed at Family Mercantile are for sale, and special orders can be made there as well.
The hats aren't reproductions in the strictest sense of the word. The Davis women have a shared interest in historic clothing and over the years have collected numerous Victorian fashion references. So, the hats Katie creates are a conglomeration of her ideas and suggestions from fashion books.
Katie's interest in the Victorian era and Karen's in Scots clans have led them to re-enactor gatherings and a Victorian Society in Prescott. The women have even purchased reproduction garments from the costumer in Flagstaff, In Cahoots. Karen has one dress that would have been typical between 1870 and 1875, it weighs about 20 pounds. Katie has about six, including a ball gown weighing about 30 pounds, spanning the years between about 1838 and 1890.
They came into contact with the folks at In Cahoots when their church put on the play "Little Women" and used the store for its costume source.
"We try to be as accurate as we can," Karen said, "From the pantaloons out."
Katie and Karen would like to get a Victorian Society organized in Payson and would like anyone sharing their interest to give them a call at 472-4325.
Name: Karen Davis
Occupation: Keeper at home
Birthplace: Needles, Calif.
Family: husband, two children
Personal motto: I lay me down to bleed awhile to rise and fight again
Inspiration: The Bible
Greatest feat: homeschooling my two children
My favorite hobby or leisure activity is ... reading
The three words that describe me best are ... saved by grace
I don't want to brag, but ... I have gray hair before my husband
The person in history I'd most like to meet is ... Thomas Jefferson
Luxury defined: Staying in a castle
Dream vacation spot: Scotland
Why Payson? Quaint, family-friendly, pretty
Name: Katherine Davis
Employer: Family Mercantile
Birthplace: Torrance, Calif.
Family: Dad, Mom and one brother
Personal motto: Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised
Inspiration: The Bible
Greatest feat: Getting my driver's license
My favorite hobby or leisure activity is ... Riding my horse
The three words that describe me best are ... Old-fashioned, romantic, quiet
I don't want to brag, but ... I have been saved by the redeeming blood of our Lord Jesus Christ
The person in history I'd most like to meet is ... Stonewall Jackson
Luxury defined: Staying in the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island
Dream vacation spot: Prince Edward Island
Why Payson? I moved here with my family.