About Paula


Meet the person behind the needle and thread!

Paula began her millinery journey in 1994 by creating a few hats based on her acquired skills and eventually found a talented instructor practically in her own backyard. She achieved a certificate in millinery from the Virginia Marti College of Art and Design in Lakewood, Ohio and continues her education through workshops with leaders in the field of millinery from around the globe.

Paula makes each hat completely by hand from start to finish. Wooden molds – some of which are decades old – are used in this process and the hats are then finished and sewn with the utmost attention to detail. She typically begins with a piece of millinery straw or felt and creates a unique shape by blocking or hand sculpting it using time-honored millinery techniques. She may incorporate found objects, vintage finds, sinamay, fabric and other materials to create her designs. All materials are of the highest quality and come from around the world.

Clients may find Paula’s designs in her online store or by visiting the What a Great Hat studio in Fairlawn, Ohio. She also works with long distance clients by emailing communications and photos during every step of the process of making a custom hat. Many pieces are custom made to complement a specific dress or outfit. Most importantly they are designed to enhance the features of the wearer. Color, shape, scale and balance are an integral part of creating a look that’s unique, beautiful, and tailored to each client.

Paula's hats have been displayed in the Kentucky Derby Museum nearly every year since 2010, when she won the Judges Choice award. Her creations have garnered prizes in competitions, art shows and events throughout the United States. She was honored to have had a hat displayed in The Great Hat Exhibition in London, England in March, 2018.