Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Tale of the Beaufort Bonnet


Once upon a time…
…Generations ago in the graceful South Carolina Lowcountry, a simple yet elegant baby bonnet pattern was cut carefully from plain brown paper.
In the little town of Beaufort, South Carolina, a young mother with her first baby was being showered; she received the most darling gift, wrapped with a big pink bow.  After you heard several women ‘awww’ in unison,   one southern lady exclaimed, ‘Goodness gracious, that’s the sweetest bonnet I ever did see!’ It is the kind of gift guaranteed to make a room full of grown women gasp and squeal.  This pink and white gingham goody was charmingly called a Sweet Pea Bonnet.  The generous friend also shared her heirloom bonnet pattern.  With the tattered pattern the new mother became a chief designer and co- founder of a little bonnet business called Susu & John. 
Although we live in the 21st century, traditional baby items never go out of style.  Baby girls will always be synonymous with bows, bloomers, and bonnets.   Not only is The Beaufort Bonnet timeless and sweet in design, but it’s washable and practical.  It is unarguably the most stylish way to shade precious baby skin.  In short order, we realized we needed a counterpart hat for boys (and sporty girls too), and our version of the classic bucket hat was born. 

Years later in Lexington, KY., a mother who had just been blessed with her second child, a baby girl named Betsey Keene, received a package in the mail from an old friend.   Inside was a nice note and a pink and white gingham baby bonnet from a boutique in Beaufort, SC.  It was love at first site. After several friends and countless passerby’s inquired about Betsey’s bonnet, the mother of two felt inspired.   She wanted in on this bonnet business; after all, she was already ‘selling’ them by telling everyone where to get one.

And so, a girl who grew up in a Beaufort home on Lexington soil began dealing bonnets.  You ask, ‘a Beaufort home on Lexington soil’?  Yes, in the mid 80’s her family took a road trip to South Carolina on a mission to find their dream home; not to purchase, but to replicate.  They fell in love with a two story home with double wrap around porches in Beaufort, S.C.  That Beaufort house was built to overlook a 19 acre lake on the Greenbrier Golf and Country Club golf course in Lexington.   Her tie to Beaufort is coincidence but perhaps Einstein was right, could coincidence be God's way of remaining anonymous?  She likes to think so.  

Although other items have been added to the product line, to honor the adorable bonnet and its small southern town home, the business name has appropriately become The Beaufort Bonnet Company.   
To be continued…

For any other information on Bonnets, Bucket Hats, Diaper Covers, and Pinafore/ Bloomer Sets contact  [ Markey is one of my best friends! ]
Several photos were taken by Ashby Green Photography

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