MontCapel - from wool to felted hat
Quality hats, 100% à la française!
MontCapel - from wool to felted hat
MontCapel is a cooperative specialised in the making of wool felt hats. The MontCapel project is dedicated to the safeguard and development of this unique industrial heritage and maintaining the local manufacture of these high quality products.
In setting up MontCapel, we have created a true dynamic to revive this industrial heritage site in the village of Montazels (south of France), where we intend to manufacture 100% French locally made wool felt hats.
A short history of MontCapel
In November 2018, Sonia Mielke, now President of MontCapel, discovered that the hat-making factory in Montazels had closed with the loss of 9 jobs. Even worse, by this closure, the knowledge and expertise in wool felt hat making, especially the manufacture of the felt itself, would be gone forever from France. This situation was just too sad and unacceptable.
Over the following 10 months, Sonia did her market research, talked to friends and family, met with professionals from the sector and discussed a potential project with the local town council. A first group of "believers" got together to drive and deliver a project to rejuvenate the hat factory. This was achieved thanks to precious support from the Montazels town council. Given the size and complexity of the task at hand, we decided the best way to create a dynamic and an environment where many people could get involved would be through a cooperative. MontCapel thus came into existence on the 1st of September 2019.
MontCapel : 3 unique strengths
Our first strength are the women and men who still have the knowledge and know-how to operate all the equipment and machinery to manufacture both the felt raw material and the hats. We are fighting every day so these artisan jobs are not only maintained but can be passed on to others going forward.
Our second strength is in our ability to manufacture our own felt material from wool and that serves as the basis for the hats (these felted cones are known as hat-bodies). The site in Montazels is the last of its kind in France. Restoring and repairing the felt-making machines is what this crowdfunding activity is all about.
Our third strength is the site's unique collection of aluminium hat moulds. Given the 100 year history of hat-making on the site, with over 600 people working there in the 1950's and 1960's, the number and diversity of hat moulds created and now available to us is absolutely unique.
What we are offering
Restoring and repairing the machinery will enable us to manufacture hats that are 100% French made, on-site in Montazels.
We are offering to send you, in exchange for your donation, a hat from our first ever production of hats scheduled for January 2021. You will be amongst the first to own a 100% made MontCapel hat. This series of hats will be individually marked and you will receive a certificate authentifying this initial production.
A hat from MontCapel is not just a hat. It shows you support locally made artisan products. It demonstrates you are conscious of what you wear every day. It signals you take pleasure in distinct quality apparel. Indeed, for us, hats are not accessories, but a delightful part of an individual's clothing and image.
For those of you who would like to know more about our cooperative and how to contribute and participate, feel free to send a mail to email@example.com.
Remember - to get ahead, get a hat!
A special thank you to Denis Bergamelli who kindly made his photos available to us. To learn more about Denis' work : www.berga-photo.com. Thank you also to Nicolas Bergès for the video. To learn more about Nicolas' work : https://vimeo.com/nicolasberges
Waar dient de collecte voor
The restoration and repair of the wool-felt making equipment and machinery, which is between 70 and 100 years old, will cost about 125.000€. By getting this section of the factory up and running we will be able to offer wool felt hats that are 100% made on site.
We have been able to pre-fund about 100.000€ through our cooperative members, but need a further 25.000€ to complete the work on time. This crowdfunding activity will contribute to making our funding complete.