Derby Hats from the Hat Girls

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Local hat makers have made it easy for last-minute hat shoppers this year by setting up pop-up shops in downtown Louisville hotels.

Thousands of visitors are pouring into the city, and many of them are still missing that perfect headpiece. 

"Generally, Thursday after people have checked in is when it gets really crazy," said Kate Smith, co-owner of The Hat Girls.  

When it comes to hat making in Louisville, the options are almost endless, but the clock is ticking to find the right fit or upgrade to something that makes more of a statement. The pop-ups are a great solution. 

"There were a lot of people that came in and hadn't ever really seen a real Derby hat before, and they ended up buying something else once they got here," Smith said. 

You can find The Hat Girls at the Aloft Hotel on Main Street. They'll be open until 10 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday. They're still working to customize hats and make a match for Derby-goers. 

"Women bringing in their dresses is a huge help, because we can customize around that like colors and fabrics and prints," said Rachel Bell, co-owner of The Hat Girl. 

Hey Lady Hat boutique is also fully stocked at the Galt House Hotel. They will be open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Decorators are on hand to help add unique touches to hats. 

"Bring your hats, bring your outfits," Decorator Becca Schell said. "We can jazz it up."

The boutique also offers hat choices and customization for men. 

"It has been very busy," Schell said. "A lot of people coming in from out of town hat shopping."

The pop-ups mainly cater to those out-of-towners who couldn't find the colors, sizes and shapes that only Louisville can offer.

"We're from Florida, and they have nothing down there," said Kim Smith, who's visiting Louisville for her first Kentucky Derby. "So everything we get is online, you know, they don't have quite the selection."

The pop-ups seem to be a smart business strategy, saving last-minute shoppers and getting them ready for a day at the races. 

"It's changed our business, 100 percent," Bell said. "We started selling online this year too, so people coming into town were already aware of us."

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