Henry Dickerson and M Ali Nervis – visionary founders of The Straw and Wool Hat Company
Straw and Wool Hat Company, a locally-owned and innovative hat retailer, has been prominently featured in ESPN’s prestigious #ChampionBlackBusinesses campaign. This recognition underscores the company’s commitment to promoting Black entrepreneurship, culture, and community engagement. ESPN, in collaboration with the NBA, Andscape, and ABC, unveiled the fourth annual Champion Black Businesses (CBB) initiative, dedicated to celebrating and supporting Black-owned businesses across the nation.
The announcement was made by ESPN, which detailed the continued success and growth of the CBB initiative. The campaign aims to shine a spotlight on Black-owned businesses, showcasing their creativity, diversity, and significance. These businesses, like Straw and Wool Hat Company, are being featured prominently across ESPN platforms during the NBA Finals and beyond.
Straw and Wool Hat Company was founded in February 2020 by a team of visionary entrepreneurs with a deep passion for classic hats and a dedication to community engagement. The founders, driven by a shared love for style and a commitment to supporting the local community, embarked on a journey that would establish Straw and Wool as a destination for hat enthusiasts and newcomers alike.
The company’s unique journey began at the Buy Black Marketplace, an event created to promote and highlight Black-owned businesses in Phoenix, Arizona. From there, Straw and Wool Hat Company opened its doors inside Grassrootz Bookstore, the only Black-owned bookstore in Arizona. In July 2020, they expanded by establishing their first boutique on Historic Grand Avenue in Phoenix, later moving to the vibrant Roosevelt Row Arts District.
Straw and Wool Hat Company’s vision for the future is clear: “We want to change the culture in Phoenix and beyond, where it will be normal to see someone walking down the street in a classic hat. It creates a different energy when you see classic hats. Phoenix is in the middle of a Renaissance of sorts, and we feel the hats just add to that spirit.”
One distinctive aspect of Straw and Wool’s products is their commitment to affordable and accessible classic hats. They offer a wide range of headwear, each named after historic Black towns, celebrating and honoring Black culture and history. Furthermore, Straw and Wool Hat Company’s philanthropic efforts are noteworthy. Every Saturday, once a month, they donate proceeds to a local non-profit, reflecting their dedication to giving back to the community.
The company’s flagship store in Phoenix embodies its commitment to bringing culture and history to the forefront. They offer a unique selection of 1 of a kind (1OAK) customized hats that are highly sought after by their customers.
Straw and Wool Hat Company’s remarkable journey doesn’t stop at hat retail. In addition to their flagship store, they have ventured into creating a community marketplace next door, where small businesses can showcase and sell their products. Their commitment to helping other small businesses grow has recently extended to the establishment of a nonprofit organization.
Their brand ORI, launched in the fall of 2021, has quickly gained popularity nationwide, even among celebrities, for its stunning designs and affordability. Straw and Wool Hat Company is known for making classic hats accessible to the everyday consumer. They are proud to be a North American manufacturing company, allowing them to bring products to market faster than their competitors.
“We are not the traditional hat wearers. We see an evolution of the classic hat where everyone can wear a classic hat with almost any outfit,” says the team at Straw and Wool Hat Company. Their dedication to customer satisfaction is unwavering, treating every customer like they are their first.
Straw and Wool Hat Company is now the largest Black-owned hat company in America, and their journey continues to inspire and uplift both hat enthusiasts and the broader community. Their unique blend of style, culture, and community engagement has earned them a well-deserved place in the spotlight as part of ESPN’s #ChampionBlackBusinesses campaign.