Springville hatter keeps Utah hatmaking history alive

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Chandler Baird Scott has dedicated his life to preserving the art and skill of hatmaking in Utah.

Scott’s Springville shop, Tatton Baird Hatters, uses equipment dating back to the Brigham Young era.

John Charles Tatton was a hatmaker who joined the LDS Church after immigrating from Lancashire, England to Illinois in 1849. Tatton and his family traveled to the Salt Lake Valley when the Saints were instructed to move west. Brigham Young heard of Tatton’s hat-making and financed him to set up the first hat shop in the state and to be his personal hatter.

Tatton’s hat shop remained in his family for generations until it eventually went out of business in 1976, largely because hats became less popular in the ’70s. In the 1980s, Jim Whittington discovered the original equipment and purchased it to open his own hat shop in Utah.

Scott, a frequent customer of Whittington’s shop, decided to become his apprentice.

“The hat thing hit 16 years ago where I helped the old man out and apprenticed for 10 months,” Scott said.

Scott said he then wanted to buy Whittington’s shop.

“He wouldn’t sell it to me. He wasn’t done yet,” Scott said.

Scott put the thought of opening his own hat shop on the back burner. He became the brand representative and manager for outdoor companies such as Fjallraven, Spyder and Pajar. Scott said these experiences helped him develop connections, which would later help him with his hat business.

Scott said he found great success selling the brands he worked with, but his career led to much time away from home. His wife Annie said he would often be gone on the road at trade shows or visiting stores for weeks at a time.

“With Fjallraven, there were two of us, and I would be gone during a three-week season when writing orders,” Scott said. “I would go to Nordstrom, drive all the way on the coast to San Francisco while writing orders the whole time.”

Scott said he wanted a career that would allow him to work at his own pace, so he decided to step away from selling other people’s brands and start his own.

Scott purchased the original hat equipment from Whittington and opened Tatton Baird Hatters — “Tatton” in honor of the original Utah hatter — in Springville. Scott said the hat shop makes for a satisfying business life, something he refers to as “the romantic scale.”

“It’s high on the romantic scale for me when some other things weren’t,” Scott said. “I want to keep doing this.”

Scott’s shop sells custom hats all across the world, and does particularly well in Japan, where Scott has visited since 2007. He said he would love to see his shop produce 30 to 40 custom hats a day in the future.

Scott said he has a great love and appreciation for LDS history and relics such as the equipment his shop uses and the replica sign by Brigham Young hanging in his shop. It reads, “Mormon Creed. Mind your own business. Saints will observe this; all others ought to.”

Covi King is a friend of Scott and his wife, and has worked in the hat shop for about a year and a half.

“It’s really rewarding to be able to take a physical product from start to finish, to deliver an heirloom product to a customer, something they’ve never had before,” King said.

Scott said he enjoys working with his hands and creating a great product for his customers.

“Everyone really wants to wear a hat — it’s just whether you can afford one or if it’s the right one,” Scott said. “The hat is loved by all.”

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