JW Brooks Knows The Importance Of That PERFECT Cowboy Hat – CMM Interview


A hat is a tradition in many aspects of life, be it sports, a musician, or in the military. But aside from all those selections none have been more recognized than the cowboy hat. From the days of the old westerns to the present they have been a mainstay in our culture. The hard-working father and son team from Texas, made up of Marty and Dustin Latta at JW Brooks Custom Hat Company will make sure it stays that way.

This time of year, in Vegas the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) comes into town for two weeks and there is absolutely no shortage of the perfect hat. As one strolls through the many entrepreneur booths of Cowboy Christmas Craft Fair you see everything possible related to a cowboy, a rancher, and more. The most predominant item is THE HAT. You can choose from anyone, but why not the best company that takes the most precise care in their product and that is JW Brooks.

We thought it would be interesting to bring to light the insight on this competitive business by visiting with Marty on how things work and information about this long-standing company. Even though he was busy at this booth he found time to chat and win us over with the pride he has for his company.

Marty is sort of new to the business, having only taken over about two years ago. His son Dustin has worked there for over five years and was very instrumental in helping dad come aboard. I asked Marty, “Why hats?”

“I’ve been a cowboy all my life and that’s probably the biggest thing that makes you who you are. We are all individuals, we all have our own shape, our own look. JW is a friend and we got the opportunity to buy. We decided it was a great mix for a father and son team to own a great company that has been around for a long time, continuing to do something we can do together. I had not done any hat making prior but was a rep for them, bringing in clients and I knew what a great product it was. I knew I could bring ideas in that could help continue to grow the company with the help of people I knew. It’s a way of giving back to the western way of life that has been a big part of mine.”

Coming in sort of new was a learning curve for Marty, but he had plenty help from his son. He had some challenges.

“Dustin has been working for the company for over five years and is a true milliner. JW taught him how to build hats using his over 28 years of experience. We are still both learning the perfection process but that is part of me buying the company and being honored that JW is passing those traits down to us, so we can continue his legacy. We were able to buy the name and the brand, so we are happy about that. The toughest part for me was the life change. This business has been theirs, what they have accomplished so coming in to this was challenging but change can be that way.”

So, some may say, what is so important about that hat? Marty fills us in.

“Other than the fit it is truly the body. Our bodies are a little bit different as far as just that quality. You can rebuild our bodies quite a few times and still able to have a great hat, 20 or 30 more years from now. Most hats guys don’t do that, so we are unique in that process. We do a full renovation, take the guts out, and rebuild an entire new hat.”

Women don the hat as well and not sure if there is much of a difference between those and the men’s hats, and the same for children.

“It’s actually the same exact body, it’s just a different look as far as shape and style. We have embroidered hats with added bling so that makes it different in that aspect. With children their heads are still growing so if mom and dad don’t mind spending a little money as they grow, we can make adjustments for the growth by over blocking the hat a little bit making it be a little bigger and size it down to what fits. Those are true traits of what JW knows how to do and has passed on down to us.”

“There is also a difference the brim of a hat. Some of it is old traditional cowboy style like the old western days or the flat look of a more traditional rodeo cowboy type. There is not really one that is more popular, we do a lot of show stuff with the ladies who do the show shaper style which is a little higher tighter look. We just do hats and have not expanded to any other line of products.”

JW’s hats are not only a local Texas product but has also branched out internationally as well.

“We do have clients in Australia, Canada as well as working on a plan to get to Italy in 2018. We want to expand the brand and educate people more on a quality product that is worth saving your money for. Buying quality stuff lasts a longer time as opposed to the “now hat.” We’re not a get today hat company. What you get is a true custom hat fit just right from the proper measurements. It is not really an online thing, but we do have a new website being shored up, so we have some new ideas we are going to attempt. Customer can go on there and pick a color, a shape and you can have a good turn- around time. Right now, we are a three-man team with JW, myself and Austin so once we are done with the process you will have perfection. We are happy he has stayed with us, he is the best hat maker in the business. Current turn around on a hat is actually better than most, we are at about three to four months which is a good number.”

Since becoming a part of JW Brooks there has been pride in knowing one is coming into a well-respected company.

“One of the proudest things is getting to work with my son as business partners. Even though we are father and son I am strict business man in here to make a living for myself and my son. It is not always about the money, the quality product is essential, but it takes success to continue. We are a high-end hat company, so our standards are higher. We don’t have a fancy shop, there’s no magic to it. We don’t have a store front; the costs would include more people who truly need to be educated in the process and be able to communicate with each customer on a quality basis. There are folks out there who are good at it, but as of right now we just maintain the hard work ethic, focus on the most cost-effective way to get out the best product we can. Anything we do reflects back to us and we have pride in our work and want to maintain that.”

“We have had some growth since I came on board, we have done more shows such as this during NFR, as a result of me taking chances which takes either capitol or guts. It’s a give and take with Dustin and myself, getting to see him grow and step up has been good. No processes have changed since the new partnership. We have a lot of endorsees from rodeo folks, family, friends and long-time customers who have stuck with us. Texas native and country artist Pat Waters helps us as a rep for our hats as he wears them proudly. In the future we have some things in the works with some country artists, nothing concrete yet but feel 2018 will be a good year.”

Not going to join the rodeo anytime soon but if I am ever in need of a great quality hat, JW is my choice.  Check out the quick video below on the fitting process and keep their Link on file for the new updates. You can also follow them on Facebook.

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