Where Husky Pride comes alive...
Nearly all small businesses start from an innocent idea that eventually evolves into something bigger than itself. That idea might be a desire for a exotic food or a special something that would make life easier. In this case, its as simple as a mother wanting to wear her son’s school colors, while also making them a bit more ‘chic’
Tanya Henson and her growing clothing business in downtown, Owatonna, Hat Chic Clothing Co., started in 2013 as a late night project after-work adding glitter and rhinestones to an Owatonna Huskies hat. Her first order came after she sported the cap at one of her sons baseball games and a friend asked where she got it. 25 bejeweled baseball-caps, a check, and one bad pun later and she was officially ‘The Hat Chic.’
The operation continued like this for two years. Then, in 2015 she rented a space for homecoming that year and never left. Three years later, in 2018, she bought and expanded into the space next door. This tripled the size of her business. At this point,Tanya expanded from the baseball cap business, to a variety of hat styles and eventually to sports clothing as well. It’s in women's clothing that Tanya found the most success. She’s always struggled with the fit of sporting event clothes as they weren’t flattering and were more utilitarian than stylish. Her growing clientele seemed to agree.
As the business grew she was able to be open more often, changing her hours from 3 days a week to 6. She was also able to grow her team beyond just her, hiring others to help run the store. Today she has 2 full time employees and 4 part-time, though she still enjoys Saturdays when she’s able to man the store herself and enjoy time to with her clients.
Tanya's greatest joy is using her business as an opportunity to work with students in the community. She speaks often at the schools around Owatonna, teaching them about entrepreneurship and the joys of being a small business owner. She assists Katie Wanous with the business walk she runs with 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders at Wilson Elementary. The place she makes the most impact is with the DECA program, working with kids who are actively pursuing business and entrepreneurship and guiding them on how they might find the same success that she has.
She found this passion for her business and her education work through her desire to support her children. This is also her greatest struggle. Though she loves her business and everything she does in the community, she has always sworn to never let it interfere with her family. If there’s a baseball game at the high school, then any work she has, can wait. If Tanya’s boys have a game, you can bet the ‘Hat Chic’ will be there in her sparkly hat cheering at home plate.
- Authored By Jessica Beckman