FAIRFIELD, CT — Last year, Allyson Mandelbaum went shopping for a hat.
The busy Fairfield mom envied her husband’s ability to simply throw on a ball cap and look put together. She searched for a baseball-style hat that she liked, but found most were too big or featured team names or other logos.
“I felt like they were all made to fit men,” she said.
Mandelbaum decided that if she couldn’t find a ball cap she wanted to wear, she would make one. With that, her business, Shady Lady, was born.
After months designing hats and testing samples, Mandelbaum launched Shady Lady’s website in June.
“I wanted them to be fun and bright colors, and kind of a little in your face,” said Mandelbaum, who described her hats as a fashion-forward option for women who want a cute, casual cap.
Her most popular offering is called the Peaceful Lady, a camouflage hat with a peace sign on the front. Other options include the Leopard Lady, with leopard print; the Starry Lady, with blue tie-dye and rhinestone stars; and Mandelbaum’s original cap, the Shady Lady, which has a navy wave pattern and a pink palm tree on the front. Many of her designs are also available in matching children’s hats.
“It’s been selling great,” she said, adding customers are happy with the fit and many have bought multiple caps.
Mandelbaum, who worked in television production before starting Shady Lady, has committed to giving a percentage of her business’s sales every year to clean up Fairfield’s beaches.
In addition to the Shady Lady website, Mandelbaum’s hats are sold on Amazon, as well as in-store at all nine Shoe-Inn locations across the Tri-State Area, and, most recently, at Groove children’s boutique, which has stores in Westport and New Canaan. Mandelbaum hopes to see Shady Lady continue to expand its reach and become available at other retailers.
For more information, visit shopshadylady.com.