Traveling With a Hat Is a Struggle, So This Brand Set Out to Change It
Even after losing a beloved hat on my honeymoon (after it was unceremoniously destroyed in the overhead compartment), I hadn't thought to travel with a hat box. The idea seemed glamorous and old-worldly. Maybe it was for Hollywood stars who have entourages to carry their luggage sets, but for a regular 30-something on the go with her husband in the airport, it was a luxury and losing a hat in transit was just the price I paid for overpacking.
I imagine that's what lots of modern women think. If you pack a hat on a trip, you're either stuck wearing it (at all times) or shoving it above or under your seat at your own risk. Enter Freya, the San Francisco-based hat case brand with a duo of smart, stylish women behind it, who are out to change all that. Friends, adventure-seekers, and hat-lovers Linsay Radcliffe and Lindsay McConnon bonded as they struggled to find a case that could house their hats and all their carry-on essentials. After experimenting with vintage hat boxes that left something to be desired (namely room for the rest of their stuff), they meticulously developed their own prototype and partnered with family-owned manufacturers in Italy.
Soon, Freya was born — a lineup of both full-size hat cases, designed with enough room for your laptop, your magazines, and your whole weekend wardrobe, if you please, as well as mini cases that double as chic handbags. Handmade in Tuscany with Italian leathers and custom brass hardware, they've reimagined the glamour of hat boxes with an eye for luxury and the elements to make them truly functional.
Read on to learn more straight from the savvy women at the helm of Freya, then check out the beautiful designs to shop for yourself.
POPSUGAR: How did Freya come about? Who is the Freya customer/woman?
Linsay Radcliffe: I had been searching for a travel case for my hats for years and had resorted to using a vintage option that I bought on eBay. It wasn't ideal since I also needed to carry another large tote for my laptop, reading materials, and travel essentials. I wanted a beautiful, crossbody bag that protected my hats, stored my travel essentials, and kept my hands free.
Lindsay McConnon: We call the Freya woman a "fashionable nomad." She likes to bring her style on the road. Maybe she loves hats and maybe she has yet to discover them, but she embraces adventure and stands out from the crowd. Many of our customers have already found their love of hats and use them to protect their skin so that they can enjoy the outdoors without worry about sun exposure.
PS: How have your own bags changed the way you pack and travel?
LR: I used to bring just one hat on my trips, and it was probably an affordable option that I didn't mind getting ruined in an overhead compartment. I had many beautiful hats but they were always left behind! With my Freya case, I'm able to bring four hats. Therefore, I can pack different styles to match back to different outfits and events. I also loving collecting hats on my travels now since I know that I have a way to get them back to US safely.
PS: Aside from the obvious hats, how else are you packing the cases? What would you tell a woman who thinks hat boxes are a thing of the past?
LM: I like to pack all of my travel essentials in my Freya bag, especially when I have a checked bag that could possibly get mishandled en route. My laptop, iPad, and chargers are always inside, along with my copy of The Week and Vogue. I usually have Advil, eye drops, ear plugs, and an eye mask because you never know when you may be able to steal a nap on the plane. I also pack my jewelry and sunglasses in the accessory pockets, because I would never want to worry that they'd be stolen in a checked bag. Lastly, I have extra underwear, a bikini, and flip-flops so that I could enjoy my trip for a day even without my suitcase.
LR: If a woman thinks that hat boxes are a thing of the past, she has obviously never seen a Freya bag or realized that a hat is the best way to preserve her beautiful skin from sun damage and premature aging! I used to have the brown patches of melasma on my face, and now that I wear hats everywhere, my skin problems have been completely corrected. Our Freya cases allow women to fall in love with hats again and to stand out from the crowd. They are beautiful objects d'art that meet the needs of the modern female explorer.
PS: Who are your current style icons and who do you imagine using your products?
LM: We developed Freya with style icons like Amal Clooney, Lupita Nyong'o, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Diane Kruger, and Sienna Miller in mind. These are women who spend a lot of time on the road, who each have their own unique sense of style and always dress with flair, often sporting beautiful hats.
We imagine women using our products come from all over the world. We plan to launch the brand internationally in early 2018 after we get it off the ground in the US. We are intentionally selling the products directly to customers instead of through other retailers so that we can provide a true luxury product for a more accessible price. We hope that women in their 20s will buy a Freya Poppy hat case to own and treasure over the next decades of her life. And we know that there are women like our mothers who look at their retirement years and would like to travel all over the world and to visit their children and grandchildren with their hats in tow.