Photo by: Phashinjunky

Photo by: Phashinjunky

Anxiously standing in front of what seemed to be your average, Northeast Portland residential home, the door opened. With his beard screaming PNW comfort, wearing shoes of the athletic supreme, & a welcoming facial expression, he introduced himself as Jimmy. We swapped intros & exchanged the tip of the hats, as Jimmy graciously invites me in. Before I got the chance to take a gander, 3 beautiful 4-legged creatures greeted me with a strong & loving presence. Almost like this had been rehearsed for months, each dog strived in strategic mechanisms for making sure I knew that this interview, will involve the 3 amigos. From Gator, with superior kisses you can’t reject, to Ladybird standing at a close second with glaring-jealous eyes that will melt your soul. Then theres precious Ruca, a gentle giant with silence so golden, you can’t help but drop everything you’re doing. 

Now trying solely not to surrender to the forces of puppy love, I turn my attention back on Jimmy, who's now stepping through a door into a garage. For what generally stores family automobiles, dad’s never-used tools, even cherished “with-come-age” toys & trinkets, is now storing Jimmy's full throttle gem, a 5-speed Machine that needs more than the "wax on/wax off" treatment, & a polished squad ready to tackle anything in its way. For putting the pieces together, Jimmy is the inevitable Jimmy Hickey. Not only the brains & founder, but he eats, sleeps, even shares his home with his prize possession FINDLAY HATS;  A Epic Hat & Apparel company thriving on a unique snapback, while ranging from beanies to graphic tee’s. even with a upcoming women's line in the making, all of this isn't what sets the bar for Findlay. With over 600 styles, not only does this particular team have the Headgear steez on lock, but Findlay Hats takes the phrase "Hold On to your Hats," into heights a huge company like ZUMIEZ had to be apart of. 

Now knowing this wasn’t your average house, garage, now even hat, this company grasped something that would take a outdoor voyager & their love for the snapback to the next level. It was plain & simple. Even in your most wild sporting/ outdoor event, the laces are there for you to never worry about your hat falling off. When the laces aren't keeping you & your hat together forever, they fashionably rest on the bill, making a statement & staple in the hat fashion era. While this brand make dreams come true to the vigorous outdoors athletes & explorers, it completely fits the Pacific Northwest motto. 

"...Findlay [Hats] was just a Side Project." Jimmy

Photo by: Findlay Hats

Photo by: Findlay Hats

Now for most people who live their lives in pro sports, outdoor activities, or hat enthusiasts always come to major issues with sportin' headgear, while participating in sporting events. For Jimmy, in 2003, it would all stop there. For he decided to excel to a extreme by adding laces, a patch, &  some dedicated fury to his snapback, only to create what is still today, the only snapback in the game to let you continue on your craziest outdoor adventures, while keeping your love for headgear alive. For once a dope photographer ranging from bad ass action shots with our Portland Big Boys, to making families proud shooting senior portraits, Jimmy now wears hats of all trades. From designer to customer service rep, to photographer & sales enthusiast. Giving everything emotionally, physically, & financially, Jimmy decided to share with the world, that losing another hat from dwelling in the heart of mother nature didn’t have to be a problem anymore.

" 90% of my time consists in this garage..."  

Still fathoming over how this crew keeps the portland spirit alive by operating in this garage, I finally stepped in, now fully aware that every square inch of this garage is used for the sole purpose of Findlay Hats. From organized buckets of multi-colored laces, to sick DIY back drops, everywhere I turned was another amazing step into making what over 17,000 people onInstagram go for. As my head slowly comes down from hat heaven, I Lock my eyes on Tyler. Another Bearded & stylish gent, his role in this Squad is Findlay's Instafamous Sponsor guru & Sales machine. With over 23,000 social media followers & a supreme true passion & dedication to Findlay, he instantly showed true appreciation & gratitude towards his duties here. From once just being a Super Fan to getting a remarkable chance to work besides Jimmy, he surprised everyone making unbelievable sales that even Jimmy couldn't believe. Not knowing many companies that reaches out to fans hands on, In Findlay's Case, it was very beneficial.

Photo by: Phashinjunky

Photo by: Phashinjunky

"I dropped everything and moved here for Findlay... The hardest decisions for me was figuring out with to do with my stuff.  I committed to Jimmy & Findlay Hats from day one." Tyler

After Tyler explained how they finished a huge order, I was shocked. For everything had a home, and every nook & cranny had a story. The Garage was breathtaking. Then it hits me.  This is exactly why this Findlay Hats,  gets to be in over 35 Locations at Zumiez. And being the Hand-ons stars they are, not only did they create a collection just for them, but from state 2 state reached out to different Zumiez locations, teaching peers about Findlay, what they stand for, and giving much props to thenow sub family that continues to put them on the map. Maybe your a realist, a person who needs solid proof of something with this much praise. Of course they also have that covered. check out the strong clique that puts Findlay Hats to the ultimate test. They are called the Findlay Force. From #1 in the world ranked Flyboarders, out of this world skateboarders & Skydivers to boss ass musicians, these men & women have Findlay's back 110%. with culture, extraordinary passion, and a product that talks the talk and walks the walk, Findlay Hats are just as needed to us, as we are to them.

While discussing how they became a brand of such a supreme, grabbing some BTS shots, and realizing that the dogs were in fact having their 10min of fame, 3 more members of this Portland team arrived. First there's Sarah; the Bad ass with some mad sewing skills, wearing the Co-founder & Seamstress crown.  Nick Hammond, the suave designer & Art Director pops in, followed by Krystle, the fashion forecaster that knows her shit & killing it managing the upcoming exciting new collection for the thriving women. I was now surrounded by the sole core of Findlay. It was hard not to notice how comfortable they were around each other. To not only eat sleep, work, unwind and socialize with one another, seeing them communicate smoothly, backing each other up, and finishing each other sentences seemed like only a dream for any squad goal. It was clear that whatever they're doing, they're doing it right.

" We somehow find our inspirations work together..." KRYSTLE

Photo by: Phashinjunky

Photo by: Phashinjunky

I decided to then dig individually and asked each team player, what inspired them. From anyone to anything, I wanted to know what motivation got their creative juices flowing. It didn't come to a surprise that each of them had a amazing story behind with different elements of people, settings,  and experiences that activated their thinking caps to continue being #1. 

JIMMY: "...Cyrcle! My boys, they are real freaking artist. Being around them for a half hour and you can see they are on a different level. Their Artwork is fascinating."

NICK : "I kinda turned my back on the Art World, I went to school for design for about 2 years before i had to submit a portfolio,and it got to the point where your work was being judge by the not in the field doing anything. Getting sick of that shit and doing Art for themselves then grabbing degrees in other realms. Seeing artist on interviews saying they "hate" when other artist do things is subjective. Not having a single artist, I enjoy seeing the Malloy Brothers. Pro surfers that got into climbing, and they do a really good job showing how to push your own boundaries, and they continue to do whatever they want." 

SARAH: "... Everything around me gives me inspiration.  I look at everything, even taking my old pieces of clothing, its hard to pin point inspirations as a seamstress."


KRYSTLE: " Me & her [Sarah] carry a notebook, and when theres anything relevant were jotting it down for now or later. That also brings the functionality of it all. If we were using this item right now, how do we want it to look, or how do we wanna feel wearing it. Drawing a lot from nature, even our color story we get from everything around us..."

As different as their inspirations were, its all seemed to make sense of what Findlay truly stands for. This crew has given their life to continue a brand that already sells itself. For this average Northeast Portland residential home is home to The hat that will be with you on those new and exciting adventures, and with a guarantee from the homies themselves, and the thousands of people right behind them. As I Walk away, now being another member of the following family, Its clear to me that wearing this hat not only shows style & security, but as it accompany's me on my next adventure her in the Pacific north west, its doing my part to stay & live local. 

Keep up with Findlay:

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And other Portland designers Evanem 


Article by Justin Flowers