Westmeath beef farmer Karen Elliffe started making her own hats as a hobby. However, it quickly turned into a sideline business that has grown organically.
“I never intended it to become a business. First and foremost I’m a farmer and always will be. Millinery is a nice hobby in the evenings when I get a chance,” the former Queen of the Land told Irish Country Living.
“If I was trying to have something to go with an outfit it was more personable to do it myself. There are so many fabulous milliners in Ireland. But I don’t have a lot of time to be looking for hats to match an outfit.”
Last year, Karen missed the National Ploughing Championships as she was attending an intensive one-on-one millinery course with Aoife Kirwan in Mountrath. So she is looking forward to spending a few days at the Ploughing this year.
Karen will be giving a millinery demonstration in the Irish Country Living lounge at the ploughing at 2.30pm on Wednesday. There will be a display of Karen Elliffe Millinery pieces that are available to rent or purchase also.
“There’s a couple I made at the very start that I will never say goodbye to. Certain colours and materials are pretty popular. There is a headband design that people rent off me for races and weddings,” says Karen.
“I’ll have all of my hats at the Ploughing. There are six different materials and I’ll have a sample of each of those. I’ll have an example of each of the attachments I can put with them such as bows and flowers. We’ll talk about the shape of the hats and every stage of the hat making process will be shown.”