Did you know that in Southern Italy a red pepper is seen as a lucky charm? That’s what we found out whilst interviewing Nadine Winckers, the founder of Red Pepper Hats,
a small company based in Northern Italy. Red Pepper Hats makes beautiful limited edition hats and accessories using millinery techniques.
Nadine, who is a trained pilot, left the Netherlands to follow her husband to Northern Italy. It was here that she followed her passion …
Red Pepper Hats are made with the best quality of materials and extra attention is paid to detail and comfort…
Enjoy reading the interview and feel free to visit her website here
Would you mind introducing yourself and your brand to our readers?
My name is Nadine Winckers, I live in a small village on Lago Maggiore in northern Italy. A few years ago I founded Red Pepper Hats which started as a hobby and slowly became my daytime work. At my home ateliers I design and create custom made hats & accessories for women and children.
I choose Red Pepper Hats as the name for my company because in Southern Italy red peppers or peperoncini are considered not only beautiful but bring you good luck.
What was your background prior to starting Red Pepper Hats?
I come from a creative family and at a young age my mum taught me to knit, crochet and sew. I remember her sewing machine always being on the kitchen table and I spent many afternoons making little projects. Despite my creative childhood I ended up choosing a completely different path in life. I studied to become an Airline pilot and had a job with an UK based company for 10 years. While pregnant with our first child I had to stay home from work and it was then that I started creating again.
What got you started working in children’s fashion?
Having 3 children lead me initially into creating/designing all sorts of baby goods. I knitted and crocheted lots of hats, scarfs and booties. Once the children were a bit older I made soft toys, felt birthday crowns and indian headdresses (which you can still find in my shop today). As I am a hat lover I naturally started making more and more headwear. At a certain point I wanted to create something different than the usual knitted/ crochet hats so I came up with the idea to make millinary hats in children sizes. In 2010 I enrolled in a milinary course at the St. Martins school in London and since then I have been creating different headwear for women and children. In 2012 I opened my online shop on etsy.
Do you have children?
I have 3 children, two girls age 10 and 9 and a boy who is 7.
What has changed in your life since you became a mother?
Becoming a mum has completely changed my life. My children are the most important thing to me and although it is a huge responsibility, parenting and guiding them through life has given me so much satisfaction and happiness. I have learnt to become more patient and tolerant not only towards my own children but in life in general.
What is the best thing about being a mother?
Experiencing childhood again through the eyes of my kids.
What is your advice for new mums?
Sleep when you can, enjoy the moment and don’t focus too much on the unimportant little things in life. • How do you combine motherhood and work? I am fortunate to be able to work from home. When the children are at school I work and once they are back home I try to dedicate most of my time to them. If I have lots of orders I also work once the children are in bed.
How do you make sure everything is in balance (work, family, friends)?
It is a difficult task and it is not always perfectly in balance. During busy times such as christmas my husband and friends often take the children out for a few hours so I can concentrate on my work. I keep our family balanced by being as stress free as possible, exercising and a healthy diet help keep this possible.
What do you feel makes your work unique?
I see my designs as elegant with a quirky touch. You can see my Dutch background in my love of strong bold colors. And the Italian influence in my softer more romantic designs.
What’s your favorite design from your current line?
I love the red hat with a rose on the side for mums and daughters.
What are some essentials that every child should have in their closet / toyroom?
I have 3 completely different children with their own way of dressing. I try my best to buy them clothes they like and feel comfortable in and show off their own personalities. I would say the essentials are to have good quality underwear and shoes. And for playing I provide lots of building toys, like Lego and craft supplies.
Where do you shop for you children?
We don’t live too far from Milan so once in a while we go there for shopping. I prefer the smaller boutiques over the big brand names. •
If one of our readers is in your city, Angera, Italy for 24 hours What things would you recommend they do?
The best time to visit Angera, which is a small town, is definitely spring or summer. There is a castle to visit, with beautiful views over the lake and a beach for swimming. Otherwise I would suggest taking a boat trip to the Borromean Islands on Lago Maggiore! And of course there are lots of great restaurants for a delicious meal.
Website Red Pepper Hats: redpepperhats.com