I challenge you Rogue Valley, to do a quick online search of outdoor hats. You won’t need to hunt for long before you discover a company called Sunday Afternoons.
Their hats are found in familiar and reputable stores like REI and L.L. Bean, but they are LOCAL. That’s right, 100% born and based in Southern Oregon. Headquartered in Talent, with a retail shop in Ashland, I was an immediate fan of this incredible company. When I say, “immediate fan,” I mean I bought four hats the first time I visited their website. True story.
What is it about them that’s so impressive? For starters, as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, they quickly procured 200,000 face masks for our regional hospitals. TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND. This company gives back to the local and global communities like no other. Sarah Sameh, CEO of Sunday Afternoons says, “We wouldn’t be in business if it wasn’t for our love of the outdoors.
Now more than ever, wild places need our help.” As a result of this mindset, they avidly support conservation of “the land, water, and skies that sustain us all” and donate to many local organizations. Among them: Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center (KS Wild), Southern Oregon Land Conservancy, Rogue Valley Farm to School, Bee Girl (see Bee Girl feature in the winter 2020 issue of Distinctly Northwest) and The Freshwater Trust. This company doesn’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk. In fact, they donated all online Earth Day sales (100%) to KS Wild, whose mission is to protect and restore wild nature in Northern California and Southern Oregon.
What else do I love about Sunday Afternoons? Their hats! Known for their innovative technical designs, Sunday Afternoons creates headwear that protects from any outdoor element. Most of their hats offer UPF 50+ sun protection and many are water-repellent and insulated with wide brims or protective neck capes.
My personal favorite are the beautiful Artist Series Trucker hats. Each one is the equivalent of wearing a work of art. Inspired by seasonal color palettes, each showcases a different artistic style like wood blocking, illustration or watercolor.
When my son and I wear ours (he has the “Shorebreak” and I have the “Mountain” style) we can hardly get out of the house before they are complimented. At the risk of sounding like a commercial, you need to see them to believe them.
The history of this humble, homegrown business began in a family garage. And it didn’t start with hats – it started with blankets. The “Adventure Blanket” sold out as fast as Robbin and Angeline Lacy could make them. They had so many fabric scraps from blankets, they decided to make them into hats. Business exploded and they shifted their focus to hats where it has remained ever since. It’s been 28 years since the Lacys founded Sunday Afternoons and today their children, who played on those original blankets, all have leadership roles in the company.
As they near their 30th Anniversary they are still a family-owned company, who most values the team of hard-working, optimistic people creating products to celebrate the outdoors and “enhance everyday adventure.” Sarah explains, “Family is incredibly important to us and that includes our employees, customers, partners, and suppliers around the world.”
They now have over 140 unique hat styles, can be found in 51 countries, and continue to receive accolades from leading global publications. Backpacker Magazine recently awarded its coveted Editors’ Choice Award to the “Adventure Storm Hat,” designed for the rainiest of weather. Sunday Afternoon hats have been featured in Outside Magazine, The New York Times, Gear Junkie and Runner’s World just to name a few of the notable places you can find them reviewed and recommended.
Sarah, who has been at the helm of the company since 2015, understands that “Along with unprecedented growth comes considerable responsibility—to take care of our employees, give back and protect wild places we love, and reduce the impact we have as a brand.” To that end, they collaborate continuously with vendors, third-party auditors, and industry organizations to lessen environmental impacts and improve employee well-being at their manufacturing facilities. They are proud members of both the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and are committed to making meaningful changes, whenever and wherever possible.
Did I mention the “Hold on to Your Hat” guarantee? As if I wasn’t already their biggest fan they went and guaranteed materials and workmanship on their hats FOR LIFE. Yep, you read that right. LIFE.
Sarah is grateful to the community and says, “Southern Oregon residents and businesses are incredibly loyal, and we wouldn’t be here without them.” That may be true, but only the best businesses earn our trust and respect. It’s easy to see why Sunday Afternoons is one of the best.