Meet the Maker series is back! And we are so excited to be starting out with this brand, Paso Robles Mom. Read how this mom turned a creative hobby into a brand, and how she stays inspired to live each day to the fullest after a health scare. Be right back, on my way to get some custom trucker hats!
Tell us a little about your brand:
Summer: My name is Summer Batlle. I'm married to an incredibly talented and loving man, Christopher. We have two very spirited kids Sebastian, 6 and Stella, 4. They are full of spunk and keep us laughing (and earning grey hairs!) I realized that being at home with them, taking them to school, sports and physically and emotionally being there for them was the most important role for me. I sold my beautiful day spa in Laguna Beach after owning it for more than 15 years (I commuted to Laguna Beach from Paso Robles, a 5-hour drive, for 6 years). I hoped selling the spa would allow me several years of "just" focusing on being a mom. The sale of my business fell apart and I found myself without any income for the first time in my life. I worried about our mortgage, our home, and our kids future. At the same time in March 2016, I was given a trucker hat as a gift and I loved it. I wanted another but was on a non-earning budget to splurge. I hoped to express how I felt that day with a cool hat. I wanted to make my friends and family laugh. I made my first trucker hat in May 2016 using an old iron and a borrowed silhouette machine in my guest bedroom. My husband liked it and asked for one. Then my son. Then a friend.
Quickly, a hobby I was having a blast with presented itself as an opportunity to make custom hats for others. Why should I be the only one with endless bad ass hats? I still worried about the income our family needed in order to keep our home. I had zero expectations that my previous spa salary would ever be matched. I was shocked by the requests constantly coming in from people like me that love hats. Making custom hats while staying at home, being present for my children and husband and having fun all at the same time while creating something very special for others is a dream come true. I started this business to help other people express themselves with custom, meaningful trucker hats. No minimum order is required so any stroke of genius, silliness, gratitude or celebration is welcome.
What makes Paso Robles Mom unique from other brands out there?:
S: I am able to help someone turn an idea into an actual trucker hat that's custom to them. Most of my orders come from people with an idea that need or want my help into creating something unique. The client can be as involved as they would like to be in the creative process. I'm eager to make this fun for them. I can do it all or let them take the lead. I realize being able to express yourself is a gift. Wearing your mind on your head is freeing. A hat makes a wonderful present, a memorable keepsake, a great bachelorette party favor, wedding party favor or just a way to speak out loud without saying a word. Trucker hats are fun to wear any time of the year. My customers range from 1 to 94. Children, men, and women love having handmade trucker hats to call their own!
My turn around time is lightening fast so even though they are custom I'm quick to deliver their creation. There is a lot of freedom in creating and I have almost endless options for people to pick from.
I know it's probably impossible but, describe your "typical" day for us:
S: I don't know if there's truly a typical day. Having my daughter in preschool a few days a week for a few hours leaves my days filled with uncertainty. I've learned to go with the flow and work as I'm able. On an ideal day, I drop my son and daughter off at their schools and speedily head home to make progress on orders. I turn on country music, make a delicious shake and head into my "office." I work in stages: Design on the computer, prep materials, press hats, tag and bag them and then coordinate the hats getting to their new homes. Uninterrupted I can get a lot accomplished from 8:30-12:30. Some days my best friend picks up my daughter from school and she has a play date so I can continue to create until picking up my son at 2. After that, my hat work day is unusually over and my mom and wife work begin!
What is something you wish you could go back and tell your early entrepreneur self?:
S: I'd advise myself to slow down and not put unnecessary pressure on myself. I like to work. I love to be creative. I used to feel the need to get every order completed immediately. Now I'm okay with balancing orders coming in, work days, play days, family time and 'me' time.
I was told in December of 2016 there was a mass in my colon and the doctors feared the biopsy was inconclusive. I fought for a month to get to all the right doctors and had dozens of tests performed. I had colon resection surgery last week at USC and on Thursday, January 26th I was told it was cancer. My surgeon said he was confident he was successful in removing the entire tumor. This Tuesday my deepest wishes came true. He did get all the cancer out. My lymph is clear of cancer and I'm being given another chance at a healthy life. I'm still healing and I'm taking it easy. I can't stop working on hats. That's how I know I love this business and I belong creating. I've prepped about a dozen hats since I came home Sunday (6 days ago from today). I just can't use the heat press yet. I think I've learned so much over the past month. I value this lesson, God, love, my health, my family, my friends and my business. I am blessed. I'm passionate and hopeful about my family's and business' future. I'm so happy to be here, be cancer free and be creating again already.
Anything exciting we should know about???:
S: Our guest room is currently being remodeled into a modern, efficient and beautiful hat design studio. My husband has just laid hardwood floors, installed new baseboard, trim and painted all the walls and ceiling. He's building a custom closet as I type this to store the thousand hats I keep in stock and all my bags, boxes and store supplies. He decided to remodel our guest bedroom after working with me for two days, two weeks ago (as I was waiting for my surgery date). I was asked by a local mother that lost her 17-year-old daughter, Shelby in a tragic car accident to make 200 custom hats for her celebration of life. I considered declining as I was emotionally stretched and trying to prepare for surgery but felt this family needed me to help create lasting keepsakes to remember a very incredible young lady. I had four days to get the project done so my mom, my husband, my best friend and my kids poured our hearts into making celebratory hats. We worked around the clock and completed this painfully beautiful order. Her service was absolutely beautiful and I was honored to make custom hats for her family and friends.
Today, I can't wait to create in my new space. Every person that's ordered a hat will be a part of my new PasoRoblesMom hat studio. It's because of others believing in me and trusting me that I've come this far. It's been a beautiful journey to date. I feel the best is yet to come. I plan to keep creating from home, designing custom trucker hats, raise my beautiful kids, start traveling a little more and take each day for the gift it truly is.
Shop Paso Robles Mom now at www.PasoRoblesMom.com.
Bee social and follow Paso Robles Mom: