Hollywood movie inspires young Valley hat maker

CAVE CREEK, AZ - Sometimes watching a movie can change a life. It seems that's what happened to 30-year-old Eric Watson.

When he was 13, Watson fell in love with the fedora worn by Indiana Jones.

His mom drove him around to antique shops looking for old hats and Watson eventually made his own fedora.

Hat making was a hobby for many years, but the passion for the past won out and last year Watson opened his own hat shop in Cave Creek.

"I'm actually the youngest hat maker in the United States," he says. "I reached out to older hatters in the United States and I only found one out of several that would really talk to me because it's such a coveted trade, it's like a trade secret almost."

Using his hands and some machines dating back more than 100 years, Watson makes western, dress and Panama hats.

"There is a process to making a hat so that it lasts a lifetime," he says.

When people walk into Watson's Hat Shop he says many feel like they're walking into a museum.

"They're not just picking something off the rack. They're getting exactly what they want," he says. "It distinguishes the individual and who they are, it brings out their character without them ever saying anything. It brings out their character by what they're wearing."

Watson's custom hats range from $450-$750. After less than one year in business, he plans to expand this fall.

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