My name is Julie Persons, and I’m the maker behind Chicks in Hats. I work out of my family’s old farm in central Maine.
I have always been a photographer; I received my first camera when I was 10 years old, and immediately began taking photos of everyone and everything around me. As I grew older, I realized I was especially drawn to smaller creatures. The inspiration for Chicks in Hats came in 2011, when my 7-year-old daughter made tiny hats for our pet gerbils — then our pet chicks — and asked me to take photos of them. We had so much fun that we are now in our fourth year of photographing the chicks together.
Baby chicks are only small for a few days each spring, so the time spent photographing them is brief. We enjoy the process immensely – my daughter puts the hats on the chicks and jumps out of the shot while I try to shoot the photo as quickly as possible. It’s challenging to capture the moment, since it usually only lasts for a second before the hats fall to the ground or are flung off in a rather rapid and unpredictable manner. When we actually get the shot, we feel victorious and we celebrate together.
The rest of the year is spent making magnets, note cards, jewelry and other items using the images. I create the rigid magnets and jewelry at home, while the paper items like note cards, photo prints, and calendars are custom printed. People often ask me where I get the tiny hats for my chicks. My daughter and I make some of the hats by needle felting and sewing, and some of them are vintage Barbie doll hats I’ve found online and in antique shops. I also buy hats from artists who craft miniature millinery for dollhouses – those fit the chicks perfectly!
I feel grateful for the chance to work with my daughter on this project. By watching Chicks in Hats evolve and grow, my children see firsthand that it’s possible to do something you love and make a living. My daughter receives a percentage of calendar sales as payment for her work, and she helps with labeling packages as well.
I’ve been on Etsy since 2006, and I now have four active shops including Chicks in Hats. Etsy has helped me to connect with such an amazing community of artisans, and I cannot express how much support and inspiration I gain from my fellow sellers. It has also provided me with an excellent outlet for showcasing my work to wholesale clients, and I value the relationships I have established with a number of gift shops as a result. Etsy allows me to support my family, and be home with my children doing the work that makes my heart happiest.
All photographs by Chicks in Hats.