“We focus on the Internet, because that’s how people find us.”Robert Morgan
For Georgiette Morgan-Thomas, the hat is more than a fashion item. ”I grew up seeing it as a symbol of confidence and empowerment,” she says. Georgiette was raised by her grandparents in Mobile, Alabama, in the mid-1900s. Her grandmother, an active force in the civil rights movement, was an avid hat-wearer herself. “She’s the one who got me wearing them at an early age and gave me my sense of confidence,” Georgiette shares. Today, Georgiette owns over a hundred different hats. And in 2015, when the S & S Hat Company in Philadelphia announced its imminent closure, she put off retirement and purchased the factory to share her passion with the world. “I refused to let it close, and I assured my employees that I would fight to keep it alive,” she recalls. Together with her son, Robert Morgan, she founded American Hats shortly thereafter, manufacturing and selling stylish hats for all occasions.
In 2016, American Hats launched their first e-commerce website and began using AdWords, Google’s advertising program, to reinvigorate their business. “People all over find us online now,” says Robert, noting that online sales have grown from 10 percent of their business to nearly half since starting AdWords. Google Analytics equips the company with the insights to “better understand customers, see how they react to new designs, and identify opportunities for growth,” he adds. And G Suite tools, such as Docs and Drive, enable the team to collaborate across their multiple locations. “It doesn’t matter if Robert is in New York and I’m at the factory. We can use Google tools to get work done,” Georgiette explains. “It’s very, very helpful.”
American Hats has nearly doubled their number of annual customers since going online. “People are just flying through the door now, and we’re even shipping across the country,” exclaims Georgiette. They have expanded their hand-made offerings to include options for men and children, all of which is good news for their workers. “Our employees have been with this factory for 20 to 30 years. They're the original team that made S & S Hat so outstanding in the first place,” she says proudly. To keep the art of hat-making alive, the company has also started a summer program for students interested in learning the craft. “My hope is to generate more interest and to train people so that they have jobs they enjoy,” Georgiette shares. “Small businesses like ours are what keeps revenue flowing throughout our community. They’re the adhesive that pulls us all together."