We present our Fall/Winter '20 collection with the help of our friends, Erin and Willee of Hampui Hats. Hampui Hats has been guided by the Quecha principle of “Ayni;” a relation between beings of sacred reciprocity, where the system is in a balance of give and take. Umber & Ochre shares a similar value system stemming from childhood and leads with a similar saying from childhood –– "You give some and take some. There is enough for everyone."
We invite you into Hampui's special world where Umber & Ochre looks and feels right at home.
Hampui Hats was founded in 2015 by creator, Willee Roberts who works alongside Erin Berman, Head of Brand/Retail. Over the course of this past year, the couple have struck a harmonic balance of living and working.
Tell us a bit about the origins of Hampui Hats?
Hampui Hats was founded in 2015 by Willee Roberts. Raised in Berkeley, California, Willee’s earliest childhood memory was sneaking into his father's closet to play with his great-grandfather's old white hat. While living in Peru when he was 18, he again saw the transformative power of the hat as a tool for personal growth and transformation. The idea for Hampui Hats was born. Since its inception, Hampui Hats has been guided by the Quecha principle of “Ayni;” a relation between beings of sacred reciprocity, where the system is in a balance of give and take. Hampui means "Soul of mine, Return to me" in Quechua –– the language spoken by Willee's first hat-making mentor in Bolivia. We believe that hats can be tools for transformation, serving as a vehicle to call back all the pieces of our Being and help heal our Relation to one another.
What is your favorite part of running your own business? Least favorite?
My favorite part of running a business is having the agency to structure the business in a way that reflects my personal values. My least favorite part is that our current system is not set up to support small businesses.
How do you balance work and life together (most especially this year)?
Before the pandemic our lives were hectic with a lot of travel and hustle. Having some degree of schedule for the first time in many years has been helpful. Many of our sourcing trips, festivals and craft fairs were cancelled so we’ve had more time to be in artistic flow and get things done that we had on the back burner. We’ve been able to spend less time on planes and sink into routine.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration from the indigenous artisans, metalsmiths, leather workers, weavers, and beaders that I get to work with and the design elements of my hats. We also get inspired every time we travel and come back with new ideas, materials and relations.
When you're not working, how do you fill your time?
We enjoy being outside, hot springs, good food, cooking for and hosting our loved ones for gatherings, travel, meditation, prayer and ceremony.
What is your morning ritual?
We’re big morning cuddlers. Then we start our day with hot water with lemon. Willee moves on to coffee and reading the news, while Erin meditates, does her morning practice, and makes celery juice. We always get some kind of workout or movement in –– yoga, bike ride, hike, trail run or morning ocean swim. We are blessed to live in a beautiful place.
Do you have a story about how you met?
Erin was my first customer at my first hat shop inside The Perish Trust. She walked in while the paint was still drying on the walls. She wanted a simple black hat and when I explained the medicine hat process she returned with her own - the last bit of red string gifted to her from a teacher she had studied with in an ashram in India. We wrapped the string around the hat and I knew she was a keeper. There’s more to that story but we’ll save it for another time.
Has the year inspired any new hobbies or change in routines?
We used to spend so much time every month traveling. Erin was on a plane almost every week. Now we spend more time together at home – with home cooked farmer’s market meals and plenty of time to meditate, exercise and do the things we love. We are digging deeper into our anti-racism work, planting a garden, learning how we can be better humans living on the planet and going out to Bolinas to surf. Our life is slower now and we love it.
What is something you can't live without?
What brings you joy?
Spending time outdoors. Cooking big meals and bringing together the people we love for celebration and prayer.
A favorite sound, taste and smell.
My favorite smells are cedar and Agua de Florida. Erin loves salty ocean water, chanting and persimmons.
Erin’s super green smoothie.
- 1 cup fresh or frozen organic mango
- 1 fresh organic date
- 1 cup fresh organic spinach
- 1 T. spirulina powder
- 1 T. barley grass powder
- 1 T. adaptogen plant protein
- 1 t. plant-based collagen powder
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Few ice cubes
- Favorite oat or nut milk
Blend on high until creamy, serve in a bowl topped with hemp seeds and Goji berries.
What is the best thing you’ve read recently? Do you have a favorite book that you recommend?
Erin went to grad school for creative writing and there are books stacked all over the house. Recently she enjoyed On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong, and The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein. For poetry she goes back to Claudia Rankine’s Don’t Let Me Be Lonely, and Rose: Poems by Li-Young Lee.
Don’t hesitate on your life. Do the things you want to do now. Take the trip, hug your mom, propose to the love of your life.
My father’s parting words –– Life is magic.