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Sherri Hrycay, a hat maker and the owner of Sova Design in Saskatoon.
Sherri Hrycay, a hat maker and the owner of Sova Design in Saskatoon.

Grow: Mia Pearson

Hat maker tells a good story Add to ...

Just as the clothes we wear can make a powerful statement about who we are, the same is true for what our communications practices say about our businesses.

So I was inspired recently when I heard about Sherri Hrycay, a Saskatoon-based milliner whose approach to communications is as unique as the hats she makes.

I write a lot about the power of a strong digital marketing campaign, but that doesn’t for a second take away from the importance of integrating savvy traditional tactics into everyday communications.

Take Ms. Hrycay, for example. As a hat maker and the owner of Sova Design, she has done everything she can to elevate her craft – she even travelled to Britain to study with Rose Cory, hat designer for the late Queen Mother.

Ms. Hrycay’s motive for studying with Ms. Cory was purely professional: she wanted to ensure she had all the training and experience to make beautiful, original fashion pieces. But she also knew she had a great story to tell, so she shared it with her local paper.

“After this happened, I started getting more and more phone calls,” Ms. Hrycay says humbly, adding she has since developed a strong relationship with the local news organization and she is now often written about or quoted as a thought leader in fashion stories. “The local reporter has been so good to me. Every season she’ll interview me … and she likes to follow along with my career.”

Ms. Hrycay frequently travels for shows, and this month she received her first invitation to participate in Vancouver Fashion Week – a major achievement.

Her hand-crafted hats align with her very traditional approach to communications. “I’m old school,” she says. “I’m really about appreciating every tiny detail, and that’s how I communicate and that’s how I run my business.

“Anybody who has helped me out, like a graphic designer, or a photographer, or a reporter, is not just someone I’ve worked with – they become my friends. I’m extremely loyal to anyone who is loyal to me.”

It seems like a simple thing: business owners know they need to be able to articulate their brand promise in a compelling way if they are going to grab the attention of their audience. But Ms. Hrycay does it with such warmth and passion that she has naturally created an honest and effective communications plan.

She says she believes the best response she will ever get from her audience is if her message is delivered in person, she never leaves home without a beautiful hat on, and she fully invests herself in creating long-standing, mutually beneficial relationships.

This has garnered Sova Design a respectable amount attention in a short period of time, and with a royal wedding that I’m sure will be full of beautiful hats just around the corner, I expect that attention will only grow.

What Ms. Hrycay teaches us is this: no matter how small or unique your offering is, you always have a story to tell.

Special to The Globe and Mail

Mia Pearson is president of the Canadian region for Fleishman-Hillard Canada and its sister company, High Road Communications. She has more than two decades of experience in creating and growing award-winning communications agencies. Her experience spans many sectors, including financial, technology, consumer and lifestyle. She works in partnership with her clients to build brands, mitigate risk and shape communications strategies.

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Follow on Twitter: @miapearson

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