Markey Hutchinson, owner and designer of The Beaufort Bonnet Company, had always dreamed of dressing her daughter in the kind of classic bonnet she and her sister sported in their early years, but her search for the perfect style for her little one on the way proved surprisingly difficult.
“Every bonnet I found was really dressy and frilly but not practical,” Markey recalls. “I wanted something Betsey would be able to throw on for the pool or beach or show off on Easter morning.” By chance, in a photo of a friend’s baby, she spotted what she had been searching for—a pink gingham bonnet from a children’s store in Beaufort, South Carolina. The expectant mother obtained her own, and once Betsey arrived and began modeling the bonnet, Markey quickly realized others shared her instant affection for the piece. “Everywhere I went, women expecting babies, women with grandbabies, and even women who wanted grandbabies were asking where to get it,” she says.
After passing along a plethora of referrals, Markey, a native of Lexington, Kentucky, reached out to the store owners about teaming up, and in 2012, Markey bought the business from them. She renamed it to reflect its roots, despite her plans for development. “I always had intentions to add clothing and grow the brand, but wanted the name of the business to honor the bonnet that started it all,” she explains.
Since 2012, The Beaufort Bonnet Company has moved from a basement to a 2,500-square-foot office space in downtown Lexington—complete with a pink door. Clothing, swimwear, sleepwear, and accessories in seersucker and broadcloth have joined the original bonnet in the product lineup. “We offer classic styles and fabrics,” Markey says. “From bonnets and bucket hats to bloomer sets and Jon Jons, we have the sweetest looks for children that will continue to be in style year after year.
“I never imagined this little bonnet would build our company to where we are today,” Markey continues. “We truly love and value our customers, we love what we do, and that seems to have taken us a long way.”
For information, visit thebeaufortbonnetcompany.com.
Discover inspiring style ideas, seasonal recipes, and more by ordering your Southern Lady subscription today!