I’ll be the first to admit I have a major custom bonnet obsession. There’s something about a pretty horse hat that just makes my soul smile. The problem for me has always been price: $100+ is a pretty tough pill to swallow. On the other hand, I’m really particular about the right materials and fit and colors, so just any ol’ off the rack bonnet won’t do. Then last year I discovered FireFly Bonnets and suddenly the possibilities were endless.
I started off buying one bonnet as a present for a friend, to match a custom baby pad that I’d had made for her. I fell so in love with the workmanship and attention to detail that before I knew it I had 4 of my own with plans for more. Because bonnets are like potato chips (or ponies): you can’t have just one. I’ve had bonnets from the well known “big name” brands before, and I have to say that the quality of the FireFly bonnets is, IMO, better. Plus you have all the same options for custom sizing, ear embroidery, embellishments, etc at a substantially lower cost.
Prices start at $55 for a basic bonnet, and increase with added options. Cording is $10 per row, rhinestones are $15 per row, custom beading is $20 per row, plain scallops are $5, scallops with crystals in center are $10, ear embroidery is $10. She can even embroider a logo on the bonnet for $10-20. Custom size ears are no additional charge, which is great for people like me who have both a little-eared creature and a donkey-eared creature… they each can have something made to fit perfectly without that excess ear fabric that makes me so batty.
New bonnet styles are still being added to the store, so if you don’t see what you’re looking for shoot them a message and they can definitely help you out. Nicole is fantastic (and so patient!) about working with you to design exactly what you want. She can even make mock-ups if you’re stuck trying to choose between a few different colors/designs. In my experience she really is dedicated to designing and producing an item that is perfect for you and that you will be happy with for many years to come. Keep in mind that as with all custom items, beautiful things take time, so allow up to 6 weeks until delivery. The good news is that if you DO need something in a hurry, they can make it happen for a small rush fee.
Nicole at FireFly was kind enough to give us a little more insight into her business:
1) When did you start this business?
I have been making bonnets for friends for years, but I started FireFly as it is today in November of 2013. FireFly is quickly gaining popularity throughout the US and Canada, and customers range from pleasure riders to grand prix showjumpers.
2) How many employees are there in your company?
I am the sole designer and creator here at FireFly. Unless you want to count the plastic horse head that models finished bonnets for customers.
3) Where did the idea for the business come from?
I’ve been crocheting since I was young, and I’ve always loved the look of fly bonnets on horses. However, it seemed like you could either have a cheaply made, $10 bonnet from the local tack shop, or you could spend half your paycheck on a bonnet from a custom maker. I decided to learn how to make bonnets so I could offer a show quality bonnet at a more reasonable price.
4) What is your background in horses and design?
I have been riding and working at barns since I was 15, but have never owned my own horse. I have a degree in Graphic Design, which definitely helps with the process of designing bonnets and helping customers visualize how the bonnet they envision will look in real life.
5) Any interesting notes about yourself, your business or your products that you would like for people to know?
FireFly bonnets are made by hand with a stitch that is different from that of other bonnet makers. The result is a more solid looking fabric that is very elegant. It does take slightly longer to produce a bonnet in this fashion, but I think the end result is worth it. Firefly also offers nearly unlimited customization options. Trim colors, beads, rhinestones, cording… All come in a rainbow of colors and can be completely customized to your liking. Want a bright yellow bonnet with purple trim, hot pink cord and orange rhinestones? Strange for sure, but no problem! If I can’t find the materials to create exactly what you have in mind, I will do my best to find something that is as close as possible.
I have to admit, I was particularly excited to do this edition of Small Business Spotlight because FireFly is a company that I really believe in and can stand behind 100% as a loyal customer. I really feel strongly that for custom bonnets, there is no one better than Nicole. Attention to detail is what separates The Best from The Rest, and her detail work is impeccable. They are without a doubt the best value custom bonnets on the market. Next time you find yourself fancying a new bonnet, or needing a fantastic gift for a friend, definitely consider FireFly.