Under the direction of legendary hat maker, Kevin O’Ferrel, JW began his career in Durango, Colorado during his senior year of high school. He then moved to Phoenix, Arizona in the early ’90’s and worked for Aztex Hat Company for three years. His obvious talent gained the attention of western retailer, Ron Perryman, and JW was asked to oversee and build a new custom hat department in Perryman’s Western Wear, a well established western store in the Valley. The hat department within Perryman’s was such a success, that JW was again asked to open another custom hat department at Saba’s Western Wear, which had 11 storefronts in the Phoenix area at that time. After working and gaining experience with other businesses, JW decided to “hang his own shingle” and he started crafting a wholesale hat line under the name of Powder River Hat Company, in 2000.
It was later in 2006, when JW and Jody incorporated JW Brooks Custom Hat Company, LLC, and they opened a beautiful retail location in Scottsdale, Arizona, with a focus on a high-end custom made cowboy hat. JW and Jody collaborated together and formed the extremely popular Neon Cowgirls Hat Company, a fashion forward women’s line of custom cowgirl hats. With Jody’s influence and direction, this women’s line of hats eventually would come to make up approximately 50% of JW Brooks Custom Hat Company’s business. In 2013, JW Brooks Custom Hats was moved 40 minutes outside Fort Worth to Lipan, Texas. The decision to change locations was based on the fact that JW and Jody spent much of their time vending and selling hats in Texas. The decision to move was a good one and allowed the company to continue to grow exponentially every year since it’s creation.
Owning and operating a widely popular, reputable and proven business, JW and Jody were approached with an offer of purchase for the company in late 2016. JW was retained as a consultant and the sole custom hat maker for a period of two years. That consulting agreement contract expired on March 29, 2019. Having the talent and passion for building artful and quality custom cowboy hats for a majority of his life, JW, along with the support of his family, is looking forward to continuing his legacy in custom cowboy hat making. He has always considered it a privilege to provide cowboys and cowgirls with a superior custom product that is synonymous with western heritage.
Photos by Charles E. Brooks Photography