VENDOR SPOTLIGHT: Meet Millinery Artist Harriet Rosebud Who's Been to Every ESSENCE Festival

Photo by FSLY PhotographNY
Hat maker Harriet Rosebud was the first Black millinery artist to be licensed in the U.S. and has been to every single ESSENCE Festival since 1995.

ESSENCE Festival is less than three weeks away, folks. Food, concerts, empowerment, oh my! As we count down the days, we've been showing love to some amazing artists who set up booths at ESSENCE Festival to showcase their designs. Harriet Rosebud is a dope millinery artist who has been making hats for 23 years. In 2005, Rosebud says she became the first licensed Black millinery artist in the U.S. Rosebud loves ESSENCE Festival so much she's been every year since its inception. This year is no different. Get to know her and check out her booth in NOLA. 

How many times have you been to Essence Fest?

I have been part of Essence Festival since its start in 1995, including the year the festival moved to Houston. We have not missed one year.

What’s your fondest memory while on the Festival grounds?

The seminars are the most powerful and moving part of the Festival. Young and seasoned women come together to be spiritually recharged. It is exciting to watch this movement.

What should crowds expect?

The very best and latest styles millinery has to offer.

Describe ESSENCE Fest in one word.

Purposeful.

Tell us about how your business started.

Rosebud New York started as a need to provide options in millinery to women who have unusual head sizes. Millinery is a unique hands-on art form that has given me pleasure for 23 years. In 2005, I was the first African-American millinery artist to be licensed in the US. The small art-like hat miniatures were sold worldwide to museums, bookstores and hospitals. Rosebud New York hat factory is African-American owned and located in Philadelphia, PA. It remains the last standing and the largest factory in the US that services all forms of millinery. We now service over 200 hundred small boutiques, catalog companies and independent hat lovers. In 2016 THE GREAT AMERICAN HAT SHOW was created in New York to expose more people to the art of millinery. It is a unique show with a theme every year. The show is a fashion production that blends both fashion and film. It includes workshops and seminars on hat making and other educational topics (depending on the theme). People travel from all over the country to be a part of this unique experience.

Why is it important for your business to be represented at one of America’s largest festivals?

Essence is every woman. The pinnacle of African-American lifestyle. It is where we meet, celebrate and expose our people, young and old, to the latest fashions, art, health and entertainment. I am proud to be a part of the Essence Festival tradition.  

How do you prepare for the 4th of July holiday weekend excitement?

We start early and bring our best.

What quote or mantra do you live by?

When much is given, much is required.

What is the essence of your business? Why should ESSENCE FEST attendees visit your booth?

The essence of my business is to teach women about the power of the hat. Millinery is and continues to be the most powerful accessory a woman can wear. Hats are not often available in fine stores any more, so in our booth women can touch, feel and try on our latest styles. Our booth is not only a walk through history, but a sign of the future.

Who are you most looking forward to see perform/speak at ESSENCE Fest this year?

Iyanla Vanzant.

How do fans and clientele keep up with you until the Festival?

My website is Harrietrosebudhats.com. Facebook: Harriet Rosebud millinery, Harriet Rosebud Hats. Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/harrietrosebudhats/ Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/rosebudny/

What’s the one piece of advice you received that inspired you to pursue your art/business?

Work hard and passionately. Your talent will always rise to the top.

Please describe your artistic technique and process for creating the work that will be on exhibit in The Shops at ESSENCE.

Surprisingly enough, the process of making a hat is the same as it was 100 years ago. Most of the work is done with steam and wooden molds called blocks. This same process is still used today.

Don't miss the concerts, empowerment panels and vendors at ESSENCE Feastival 2016! Buy your tickets today. 

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