How it Began

How It Began: A Hat Followed Me

About Us

“In 1989, I took off to California in search of the American dream. Enroute south a hat followed me. My first stay was in San Francisco. A call home lead me to a conversation with my Dad. He said, “I sent you a hat. Did you get it? I met the manufacturer up here in Portland. I think something is there!”

But, as the hat landed in San Francisco, I had already left for a friend’s place in Santa Barbara. And then to Los Angeles. Another call home and my father excitedly said to me “Did you get the hat? Your sister sent it to you in Santa Barbara.” I told him that I would have it sent to me in Los Angeles. But, by the time this hat made it to Los Angeles, I was already in San Diego. After several weeks, I finally got this hat in San Diego. It was crushed, cracked, torn, dirty and quite honestly the goofiest hat I had ever seen. (A funny thing that years later we would go to great lengths to get a hat to look like this.) A big wide brimmed straw hat or so it appeared to be at one time. I threw it in a closet for eight months.

Restless and passionate about the beach culture and lifestyle of Southern California and San Diego, I dug out the hat that persistently followed me south from Portland, Oregon. I contacted the maker, south of Mexico City. I tweaked the hat a bit, sewed a little neon fabric on it (think late 80’s fashion) and took it to the beach. It sold. And the rest is history…

Over the last 20 years, I have met a lot of great people and made great friends around the world: from Shanghai, China to Mexico City. And many people have shared their Peter Grimm hat stories: rock stars and celebrities, and 80-year-old grocery bagger from Alabama, cancer survivors, and a fella on his tractor potato farming in Idaho. Who would have thought that people loved their hats so much? And that they would become such an important part of their character – young, old, simple and the most brave or adventurous.

The moral of this tale I think is to listen to your Dad sometimes. He saw an international business in a straw hat, ‘Something is there’, he said. And Mom, well she always had a keen eye for fashion. I think it rubbed off on me a bit, so I named the company after her: Grimm. Peter Grimm. Appropriately enough, it has been quite a fairy tale.”


– Peter Neidermeyer