“EVERYONE who comes in can tell I love my job,” says Janine Cowell, whose bespoke hats boutique has been part of Taunton for nearly six years.

Her business, Hats by Janine, which is located at 4 St James Street in the town's independent quarter, specialises in ladies’ occasion hats for events such as weddings, race days and garden parties.

She offers stock hats that customers can buy and take home straight away, but it’s her customisation service that sets her apart.

Customers can personalise their hat’s shape, colour and trim, turning them into a modest accessory or a bold and daring design.

Janine previously worked as a personal shopper at Debenhams, where she helped people feel stylish and confident – something she's carried over to her own business, where she aims to ‘help ladies look fabulous’.

Somerset County Gazette: The spring window display at Hats by Janine.The spring window display at Hats by Janine. (Image: Hats by Janine)

“Hats are beautiful, and they’re just so elegant and different,” said Janine.

“The bespoking and the artistry drew me to it.

“I just think it’s fantastic that you can have a hat tailor-made for you in whatever colour you want.

“It’s so personal. It’s just you and how you feel, and how confident you are wearing it.

“I get people who come from London, from the Midlands, from down in Cornwall. It’s really nice to bring something like this to the South West.”

Big races like Ascot bring in a lot of customers for Janine, but her main source of business is embellishing hats for weddings.

And being part of a family's big day is something she will never take for granted.

“It’s really nice, and I feel flattered,” she said.

“It cheers me up to see someone going away looking happy, and seeing the photographs from the day is amazing.

“People feel so lovely and elegant when they’re wearing a hat. It elevates what they’re wearing, and it makes them feel special – and the photographs last forever.

“We don’t have a chance to get dressed up much these days, so it’s nice to have a chance to.

“There’s something about putting a hat that makes you feel a million dollars – and you look it, as well.”

Somerset County Gazette: Janine was drawn to working with hats by the chance to be artistic and customise each one.Janine was drawn to working with hats by the chance to be artistic and customise each one. (Image: Newsquest)

Customer service is key for Janine, who takes pride in making sure people leave her shop with a smile on their face.

“I’m quite good at getting a vibe from people and what they want,” she said.

“They can come in here feeling a bit sad but by the time they’ve left, and they’ve got a hat on, it’s a real confidence booster.

“Everyone says it’s nice, good old-fashioned service. And they can tell I’m passionate about it.

“I’m not planning on going anywhere. I’m settled in Somerset now, so I want to stay here.”

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