top of page
Optimo Hatworks

Grant Sergot

Optimo Hatworks
By Sarah Burton

Nestled in the picturesque main street of historic Bisbee, you’ll find Grant Sergot most days, busy crafting custom hats for customers from all over the world. An uninformed passerby may glance through the window of Óptimo Custom Hatworks and mistake it for a quaint albeit run-of-the-mill hat store. But inside, Grant is carefully designing in his unique mediums: felt and straw.

The path that landed Grant squarely in hat-guru territory started by mere chance when he drove into Arizona, along with two dogs as passengers. When his truck got stuck in the mud near the Grand Canyon’s south rim, he found himself sitting around a campfire with an old burned-out ranch hat he found to help keep the snowflakes off his face.

“As it snowed, the brim got more wet and I realized I could manipulate the brim,” he recalls. “In the morning, I threw it up on the dash of my truck and could manipulate even more as it dried, and I realized this is a medium like clay or plaster.” When he couldn’t shape it any longer, he pulled out a tea kettle and got to steaming the Old West, cowboy way.

“That was the start,” he explains. “I traded in my ballcap and woodsman hat for these hats.”

Later, Grant discovered a shimmering hat on a wooden milk crate at an estate sale, beckoning to him, as he tells it. This fortuitous encounter with a real-deal Panama hat only further shaped his life’s work.

“It took my truck breaking down in the mud to realize the importance of a good hat.”

“When I first began making hats in a gallery, everyone thought I was crazy. I said someday I’m going to be in Arizona Highways, and now I’ve been in several times,” Grant reflects with pride.

Since then he’s made quite a name for himself, and grown a loyal following. He’s also collected antique tools from all over as traditional hat shops fell by the wayside. One such fascinating tool of the trade is a conformer from 1911, invented in Paris in 1848, that looks something between a birdcage and a torture device. This is the first step to ensure a custom fit for anyone, any hat. And while you can definitely walk into Óptimo and select an artfully designed pre-made hat, having him make one just for you is the real deal.

bottom of page