In a world dominated by fast fashion and fleeting trends, there are those who dare to challenge the norm and resurrect timeless style. Henry Dickerson and M Ali Nervis are the visionary founders of The Straw and Wool Hat Company, who have been turning heads and transforming the hat industry since the brand’s inception in February 2020. This dynamic duo is not only revolutionizing the way we adorn our heads but also uplifting communities and redefining the concept of conscious entrepreneurship.
The Straw and Wool Hat Company‘s origins are nothing short of inspiring. With a shared love for style and an individual background in selling men’s accessories, Dickerson and Nervis embarked on a journey to create a hat haven that would resonate with hat aficionados and novices alike. But it wasn’t just about creating a business – it was about creating a destination, a culture, and a movement.
“We want to change the culture in Phoenix and beyond, where it will be normal to see someone walking down the street in a classic hat,” says the duo. And that’s precisely what they’ve done. From starting at the Buy Black Marketplace to opening their first boutique on Historic Grand Avenue in Phoenix, their journey has been one of growth, passion, and dedication.
The Straw and Wool Hat Company’s mission is as multifaceted as its unique hat designs. While its primary goal is to bring a sense of style and pride to the Phoenix Valley and beyond, its commitment extends far beyond the realm of fashion. Dickerson, Nervis, and their team are staunch supporters of the community, engaging in philanthropic efforts that range from fundraising to direct donations.
“We pride ourselves on making beautiful designs at a great value to keep them accessible to the everyday consumer,” they emphasize. It’s this dedication to accessibility that truly sets them apart in an industry that often feels exclusive. Their line of 1-of-a-kind customized hats, aptly named 1OAK, is a testament to their commitment to providing unique, affordable, and stylish options for all.
One of the pivotal moments in their journey was the launch of their own brand, ORI, in the fall of 2021. ORI quickly captured the hearts (and heads) of hat lovers across the country, even finding its way onto the heads of celebrities. The brand’s designs not only showcase the founders’ artistic prowess but also reflect their values of quality, accessibility, and style.
“ORI is quickly taking the world by storm,” the duo beams, and it’s not hard to see why. These hats are more than just accessories – they’re statements, a culture, and part of a movement that Dickerson and Nervis have ignited.
What sets these CEOs apart is their approach to success, one that goes beyond conventional business practices. Both Dickerson and Nervis believe in the power of community and knowledge-sharing. “I spend a lot of time consulting with other aspiring entrepreneurs to help them get their businesses off the ground and empower them on their journeys. I look for every opportunity to uplift those around me to the highest they can be, even if they didn’t see it in them themselves,” Dickerson shares. This commitment to uplifting others and fostering an ecosystem of growth speaks volumes about their character and values.
For Nervis, the path to success is deeply rooted in his belief in economic empowerment and liberation. “I am a firm believer in using every tool at our disposal, including entrepreneurship and investing, to empower ourselves economically,” he asserts. “I am constantly studying to better understand how we free ourselves from this condition. Through study and self-discovery and I have found my purpose in this lifetime, and I’m unwavering in my dedication to fulfill it.” It’s this belief that led the duo to co-found Archwood Exchange, a platform that hosts one of the largest black business marketplaces in the country, and Grassrootz Books and Juice Bar, the only black-owned bookstore in Arizona.
This dedication to empowerment is also fueled by Nervis’s personal journey. A medical scare involving a brain tumor pushed him to recognize the significance of his role in uplifting his community. “I have a deep connection with the ancestors and those that sacrificed so much to get us to this point. I see it as my duty to carry the mantle as far as I can,” he reveals.
As The Straw and Wool Hat Company continues to thrive and challenge industry norms, the future looks incredibly promising. With their businesses gaining momentum and their commitment to community growth through Archwood Exchange, Dickerson and Nervis are redefining what it means to be entrepreneurs in the modern age. Their hats aren’t just pieces of fabric; they’re symbols of empowerment, culture, and style. As Henry Dickerson and M Ali Nervis continue to rewrite the hat narrative, they’re not just selling headwear – they’re selling a revolution.