Hey there! I’m Simon, founder of Jipijapa and aficionado of hats. Okay, that’s an understatement: I absolutely adore hats! I have a large collection of Boinas which keeps growing every time I travel to Ecuador. I have received a lot of positive reactions for my colorful headwear. That’s why I founded Jipijapa, to present the unique art of Ecuadorian hat-making to everyone – but especially you.
Ecuador in my heart
I have been traveling Central and South America for many years and I still can’t get enough of this diverse continent. Its centuries-old culture, friendly people, natural landscapes, fine cuisine and deep-rooted traditions draw me in again and again. Especially Ecuador has conquered my heart. Be it surfing at the sea, taking tours through the jungle or going on high alpine hikes: in Ecuador there is so much room for so many great experiences.
In search of a manufactory for handmade straw hats, I came across a small family business in Cuenca. Already in our first meeting we knew that we shared the same understanding of hat designs. Together, we further developed my ideas, resulting in our first Jipijapa collection. Our Boinas are braided by the nimble hands of Julia, Rosa and Luz. It takes them 15 hours of patient and exact handcraft to create one straw hat. That’s what makes your Boina uniquely yours.
From palm tree to straw hat
Boinas are woven from the fibers of the Jipi palm tree, native to the Ecuadorian coast. In the coastal region, the local farmers cultivate the Jipi palms and harvest the raw material for the straw hats: the palm leaves. These are then hung up in the shade to dry.
With their fingernails or with a pointed metal comb the farmers split open the dry leaves so that they can pull the thin fibers out of the leaf stalk. The fine fibers are then dried one more time, which gives the straw its typical creamy white color.
Jipijapa Boinas are woven from the best quality straw only, which is why, in Jipijapa, the farmers cut the straw again into very thin fibers. Some of the straw is then died so that the weavers can create colorful patterns on the hats.
The weavers always start braiding from the center of the hat and weave the thin fibers together into a finely tuned pattern. To achieve the exactly desired size, they stretch the hat repeatedly over a wooden fitting socket.
When the weaving is done, the cylindrical Boina blanks are gently pressed under heat, ironed and shaped into their final form with a piece of string.
For the finishing touches, the hat is cleaned, excess fibers are cut off, and the Boina’s inner band is sewn into place. With their trained eyes and hands, the weavers check the quality of the finished hat one last time. Another unique piece has been created.
Your idea. Our customized design.
You want to boost the team spirit of your association, club or company? Why not start at the top – with an exclusive Boina for all members or employees. Together, we will create a design in which the pattern and the color scheme follow your ideas. We offer this service as of 20 Boinas and more. The unit price depends on the number of Boinas to be produced. The delivery time is about two months. In the winter months it’s a few days more, because the straw takes longer to dry.
Is there anything else you would like to know about the Boinas or my travels?
I will be happy to answer any question you have.