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Drycleaner has hats covered

A PERTH drycleaner is reviving the dying art of hat cleaning.

Atlas Drycleaning owner Wally Bullo said hat wearing had been in vogue up to World War II.

After the war, hats fell out of favour. The skills needed to maintain them also waned.

However, with an increasing emphasis on protection from the sun, hats are making a comeback.

Mr Bullo said that in response to the hat revival and a lack of people able to clean them, he decided to specialise in the area.

“My theory in business is that you have to be the best, the first or different,” he said.

The company has proved so successful in its hat cleaning endeavours that it is now the preferred drycleaner for Akubra and Statesman felt hats.

“We’re getting orders from all parts of WA,” Mr Bullo said.

“We also clean straw hats as well as felt.

“We have found that a number of groups such as schools, bowling clubs, Scout groups and the army are starting to use us.”

Mr Bullo said hats were a very personal part of apparel.

“People often get sentimentally attached to their ‘unique’ hat.

“Because of this we get people coming in to us with hats that are nearly ready for the tip and asking us to restore them.

“They’d rather spend the money to have their special hat restored than buy a new one.”

There is more to cleaning a hat than simply putting it through the drycleaning process.

Drycleaning a hat will usually knock it considerably out of shape.

To remedy this, once a hat has been drycleaned it needs to be reblocked – a process that helps it keep its shape.

This is one of the more challenging parts of the professional hat cleaning process.

In some cases the hat even needs to be stiffened and waterproofed. If necessary, the inner and outer hat bands can be replaced.

Along with hats, Atlas is also trying to make its mark in the wedding dress cleaning market.

Mr Bullo said he saw the cleaning of a wedding dress after the wedding as a continuation of the ceremony.

“The lady is brought into the factory and given a guided tour. She is shown how the dress will be cleaned and why the particular cleaning processes will be used,” he said.

“We tell her what to expect before the gown is cleaned so she can feel confident in knowing her heirloom is going to be preserved.”

Atlas Drycleaning also services professionals in the CBD, particularly those who require careful cleaning of their business shirts.

The company also cleans the uniforms for the West Coast Eagles and a couple of Westar Rules football clubs.

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