Courtesy of Wallaroo Hat Company

Get to Know Stephanie Carter of Wallaroo Hat Company

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While visiting her in-laws in Australia in the late 1990s, Stephanie Carter noticed people wearing fashionable, wide-brimmed hats that shielded them from the sun’s harmful rays. Inspired by the Aussies’ colorful yet practical designs, she decided to launch Wallaroo Hat Company in Boulder.

 

Travel Boulder chatted with Carter to learn more about her background, the company and Wallaroo’s hats.

 

What inspired you to launch Wallaroo?

 

I started Wallaroo Hat Company in 1999 after a trip to Australia to visit my husband’s parents. While there, I discovered beautiful sun protective hats that I had never seen before in the United States. I fell in love with these hats and subsequently reached out to the designer to see if we could collaborate in some way. We decided to work together and, later that year, Wallaroo Hat Company was born in Boulder. Wallaroo was a pioneer in the sun protection industry, creating and designing stylish sun protection hats with UPF ratings.

 

What makes your hats unique?

 

Wallaroo has focused on providing stylish sun protection since we founded our company. The majority of our hats have a UPF 50+ rating, which means they block 97.5 percent of the harmful UV rays. Our hats are crafted with UPF fabric protection and are tested by the Australian Radiation Protection Agency. I was originally inspired to create packable, adjustable and stylish sun protective hats when I realized there was nothing like that in the U.S. market. I learned a lot from Australia where the threat of skin cancer has long been understood. Wallaroo has been working with skin cancer prevention organizations around the United States to help in our mission of educating and preventing skin cancer.

 

What makes the company itself stand out?

 

Being a female-owned business is something else that makes Wallaroo Hat Company truly unique and gives us a unique competitive edge. Wallaroo is also a Certified B Corp, which is a business certification that balances both purpose and profit. It is our goal to consider how our business decisions impact not only the environment but also the local community and our employees.

 

What have your experiences been like as a female entrepreneur?

 

The headwear sector of the fashion industry is mostly male-dominated. Women have not traditionally been given roles of leadership. I came from a legal background and had no experience in manufacturing, sales, design or distribution. I had to learn how to navigate through these areas of business, as one of the few women-owned businesses in this space. This industry, and the world, needs more women in business, especially female leaders. I want to build each other up, encourage others and push ourselves out of our comfort zone. We are pioneers for future women in business.

 

What motivates you?

 

If you’re passionate about the work you’re doing, it will motivate you. What began as a small office in my home has evolved into an international company with multiple locations and distributors around the world. I have always believed that success will follow your ambition and drive, and that is how I have run my company.

 

Why are you so passionate about skin cancer education and prevention?

 

It has always been our goal to create a brand that attracts more people to hats, especially because skin cancer is one of the fastest-growing types of cancer. It’s also one of the most preventable types of cancer if people take precautions like wearing a hat, sunscreen and sun protective clothing. Wallaroo partners with skin cancer research, education and prevention organizations including the Skin Cancer Foundation and the Melanoma Research Foundation, which provide screenings and education services to their communities and to the nation.

 

Why Boulder?

I grew up in Boulder, so building Wallaroo here was an easy choice. Boulder is an active, outdoor community that has 360 days of sunshine a year. I spent my childhood outside playing sports, hiking, skiing, running and racing bikes. I have been a part of this community for my entire life and, because of that, I’m invested in working with other local businesses and engaging with the greater community.

 

Any parting words of advice?

If you pursue a career path that helps make the world a better place, you will find happiness within your career and in your daily life. It’s a sunny life, wear your hat!

 

 

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