In 1990, Liz Cohoe left behind a 20-year career in Fashion Design to settle with her family in the town of Nelson, British Columbia. Looking for a niche in the secluded town, Cohoe recognized that many people had good ideas for the apparel industry but lacked training experience. She started a product development company called The Patternworks.
Meanwhile, Lamourah Perron was creating women’s hats and selling them at craft shows. Over the next decade, Perron and Cohoe built their company through wholesale and retail sales, agent representation, web presence and personal presentations.
Over fifteen years later, Liz Cohoe, now sole owner and designer of Lillie & Cohoe, has moved production into a 1930’s warehouse in the heart of Nelson. The airy studio-showroom, located far from the pressures of metropolitan life, allows Cohoe to freely explore design ideas and create hats that stand apart from the mainstream. All women are beautiful and Cohoe understands that the proper colour, texture, shape and volume can highlight a woman’s best feature. “I was exhibiting in Calgary on year,” recounts Cohoe, “when two women approached my display. They both wanted to try on hats, but one was reluctant – she felt that she was too plain, that hats looked bad on her. I suggested a couple of styles and after trying on the second hat, the woman stood there silently. Then she turned to her friend, and whispered ‘I’m beautiful’. They both had tears in their eyes.”