The Hattie Story
Hattie Rex Story
In 2007, Tessa Witmer was a new mom to a rambunctious yellow lab named Pablo.
Pablo had stolen her heart, and like all new moms, she wanted to give him the best life possible.
Which included getting him a proper ID tag.
But the problem was…all of the ID tags on the market were mass-produced, engraved by machine, and lacking the sentiment she felt her pup deserved.
After all, he was only going to wear one piece of jewelry, so it had to be something worthy of his poster-dog status.
So Tessa set out to make her own ID tag. She purchased a set of letter and number stamps online, some tin snips and a sheet of copper from the hardware store, and found an old ball-pein hammer at an antique store. Tessa then sat on her porch and hammered out her first dog tag on a cinderblock.
It was terrible. But, never one to settle, Tessa kept trying until Pablo had a legible, handmade dog tag. She then made tags for every dog she knew and started visiting craft shows.
Transitioning to Human Jewelry
One day, someone asked Tessa if she could put her daughter’s name and birthday on the tag instead of the suggested dog name and phone number.
The customer wanted to put it on a chain and wear it as a necklace. Tessa thought the women had possibly lost her mind, but obliged… and quickly realized that there were other people who wanted the same thing.
Turns out, personalized jewelry is not just for the dogs! And the production of Hattie Rex jewelry for humans had begun. Before long, Tessa was a full-time CEO, working in sweatpants out of the basement in her Rolla, Missouri home.
Today, Tessa is a proud mom of 2 beautiful children and has handed the reigns of her business to Nancy Mahoney & Kaycee Schultz, who are carrying on her work as Hattie + Rex in Bozeman, MT. The new-ish name for new-ish owners is now located in production studio space at 24 South Willson, Unit 8.
In the studio, Kaycee is able to meet face-to-face with my customers on a daily basis, helping them turn their ideas for custom jewelry and pet tags into a reality. Kaycee is carrying on Tessa's methods to create personalized accessories for people and pets, as well as creating her own designs.
In 2023, Hattie + Rex is launching an intern program to provide work and business opportunities for the talented jewelry and metalsmithing students at Montana State University.
Today, Hattie + Rex proudly sells not only pet tags, but men's and women's handmade jewelry and Forever Bracelets at Mōka Boutique and Allōy.
Nancy & Kaycee