YOU can tell a lot about a person by their hat.
It may be a creation of different materials uniquely fitted to an individual, but it can tell a story and create a lasting legacy that lives on long after a person is gone.
From giving a glimpse of many hours working on the land, to the signature piece atop a fashions-on-the-field victory at a country race meeting, a hat can mean many things to many people.
This philosophy has been the driving force behind Scone native Laura Hall's business, Phylli, and the headwear that has made a splash right across the country and beyond.
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Since launching in 2016 as a creative side project to a bustling corporate business career, Laura's creations have donned the heads of Hollywood stars such as Matt Damon, AFL superstar Jarrod McVeigh and everyday Australians alike.
Most recently, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian donned a Phylli headband while enjoying a day of racing at the Scone Cup.
"I am from Scone originally, but I grew up in Melbourne and when I finished school at Ringwood Secondary College I went into the corporate business world," Laura said.
"Phylli started as a creative outlet for me during my corporate career, which finished in 2019, just purely because I had reached saturation point in that world and was looking for something different.
"I was playing around with headbands, leather bands and things like that when a friend of mine asked me to make something custom for her mum for the Scone Cup, which is my favourite day of the year.
"Now we have come full circle to opening a store in Scone."
After making the decision to move away from the corporate world, Laura applied her talents in Mackay, Queensland, before exposing Phylli to the world at the historic Bondi Markets.
"In a way, I followed in the footsteps of a lot of famous Australian designers such as Sass and Bide and Zimmerman who among many others, got their start at the Bondi and Paddington markets in Sydney," Laura said.
"I still look back on those early days of Phylii and my time in Sydney with a lot of joy and will be forever grateful to the people who got behind me right from the start."
However, in the shadow of a pandemic, the allure of country living became too strong for Laura to ignore and only one place seemed to be the right fit.
"When COVID-19 hit and the chance for me to move out of Sydney came, I chose Scone because it is where my family and my home is, so in a way, moving back here has felt a bit like picking up the puzzle pieces," she said.
"While Melbourne will always have my heart, I don't think it was the right place for me long term, it might be again one day, but for right now the tree change is the answer for me.
"Moving to Scone has been really a sweet spot for me and I think a lot of people who have been familiar with the brand have really gotten behind me when they were able to connect with a regionally-based business."
The personal connection to the Upper Hunter town is clear to see for anyone who walks into the Main Street shop front.
From the reclaimed timber to local floral arrangements, even the name of the business itself.
"My middle name is Phyliss, I thought the connection with the racing industry in Scone was too perfect to overlook and thus the name Phylli was born," Laura said.
"It has been a massive achievement for me to be able to have something physical to represent my business.
"The rustic timber throughout the shop has been donated by a variety of local horse studs to give the store a real Australiana vibe and it creates more of an atmosphere.
"There's a lot of beautiful people out there who through word of mouth have supported me and while social media is the backbone of the business, it's the support of people within my social, family and community networks that have allowed it to become what it is."
Laura describes herself as a hat maker and not a milliner because she creates hats for people of all genders and she is hopeful she may have found a way to inspire more people to give hat making a try.
"During Christmas last year, an existing client of mine told her husband, who was looking for a business that could host a virtual, engaging activity, about my custom hat parties and from there I ended up doing about 40 for Google," she said.
"That eventually led to being invited up to the Hemsworth's house in Byron Bay last month to host a hat party for them, which was really exciting.
These sorts of things really cemented in my mind that the purpose of the shop was to give people, whether they be locals, travellers, men or women a place to come and shop as well as sit around a table together and try their hand at making hats."
Despite working around the clock to complete an order for fashion giant Sportscraft, Laura took the time to talk to The Land, enjoy a glass a bubbles and toast to the grand opening of her store, which she hopes will eventually employ local workers.
Whether its a hat party, a headband for a Premier, a new hat for a movie star or a place for locals to meet, Phylli has the spirit of Scone at its heart thanks to its creator.
You can tell a lot about a person by their hat.