You’ve got your outfit for the big day, the shoes are perfect, and now all you have to get to top off the look is the hat. Do you want to buy or hire, will you ever wear it again? It’s a good question, and in reality, you are unlikely to wear a hat more than once.

That’s exactly the situation that Margaret Baillie, of Bogside Farm, Ashgill, found herself in while trying to hire a hat for a wedding she had been invited to. She started googling and found that hat hire is as rare as hen’s teeth. What did keep appearing was the website for Get Ahead Hats, which is a franchise offered as a diversification on farms and country houses selling and hiring designer hats.

At that time, Margaret was looking for a challenge that would allow her to be around the farm to look after the brood of grandchildren that had recently appeared, after retiring from her career in the plant nursery business at Garrion Bridge.

Margaret enquired to Get Ahead Hats, and now, here I am standing in her lovely showroom on the farm, surrounded by hundred of hats, fascinators, hatinators and other accessories.

Margaret is, at the moment, the only Scottish showroom offering the Get Ahead Hats service. There are 15 others in England.

The joy of this service is that you can make an appointment, bring along your outfit and shoes and take the time needed to try on the hats til you find the one. If you find one that suits you perfectly, but the colour isn’t just right, then you can order the correct colour. That can either be made for you (which takes around five weeks), or Margaret can call on her colleagues around the UK to see if they have the one that is needed, to be delivered. She has access to thousands of hats in the network of showrooms.

The favoured style at the moment, is for a ‘percher’ which is a hatinator on a headband. The big plus: no hat hair! Fascinators are still very popular with those that are not at the top table of a wedding party, or are going to a day at the races, a christening, or a garden party.

Going from a career in glasshouses to selling hats has been quite a change for Margaret, but she took on all the tips offered when she went for her training days down south with the company.

She had to be able to provide a room large enough for the showroom, which is a plus when you live in an old farmhouse, there’s always a good room that isn’t being used, and this was the case for Margaret. She had it kitted out with a dressing room, and shelving and display equipment and she was good to go.

A visit down to Preston for training on selling and the business side of things and, what was new to Margaret, the power of social media, and she was then ready to order her hats.

Initially, her first batch of hats were ordered for her, as she didn’t have the experience yet, but she is now on her way. She was grateful for the tips and information offered from her fellow franchise owners and feels confident in the back up she has from the company.

The hats are quite the assortment, colours are varied and the shapes and styles are impressive. The showroom is comfortable and spacious, and Margaret is really welcoming. From the traditional to the contemporary, there is something for every head. Your hat will come to you wrapped in tissue paper in a lovely hat box to protect it.

Buying or hiring there is a hat for everyone, some are completely unique hand-made hats, that have the guarantee that no one else will be wearing it. Appointments are available all week, including evenings and weekends. The location of Bogside Farm couldn’t be better as it is just off the M74, near Larkhall, making it very accessible to hat hunters.

Hat hire starts from £40. For more information go to