Marc Williamson Recently Opened His Own Boutique Speciallizing In Men’s Hats–FlameKeepers Hats Club, on W. 121st St. in Harlem

Posted on December 16, 2015

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The former co-owner of popular J.J. Hat Center and Pork Pie Hatters has found a home for his new start-up hat shop.
Marc Williamson recently opened Flame Keepers Hat Club, a men’s hat store on W. 121st St. near St. Nicholas Ave., stocked with a multitude of classic styles including wool-felt and fur-felt hats with leather sweatbands, newsboy caps, French berets and straw hats from Ecuador and Colombia.
“We’re passing the torch of good taste from one generation to the next,” said Williamson, 44. “One of our missions will be to show young men you don’t have to be dressed up — you can wear a hat with jeans or a denim jacket.”
  
Marc Williamson proudly displays some of his line of fashion headwear at his recently-opened shop, FlameKeepers Hats Club, in Harlem

Caps go for $35 to $125, and the hats are priced anywhere from $65 to $300.
The clotheshorse-turned-headwear aficionado got his start in the business more than 20 years ago as a clerk at J.J. Hat Center, on Fifth Ave.
“I thought it was a pit stop,” said Williamson. “I definitely didn’t plan a career in hats, but one thing led to another; (management) pulled me in and groomed me.”
He would become a part-owner for 11 years, but says he sold his stake last year.
  
Marc Williamson (in hat) helps customers in his recently-opened store, FlameKeepers Hats Club, on W. 121st St. in Harlem.

The Woodside, Queens, resident — who was named TimeOut New York’s “Most Stylish New Yorker 2013” — decided to strike out on his own, and left the company in January. He spent countless hours in the library, poring over books about running a small business.
It took some time before he landed the 700-square-foot space, just blocks off the bustling 125th St. corridor and only feet from a row of restaurants on Frederick Douglass Blvd.
Initially, he pitched his start-up to brokers associated with locations on Lenox Ave., between 126th and 129th Sts., but they shot him down.
But Williamson, who was attracted to Harlem’s energy as well as its appreciation for a fine hat shop, kept pushing.