Rhanda Carlile has worked in several industries — television news, skincare marketing, medical sales, and even rental properties — but she’s carved out a
unique spot in Evansville’s Bourbon Barrel Boutique by hosting a hat bar.
“I don’t like putting my eggs in one basket,” Carlile says. “I like to jump on opportunities.”
Carlile’s journey to hosting a hat bar started with a trip to Nashville, Tennessee, and western states, where she saw unique things to do that were not readily available in Evansville. Inspired, she created a permanent jewelry business, Forever Linked, with her daughter, Charlee, in 2022. Initially, Forever Linked inventory was available at pop-up shops and home parties. Since June, shoppers can walk to her booth in the back of Bourbon Barrel Boutique at 5600 E. Virginia St. and browse permanent jewelry, a hat bar to decorate brimmed western hats and baseball caps, and a patch bar for hats, purses, and jackets.
She realized a hat bar might help Nashville-bound visitors who couldn’t find the perfect hat for their trip. The enterprise sets itself up to host girls’ nights out and birthday parties, including one party with 25 people, Carlile says.
“I wanted to provide something more for people in the area and give people something fun and memorable to do,” she says.
Customers start by selecting a hat, then perusing items on a table where Carlile has vintage jewelry, pins, feathers, patches, playing cards, leather straps, and more. Some people bring in their own items to decorate with. Then comes the hot glue gun, scissors, branding iron, and sometimes a welder to create a personalized hat style. Carlile helps customers decorate their hats and even will arrange items for them.
It is not only hats people can decorate. Guests sometimes bring their jackets and purses to stylize, instead.
“I get to meet the coolest people doing this,” Carlile says.