Don Alberto (‘Beto’) García Gómez grew up in Oaxaca, Mexico, a beautiful region bordering the Pacific Ocean. He is considered the Master Hatter from Oaxaca. While most people in his small town are farmers, Don Beto’s family is a family of artisans, making beautiful hats to keep the local farmers covered from the blazing sun. They opened their small workshop in 1940 in Ocotlán, a small town 40 minutes from the city of Oaxaca.
Alberto, the third of five children, began learning the inns and outs of this craft when he started working with his father at the age of seven, something he enjoyed tremendously. As a teenager, Don Beto’s passion for hat making and his creativity led him to explore the use of new materials. Together with his father, they began crafting hats using wool and a coat of beeswax to waterproof them.
At 26, Don Beto met his wife, Lily, who is his partner in absolutely everything. His parents decided to retire and handed the business over to Beto and Lily, who renamed the business Alberly (combining their names), to demonstrate their commitment to one another in all aspects of their life.
Beto continues to innovate, exploring new durable molds made from iron and aluminum, playing with different materials, and challenging himself with new styles. He has pushed for more productivity in his business to satisfy the needs of his ever-growing community and customer base, all while preserving his traditional artisanal methods and techniques. His hard work and growth has allowed him to mentor and employ his 10 employees, sharing his success with the rest of his community.
Today, Don Beto manages and works in his shop, welcoming everyone and anyone who comes to his door, whether it is to watch and learn or to buy. Lily and Don Beto have raised three beautiful daughters, who are also growing into the family business and hope to run it some day, just as their parents did. Don Beto’s family has stayed true to their roots, preserving their craft while bridging generational gaps with innovation and creativity, making them the master hatters.