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Just an overcommitted girl trying to keep up with it all. Mom of three, co-owner of Lemonade PR, sports lover and F1 enthusiast always counting down to the Kentucky Derby. 

Creative Louisville: Britni Knable * Headcandi

Mar 31, 2016

Meet Britni. Creative Louisville Britni Knable Headcandi Derby Hats

I can’t get enough of Britni Knable and for that reason, I’m exceptionally thrilled to kick off a series of Derby-themed Creative Louisville posts with her smiling face. I first met Britni three or so years ago when I did my first Derby style shoot and borrowed some items from Dress & Dwell. Side note: The ladies at Dress & Dwell have always been such wonderful partners to work with (the owner Amanda is due for one of these features and is truly a gem), always lending out dresses, hats, accessories whenever I’ve called to ask.

One of the reasons I’ve loved working with them so much isn’t because of the great selection of clothes and more – it’s because the girls there are always so welcoming and that’s personified in Britni. Every time I see her she greats me with a warm hug and huge smile. I want to feel super special but she is equally as warm and welcoming to everyone that walks in the door. If you follow her on social media (you should – Facebook and Instagram), you may be familiar with her penchant for typing in all caps. When most people do this it’s crazy annoying but if you know Britni, you know it’s just because she really is THAT enthusiastic about everything especially her hats.

When she’s not helping take care of business at Dress & Dwell (where she is the assistant manager and buyer), she’s up to her eyes in flowers, feathers and more designing Derby hats and fascinators for her Headcandi line. Britni has supplied many a hat for my Derby shoots as well as my Derby ensemble last year but she’s big time and has made pieces for country star Luke Bryan and his wife Carolyn, television personalities galore and blogger extraordinaire Blair from Atlantic-Pacific. 

There are a lot of really talented local hat designers (I’ll be sharing more of their stories in the coming weeks) but I had to start with my gal Britni. If you’re looking for something special, be sure to check out her shop or stop by one of her trunk shows at Dress & Dwell, Kate Spade (there’s one there today at their Oxmoor Center store!) and Clodhoppers where she can whip you up something special. If you do, make sure to tell her Lou What Wear sent you.

Best part yet – Britni was sweet enough to offer Lou What Wear readers 20% off (which is big time) now through April 16 with code ‘DERBYSTYLE2016‘ just head over to her Etsy shop and get ready to spend some time narrowing down your favorites. But first, get to know her a little better – in her own words!

from Geometric Print Dress & Dwell * Kentucky Derby Style * Derby Hats * Derby Style_0029 Pink Romper * Kentucky Derby Style * Derby Hats * Derby Style_0053 Leona Tweed Suit  * Kentucky Derby Style * Derby Hats * Derby Style_0032 Wholesale Flowers (5) Kentucky Derby Outfit Inspiration * What to Wear to Kentucky Derby * Dress & Dwell * Headcandi Fascinator_0705


* Name: Britni Lynn Knable 

* Company: Headcandi + Dress & Dwell 

* Title: Girl Boss-Head Designer-Manager-Assistant Buyer

* How did you get started in your field? After high school I moved to Chicago.  My 1st job in the Windy City was for a milliner on Michigan Avenue. I fell in love with millinery and focused on that while in school! I decided to move back to Southern Indiana after a short stay in NYC and start my fashion career here! I started buying for different boutiques and that really grew my millinery business by getting to see the trends before they hit all of the boutiques!

* What inspires you?  As a designer everything inspires me, from the colors of the trees blooming to the architecture on the buildings while driving down the street!  I love trying to recreate pattern shapes using millinery materials! Also vintage hats & brooches, I have a crazy huge collection!!!

* What three word describe your work best? Fun, young and classic 

* What three words describe you best? NEED A BOYFRIEND (hahaha only kidding) Passionate, Genuine and Creative 

* One thing about you that might surprise people? I have given up coffee so far this Derby season, this is Huge for me! I usually live off coffee during Derby season, but for now it is just my Green Tea from Quills.  I still have to see my New Albany Quills family everyday! Also I live and work in the BROOKLYN of Louisville (NEW ALBANY)!!!

Kentucky Derby Hats and Fascinators * Britni Knable * Headcandi (20)Kentucky Derby Hats and Fascinators * Britni Knable * Headcandi (17)Kentucky Derby Hats and Fascinators * Britni Knable * Headcandi (3)


* Why Louisville? So many people end up leaving Louisville, what helped keep you here? This question is pretty easy for me to answer… The KENTUCKY DERBY!!!!! {yes i was yelling that} LOL!!! My business is based on the greatest two minutes in sports so it made it a pretty easy decision to move back here and start my business!!

* Favorite Louisville Neighborhood: The Brooklyn of Louisville New Albany!!  

* Favorite Spot for a Drink: The Exchange Pub +Kitchen 

* Favorite Lunch Spot: Taco Steve

* Favorite Dinner Spot: Loving the new Brooklyn & the Butcher 

* You’ve got to try:  The Gospel Bird Biscuit Fried Chicken Sandwich

* Favorite Festival: Of course The Kentucky Derby Festival

* Favorite Pizza Spot: Rivery City Winery

* If someone is visiting from out of town and only has time to go to three places, where do you send them.

1. Dress & Dwell for good things for you and your home

2. Quills Coffee for the smoothest coffee you will ever drink! oh & the Goddess Tea too!!!

3. Norton Commons!!! It’s growing and so many amazing places are popping up like LULUbelles!! 

Kentucky Derby Hats and Fascinators * Britni Knable * Headcandi (13)Kentucky Derby Hats and Fascinators * Britni Knable * Headcandi (4)Kentucky Derby Hats and Fascinators * Britni Knable * Headcandi (5)Kentucky Derby Hats and Fascinators * Britni Knable * Headcandi (6)Kentucky Derby Hats and Fascinators * Britni Knable * Headcandi (7)Kentucky Derby Hats and Fascinators * Britni Knable * Headcandi (8)


* What inspired you to start Headcandi? I always wanted to be in the fashion industry since I was a little girl. I thought I wanted to be a clothing designer and then that soon changed when I got my first fashion job for milliner Linda Campisano on Michigan Ave in Chicago!

While I was in design school I focused on millinery and during Derby time I would fly home to have trunk shows and design pieces for everyone going to the Derby. It was during this time that Headcandi was started! People would come into my studio & say, it looks like a candy store in here with all of these colors!!

* What colors, trends, styles are big for you this Derby season?  The color of the year – Rose Quartz you will see everywhere! I love the Hatinator styles the mix between a hat and fascinator! European styles are moving to the US! A lot of the fascinators I design you want to wear more on your forehead… about an inch or so above the eyebrow! ***see pic*

* You make SO many hats at Derby, what inspires you on a daily basis? I design all year round, so when it comes around to Derby time it is a combination of the dress, jewels, shoes, and my clients personality!!

* Derby season is a crazy time for you. How far in advance do you begin making pieces? I design hats and fascinators all year around.  However starting in January it goes to a whole new level. Magazine photoshoots start, people really start thinking about their custom orders!! The last two weeks before Derby there is usually only 2-3 hours of sleep a night!! No matter what everything has to be finished before Derby day. Now that Thurby is getting so big, most people are ordering 3 pieces Thurby, Oaks, Derby. There are definitely deliveries being made at all hours of the night to houses and hotels the week of Derby. 

* Fascinator or hat? FASCINATORS!!!!….if you see my snaps you know how much I love designing Fascinators. Back in 2004 when I was in college all my classmates were making hats and my first piece was a fascinator…This was even before the Kate Middleton craze!!! 

* Feathers or Flowers? Now that is a hard one because those two are pretty much on every piece i design.  What about feather flowers?!?! I would choose that. Feathers give height which I love on a piece and I love using silk flowers. 

* What’s been the biggest pinch me moment of your career? Gosh, I don’t know if I can pick just one!!! When I designed pieces for Luke & Caroline Bryan, I literally remember being in the elevator in the Galt House going up to their room and I made my mother (AKA Mama Cat) pinch me to see if it was real life!!! But honestly my greatest moments are when my clients come back every year and say, “I only let you design my headpieces!”  I have so much appreciation for my clients thats why I always put SOOO much into every piece. Watching the coverage on TV is always fun see everyone sporting their Headcandi! 

Kentucky Derby Hats and Fascinators * Britni Knable * Headcandi (22)

* Who would you love to design a piece for? Miranda Lambert comes to Derby often and I would love for her to wear Headcandi!!!  

* Dream designer collaboration? Milly dresses are a staple at Derby so that would be my Dream Collab!! She is truly an amazing Designer!!

* If someone is looking for a custom piece, what advice/tips would you give them when talking to a milliner? When a person decides to do a custom piece it is important to make sure the milliner understand the look you are going for and your style.  

* Headcandi is more than just Derby hats, what other pieces do you create year-round? Breeders Cup and other horse races…Bridal also keeps me busy throughout the year… I have a Custom Bridal and Accessories Shop called The House Of K with the other ladies in my family at the Laurel Wreath Bridal in New Albany in the Eventful 203 building! I love helping brides with there big day!!

* What’s next for Headcandi? Every year it’s about growing the business and how we can make it even better!! For the past several years we have had numerous request from our out of town clients for a one stop shop to see Headcandi pieces.  This year we really focused on getting a large number of our pieces up on etsy for our clients and hope to continue to expand that. 


Again, don’t forget to head over to the Headcandi Etsy Shop and receive 20% off your order with code DERBYSTYLE2016 but don’t wait too long, the code expires April 16, 2016. Here’s a few of my favorites.

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  1. Britni is so talented and incredibly sweet to boot!

  2. Vittoria says:

    these photos are spectacular! everything looks gorgeous x

  3. Jessica says:

    Britni is seriously the best! I know these photos are older but do you have the details on the navy floral dress (group of 5 girls, one with navy fascinator)?

    • Danielle says:

      Hi Jessica –
      That dress is from Dress & Dwell and they had it this time last year. I only know because we used the exact one in our Derby shoot. I would call Dress & Dwell and see if they can give you the details on it. They may have one left or they can probably give you the name so you could hunt for it online.
      I know it’s a scuba/neoprene material and is similar to last year’s J.Crew dresses.
      Hope this helps!

  4. […] Derby Week chapter with tips of getting ready for the races with some of my local favorites – Britni Knable of Headcandi, Kenzie Kapp and Clodhoppers. There’s also lots of fun anecdotes, history and pictures of […]

  5. […] this time of year. They have TONS of dresses at a variety of price points, plus if you bump into Britni working – she can help you pick out the perfect hat or you can chat with her about designing […]

  6. […] of K is owned by Britni from Headcandi (my go-to Derby hat designer) and if you’re not familiar, it’s an occasion dress boutique in New Albany. If […]

  7. […] all know I LOVE all things Headcandi. Britni has made my Derby fascinators for the last five or six years and always knocks it out of the park. […]

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