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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 4th decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Tip Your Hat to La Providencia

Sahuayo de Morelos, Michoacan, Mexico
(Pronounced: Suh-WHY-oh day-mow-RAY-los, MEE-show-a-kahn, MAY-hee-coh)

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

So why go to Suhuayo? For the hats!!


Known all over the world for their quality hats, La Providencia has a factory in the town of Suhuayo, Mexico. Making handmade hats for over 8 decades, Roberto Avila proudly continues the tradition of his father, Don Susano, emphasizing quality and style.


Just ask anyone on the street where the hat factory is, and you will be promptly directed to this location. For three generations hats of braided palm or wheat have been produced here.

Above you see Daniela Avila, daughter of Roberto, 4th generation hat producer inviting us in.


Inside, hats of all sizes, shapes and styles line the shelves. These models have fine piping on the edges of the brim and tooled leather bands around the center. Air holes for head ventilation are on both sides of the hat to keep the head cool during hot weather.


These sombreros bear names such as Algas Gallera, Quemado, Speedy Gonzalez, Truman E.F. and Pintado Corto. Braided by hand and sewn individually by sewing machine, the factory produces over 200 hats in a day. If they have a large order, they can rev up their production to 1,000 hats per day or more.

The braided center band on these hats are made of genuine horsehair.





One can hardly imagine how many different styles there are until you observe this first hand. Some have delicate cow leather trim around the center for decoration or as you can see, finely embroidered edging on the sombreros in the back line. The embroidery 'thread' are grasses from the lakes in the area, harvested and pounded to make them pliable. You might have seen belts with the same patterning on them. These embroidered edgings take lots of time and are highly prized.


A close up of the hand braided palm used for the making of hats. Starting with a small circular coil, the braid is sewn row after row to make both the cone for the head piece and the brim.


This is a wider braided wheat. These supplies come from the Mexican state of Guerrero.


This painting depicts the Avila family with all of their generations represented. You can see the traditional manner in which the hats were woven and sewn. In 1930 the factory was upgraded from using the foot pedal sewing machines to electric sewing machines. 


In the 'olden days' these were all sewn together by hand.

This is the 'cone' part of the sombrero before the brim is attached. They start in the center with this cone and work outward.


A closer look will show you that this cone is waiting for its brim to be added.


Across the street we found the other half of the factory, the place where the newly sewn hats are brought over to give them their final form and clear finishing. These molds are made from aluminum; different styles, different sizes. The form must be heated before the palm or wheat hat is placed upon them to be shaped.


Before this man puts the hat-to-be-pressed on the aluminum form, he has already done two things.

He has lit the gas-fired machine and checks for the correct temperature by wetting his fingers, touching the mold, and watching how fast the moisture sizzles and disappears. He then sprinkles water over the woven braid of the hat so that when it is heated on this press, the steam will easily create the form from the mold.  


There are two molds used in this process: one on top to press and stretch the straw hat onto the bottom mold.

Sometimes the hat needs to be pressed more than once to be sure the exact form is made and it is properly set by the steam heat. The dryness and quality of each hat is checked by this experienced worker before pressing the next one.


Once pressed, some hats are 'glazed' with a type of glue put on both sides with a hard bristle brush by these men. You can see the glue build-up on their aprons. This glue makes a lacquer finish that is weatherproof and gives a hardened strength to the hat. These hardened sombreros cannot be folded for travel.

Notice the delicate colored woven patterns of the hats for decoration.


After the glazing, they are returned across the street for the final touches of trim, tassels and under-the-chin straps. These hats have a cloth edge finishing.


The black and white braid you see here is made from two colors of genuine horsehair.


Each hat calls for a specific adornment, depending on the style. This brown trim is hand punched cow leather and is attached with glue to the center seam of the hat. The horsehair braids are in the background waiting to be applied to the proper hat.





This particular hat, with its hard glazed finish, was very popular years ago, and was used for many things by the men who wore them. Since they held their form under all kinds of stress, abuse and weather, men would go to the market, buy the meat, fruit and vegetables they wanted and place them on the top of their hats to carry them home. Carmen Miranda had nothing on them!

This freed their hands up to either walk or to ride their horses back to the Ranchero.

On Sundays, if there were no seats available in the pews at church, a man would place his hat on the floor and use it as a stool. It would easily hold his weight and still keep its shape, they were that strong and durable.


These hats of yore were so indestructible, they were virtually like a helmet. If a rider was thrown from his horse, the hat would hit the ground first, protecting the rider's head from being split in the fall. At the time, the hats sold for about $100, and a man only need purchase one in a lifetime.

Here, Roberto Avila, the owner, is proudly wearing another sombrero style that his factory offers.

Roberto is known all over town for his passion and patience in making hats. In fact, the story goes that the women in the city were very aware of his reputation and valued this same passion and patience for their own reasons (!)


Here you see Senor Billy, and Senor Dennis wearing hats made in Roberto's factory. When we asked Roberto why he doesn’t still make those very durable hats today he laughed. He explained that he wouldn’t still be in business! These modern hats of today are more affordable and stylish, running about 120 to 180 Pesos. This way a man could have several in a lifetime keeping supply and demand in a comfortable ratio.


Father and daughter. Daniela is 4th generation in the hat making business and she is certain to keep alive the tradition of fine quality in La Providencia hats.

If you go to Sahuayo, make a stop to La Providencia

Bolivar #156
Colonia Centro
C.P. 59000 Sahuayo, Michoacan
Tele; (353) 5320650
(353) 532 0239

About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on

Retire Early Lifestyle appeals to a different kind of person – the person who prizes their independence, values their time, and who doesn’t want to mindlessly follow the crowd.

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