Il Cappellaio Soddisfatto
Enrico Busto was born in Venice and spent his childhood playing beach volleyball , soccer and making skateboards. In 2001 he vacationed in California for the summer in search of his calling, a trip that would forever change his trajectory. As a teenager and into his university years, he played beach volleyball every weekend in Jesolo. Upon graduating in 2004 with a degree in Business Administration from Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, he had the opportunity to merge his field of study with his personal passion and became the director of the Italian Beach Volleyball Championship and the World Tour Italian Open, organized by the media company RCS- La Gazzetta dello Sport for over 10 years. He continued his professional path as a Marketing and Communication Director for two Italian Serie A soccer teams, Atalanta and Palermo. After working what many would consider “dream jobs,” he was pretty unsatisfied with his path and decided to leave everything behind and search for a new one. He moved to Los Angeles. He found early opportunities, joining a tech startup and doing marketing consulting…but it started to feel like the life he had just left behind. Fueled by the creative energy of Los Angeles, the freedom he felt in California and his latent artisan talents, he decided to pursue a passion that had been dwelling inside of him for a long time. He started to make hats from his home studio and acquire clients by the good vibes word-of-mouth that fuels many businesses in his now hometown of Topanga, CA. Today he has a successful boutique in the middle of Topanga Canyon where he handcrafts custom hats for all kinds of clients including Vasco Rossi, Joe Bastianich and John Densmore, the legendary drummer of the Doors. On any given day in Topanga, Enrico can be seen cruising his vintage Triumph motorcycle or 1976 Cadillac El Dorado on his dream commute from his hilltop home to his charming Busto and Sun outpost in the town center.
On my best days, I wake up and make a cappuccino first. Sometimes my wife and I like to listen to Buongiorno a Te by Pavarotti during morning coffee. I’ll drop my daughter off at pre-school in Topanga and then head to Surfrider in Malibu to catch a few waves…I’m working on my turns right now. I open the shop at noon and spend the rest of the day meeting new people and creating little works of art.
There’s something in the air here that has always energized me. When I visited LA as a teenager, the energy and optimism of this place really gripped me and still hasn’t let go of me.
Well, my wife and I went on a hike in Topanga State Park many years ago when I was struggling to define my path. We went up the mountain with a question and came down with an answer…I would devote myself to making hats.
My outfit is pretty much my uniform. This particular shirt is a nod to the Venetian gondolier. My wife asks me why I always wear stripes and I always have to remind her that by blood is striped. The hat is a Busto original, Sage color with blue lightning bolt embroidery, and my scarf is just one of the many silks that I get to try out in my line of work. The locations are so special to me. The olive tree is also a Busto original. It’s in my front yard and was basically the reason that my wife and I decided to buy our house. It it a little bit of Italy, and reminds me of my paternal Apulian roots every time I got outside. The other location is the Topanga overlook that I visited during my young adult years, not knowing that one day my future home, my future store, my future life would all be right down the street.
I’m so lucky to work in a field where my Italian training, values and taste is appreciated and sought after. I love that ITALIANY.US is celebrating the Italian way of living and connecting the community. Thanks for that!
Oh, my greatest satisfaction is in turning a hat over so people can see the inside, the detail, the quality, the craftsmanship. To bring true excellence to a craft that people might not even think twice about is what being Italian is all about. To show people beauty in the details feels to me how I’m brining Italy with me wherever I go.