From an early age, Thom enjoyed working with his hands. Surrounded by his family's various projects, textiles and hand-crafts became a part of his vernacular. His mother a talented dressmaker and creative, encouraged her offspring to be open-minded enough to try anything once and to enjoy the process of learning. In doing-so, Thom cultivated a love of and eye for vintage textiles and patterns, not being afraid to use the knowledge he gained to experiment with new techniques. A jack-of-all-trades, permaculture-based gardening, furniture-building, and the art of traditional Japanese food became his passion. To this day, Thom believes that if someone else did it with their hands, then with the right tools and patience he could learn to do it too. 

cowboy hat making

As the creative mind behind Bona Capello, Thom's vision is to create a product the same way it was made at the turn of the 20th century, when quality was at its peak, crafting each hat to ideally outlast the head it was made for.

custom hat making machine

After traveling Japan, the USA and South America in 2008, Thom fell in love with the idea of bespoke headwear. Inspired by the hats worn by the Hasidic Jewish community in New York, fashionista kids of Tokyo and the working-class women of Ecuador and Bolivia, Thom returned home and began to research the art and history of hat making across Europe and the Americas. Over time, Thom collected the antique hat forms and hand tools required to fashion hats using traditional techniques. 

Man with coyboy hat

After much trial and error, Thom settled into a comfortable rhythm of pulling and shaping the hats and then focussed his attention on fine-tuning the trim and interiors of his hats. Known for his exceptional attention to detail, Thom’s ambition and determination has proven to be a force to be reckoned with. A true romance man, the love of his craft shines through in everything he does - the smell of damp felt and bursts of hot steam, the antique tools – well-made and still functional after 100+ years of storage in the attics of French and German villages, the simple pleasure of crafting bespoke headwear and the thrill of seeing it worn, with pride.
In late 2014, Thom saw an opportunity to expand his market and client base to Japan and made the move to Tokyo, producing several collections for boutique brands such as Bedwin and the Heartbreakers and Takashi Kumagai’s Naissance label. Bona Capello has grown with Japanese and global customers, creating one-of-a-kind, highly detailed headwear for a discerning client-base who appreciate that style and quality should always go hand-in-hand.

The name itself, Bona Capello comes from Polari, the language of the British theatre and music halls a century ago: around the same time many of the tools and forms Thom uses every day were made and so, the brand was named 'Bona Capello', slang for good hat: Honest, simple and bold.