To say that Kathy Hattaway is a native Floridian is understating the matter. Try sixth-generation native. Hattaway’s mother’s family were homesteaders; they’ve lived in Polk County since the early 1800s, pre-statehood.
Though Hattaway was far removed from the days before Central Florida had air conditioning, and likely quite grateful, she enjoyed her childhood immensely.
“It was an extremely stable environment,” says the longtime land planner, and now Planning Group Leader at Poulos & Bennett since October 2016. “You grew up and went to school with people from elementary school all the way through high school graduation. Growing up in a small town in the ‘60s and ‘70s, everyone knew everyone else’s kids and what they were up to and kept an eye on you. It definitely took a village to raise us all, and that’s how it worked.”
What they were up to was a lot of time outside. “Riding our bikes, playing pick-up games of football and baseball in the vacant land around our houses….” Hattaway stayed active in high school, as well, with competitive tennis and leisure-time water skiing on order. The lakes’ natural residents were of no concern to any of these seasoned Florida kids. “We were certainly aware there were water moccasins and alligators, but when you’re young you just go out there and have fun.”
Politics was an early interest – Hattaway was active in high school student government and served as aides to both a Congressman and state Senator after getting her undergraduate degree in political science. But she transitioned from government relations and lobbying into the homebuilding industry early on, and in the process fell in love with real estate development.
“It was an absolute perfect fit,” she told Growthspotter recently. “I enjoy being around Type A personalities, which real estate developers typically are. They’re risk takers and entrepreneurs and I’ve always had that entrepreneurial spirit.”
It’s a trait Hattaway says she picked up from her mother, who was a small business owner herself, running their small town’s general store which sold clothing and fabric. After working for Walt Disney Company for eight years as the town of Celebration was developed, Hattaway started her own consulting firm in HCI Planning, a business that lasted 13 year before Poulos & Bennet acquired it in 2016.
Hattaway was charged with heading up their planning group – an exciting new chapter – but it hasn’t kept her from getting another business going, one she also credits to mom, a vintage goods enthusiast.
“Mom loved and collected antiques, primarily glass and furniture,” she explains. “These didn’t really appeal to me, but I definitely think I inherited some gene of hers that loves things from the past.” Hattaway also inherited mom’s costume jewelry.
“I wore a few pieces on occasion, but mostly I kept it for sentimental reasons. Then one day I was reading an article about an online shop that sold vintage jewelry. I visited the site and thought, ‘Wow! I have a lot of similar pieces! This might be a great outlet for my interest in jewelry….’ But I didn’t want to collect and keep it, so I opened a shop on Etsy.”
Hattaway’s MidMod Treasures started with jewelry, then expanded.
“When you’re starting any kind of business, you kind of go in different directions until you really find your path,” she explains. “Over the past two to three years I’ve been doing this I narrowed my focus to vintage jewelry and accessories. Purses, in particular. I love purses!”
The passion, she says, is rooted mostly in the hunt: “Seeking out and going to estate sales and all kinds of thrift stores all over the state, looking for things that someone else will love.”
The 1950s and ‘60s are Hattaway’s designer sweet spot. And as someone who loves to entertain, she’s drawn to the era’s barware.
“Mostly the glassware, the martini mixers, the cocktail shakers, the ice buckets – things people had on their bars when they were playing Frank Sinatra on their record players.”
When Hattaway’s not out questing for treasure (she cites The Lovely Boutique Market in the Audubon Park Garden District and Etoile Boutique, a popular shop in the Milk District, as local favorites), she and husband Bill enjoy the outdoors, often via bicycle or paddleboard.
The hobby may come as a surprise to some of Hattaway’s colleagues. Her funky, vintage style doesn’t often show up in the workplace, where she favors more conservative dress.
“But I’ll sneak a piece or two in every now and then,” she laughs.