SPOD is a major player in the Print On Demand industry….
Let’s start by saying starting a hat or cap business isn’t as difficult as it may sound. Sure, you do need to do your homework, just like with any other business. But once you get everything sorted, your headwear label will start functioning like a well-oiled machine. This article will help you with that homework.
Keep in mind that hats are more than just a product to protect the head from sun exposure and other weather elements. They are a fashion statement. That means finding a trendy product will greatly improve your sales and give potential customers more reasons to purchase your hats.
Therefore, creating unique hats is essential for your success. Also, more variety in the styles you stock means you can cater to a wider target audience – thus providing a larger income for you.
Keep Your Day Job
Before you dive head first and start a hat company, a word of caution, keep your day job for as long as possible. The income from your current job will help with the startup costs of your hat business. This will relieve some of the financial pressure of launching a new company.
Furthermore, the average time to profitability for many small businesses is three to four years, and almost half of new businesses fail in the first five years.
Although working a regular job and side hustle can be challenging, it is a low-risk strategy. Mistakes aren’t catastrophic as your employment income gives you a safety net to pursue various opportunities. You can invest your employment income into operating costs and grow your business faster.
With that said, here’s how to start a hat company in eight steps.
Do a lot of research. Start by finding a niche market to target. Ideally, you want a market where there is a lack of product. Consider where your brand fits in the hat market and what styles you will go for with your designs. I reckon you can spend several weeks doing this.
Moreover, shop around for inspiration for your store and see what is in fashion and what’s not selling very well. Spotting trends that are on the rise is great, as you’ll be able to cater to a growing market that is yet to be dominated.
You also want to come up with custom hat designs and images that will be printed on your caps. This is a great way to stand out against the other hat brands out there.
2. Plan Your Store Design
If you intend to sell your hats or caps in a physical store and not just online, your research should extend beyond what is in fashion. Visit similar stores or stalls and pay close attention to the layout and design of the store, particularly how the stock is displayed.
This is a good way to get ideas on how to set up your store, how much space you may need, and how to best display the stock to grab the attention of passersby.
Attractive hat displays that highlight unique features attract attention and increase customers’ interest in your products.
Your business will require various permits to operate. The specific permits you need will depend on your location and business model. Contact your local business licensing agents (which could be a government agency or chamber of commerce) for information on which business licenses you need.
Registering your business comes with several advantages. For instance, you’ll be certified as a trusted seller, legally protected from copyright infringement of your custom designs, and shielded from tax evasion penalties.
If you can afford it, invest in the services of a good accountant. Their advice will be invaluable, particularly with the launch of the business, and you can always claim the fee back on next year’s tax return.
Logos are a critical part of your brand’s visual identity. Not only does it help your customer base identify and recognize you, but it also reflects your values.
Design a catchy logo that complements your business name. Your logo needs to be unique to stand out. If you want to have it printed on the hats you design, be sure the colors are neutral and won’t be difficult for your printing company to match.
If you’re unsure about your logo, hiring a professional could well be worth the expense. The logo is arguably one of the most important aspects of a fashion brand, so don’t rush this step and consider it carefully.
5. Source Suppliers
It’s necessary to source reliable suppliers, especially if you plan on producing a lot of stock. These include private label manufacturers, screen printing companies, distributors, and e-commerce vendors.
Securing a printing company is vital if you intend to sell hats with your unique designs. You need a company that can translate your dream into a reality by delivering quality products. Acme Hat is the perfect choice for this. We specialize in creating premium custom hats of all types. Whether it’s a custom snapback, baseball, trucker, or 5-panel hat, we’ve got you covered. We also provide different style options, ranging from cotton twill to cotton mix. Plus, we can get your artwork and logos to stand out through 3D embroidery.
Check out our incredible portfolio of custom hats we’ve helped make a reality.
6. Try Online Stores
Even if you intend to set up a small store or stall in your local shopping center, it’s still an excellent idea to sell your stock online. More than 2.14 billion people worldwide shop online, bringing an estimated $6.15 trillion. E-commerce is simply too big for you to ignore.
Having an online presence not only gives your products a wider reach. You can utilize digital marketing strategies to build a stronger brand and get more people interested in buying your stuff.
Create a beautiful website to showcase your fashion brand and product designs. You can use an e-commerce platform like Shopify or hire a website designer. Don’t forget to incorporate your brand identity into the web creation.
The website of legendary cowboy hat maker Stetson showcases the brand’s authentic Americana brand identity in rich earth tones and outdoor images.
Consider third-party platforms, like Etsy, where you can sell your products online. Share the URL with friends and online communities to start building interest for your online hat business among your target audience.
7. Look for the Right Spot
If you want to set up a physical store, look at a good range of different premises in different areas to get an idea of what’s available. Although you may be excited to launch your hats business, the space from which you sell will impact your success dramatically.
Think carefully about the space, what shops are around it, and how easily passersby can access the store. It’s worth spending time near the store and seeing how much traffic passes throughout the day.
Once you’ve found your space, consider what decor will make your store appealing in its surroundings. Choose a color scheme that complements your business logo or the dominant colors in your branding designs. Don’t forget liability and contents insurance! Both are necessary for a business owner.
8. Start Advertising
Once you’re set up and ready to open, begin advertising your store. It could be in the form of advertisements in the local paper, fliers in letter boxes, or social media marketing. Create social media accounts and encourage your friends to share the news.
Top hat brands like New Era use Instagram to showcase their exclusive designs.
Source online communities and groups interested in your products, and share your website. You can also partner with complementary brands and stores and see if you can reach an agreement to market each other’s products on social media platforms.
Influencer marketing is another effective way to get immediate access to thousands of potential customers.
There’s no better time to get into the hat market than today. However, many potential business owners don’t know how to start a hat company and become overwhelmed with the technical aspects of launching a new business venture.
Lucky for you, we broke the process into eight essential steps. First, research your niche market to find gaps your brand can fill. Next, create a plan that outlines your designs, store layout, logos, and website. You must also secure business permits and reliable suppliers to ensure your operation runs smoothly. Finally, promote your brand both online and offline.
So, there you have it, the basic steps of starting your headwear brand. Ready to get started? Click the big orange button below and hit us up!