Pull a rabbit out of your hat. At the drop of a hat. As mad as a hatter. Throw your hat in the ring. Keep it under your hat. Old hat.
There are quite a few expressions about headwear. Some good, some bad. Perhaps it’s because there’s nothing like a favorite hat. For many, they’re collectibles, and the style options are constantly increasing. No doubt about it: People love a great hat.
“People tend to hang on to a cap and wear it,” says Yvette Acevedo, marketing manager for Otto International Inc. in Ontario, Calif. “There are so many options from inexpensive giveaway caps to custom caps that can be decorated endlessly. The creativity nowadays is virtually limitless.”
With the inherent love of headwear, the immense options and the opportunity for large orders, headwear makes for great promotions, too. “It provides an ideal billboard to promote names, logos and ideas to the masses,” says Mark Stern, vice president of sales for Hicksville, N.Y.-based Flexfit.
The visibility is often cited as one of the advantages of headwear promotions. “It’s one of the few promotional products that is worn in a location that is prominently visible across all ages and genders,” adds Janet Franklin, marketing manager with Outdoor Cap Co. in Bentonville, Ark. “Headwear is such a reflection of an individual’s identity that it’s easy to translate an event’s or a company’s identity by selecting the right headwear for their promotional tool.”
Typically, when we think of hats, we picture the baseball variety. But markets that require something out of the ordinary can still find a great headwear promotion with cowboy hats, foam sports-themed selections, beanies, top hats, straw caps or visors – just to name a few. Often, the more niche varieties are not the biggest sellers, but they can hit just the target your client is aiming for.
With so many options available for the most popular headwear varieties, you’ve got to be on top of the latest fashions. “Today’s trends range from comfortable worn looks, with distressed visors and garment washed materials to performance materials,” Acevedo says.
Suppliers report that people are also leaning toward anything eco-friendly. “Sustainable headwear is the buzz right now,” Franklin says. “Not only is it cool to go green, but wearing stylish headwear made from sustainable materials is a way for individuals to identify themselves with the movement and still maintain their individuality.” Additionally, knit beanies for men and women of all ages are seen almost everywhere, regardless of the season, she adds.
Fortunately, headwear has proven to appeal to a broad range of clients – immense options provide something for everyone. “I would be hard-pressed to name an industry that hasn’t chosen headwear for a promotional item at one time or another,” Franklin maintains. “However, industries that require headwear as a part of their uniform tend to be large-volume purchasers, as well as businesses that deal in agriculture and farm-related industries.”
Acevedo, too, sees a great demand for headwear from industrial companies which use them for promotional and internal use. But don’t forget about sporting events and teams. “Also events such as marathons and tournaments utilize headwear as a promotional product,” she says.
Stern also suggests marketing headwear to beverage companies, skateboarding and action-sports companies, as well as new fashion and apparel entrepreneurs.
Still unsure how to pitch hats? The experts are always willing to chime in for a little help. But selling tips tend not to differ much from the tips you’ll hear for selling other products. Namely, it’s about good service. “Provide customer service, proper attention and, of course, know the market your customer is promoting to,” Stern says.
Franklin, too, points out that your common sense distributor skills will go a long way when selling headwear. “Know your customer’s needs and tell the truth,” she says. “The value of the headwear is more than the price; it’s the service, the quality, the style, the fit and the ability to provide options that best meet the customer’s definition of value.”
Acevedo has another sly suggestion: Get the cap pre-decorated with your client’s logo. “Many times, customers need to see and feel their personalized product before being sold with the idea,” she says. “If distributors can be ahead of the request, they are sure to make a sale.”
This article written by Debrah Rosen for Corporate Logo Magazine. Reprinted with permission.