Hat Business: How to Start a Hat and Cap Business

Hats are worn for protection from the elements and are a fashion statement. There are two major sectors when it comes to this venture. These are the hat making sector and  merchandising business.
Selling hats is big business because they are used for various occasions and seasons. We have sports related hats, fashion, practical, and high society ones. Others are for religious worship, funny and elaborate hats.
makers concentrate on the manufacturing process. They design them for all occasions including different kinds of head-wear.
The job of a Milliner is to design create and manufacture. Millinery apart producing them can open a millinery shop to sell their finished products.
Top manufacturers focus on exportation business end of the market. A millinery shop can diversify into other products like garments, caps, shirts, and cloaks. 
The word  was a reference to Milliner manufactures that design, trim and make hats for women and girls. The word milliner evolved from Milan a high fashion capital of the world.
About Hats
They are generally worn for protection from the elements and as a fashion Accessory.
They have become very popular with high society, sports wear and leisure outfits. Many designers contribute immensely to the fashion industry with amazing creations.
The milliner uses his creativity and craftsmanship to design unique head-wear for all occasions. The gap between traditional milliners and cap makers seem to blur and fade. This is because creative designers do both traditional and modern hat and cap making.
A milliner can design to a specific need or mass produce a design. While cap makers are mostly into special branding and mass production of caps.
 Hat designers work on commissions while cap makers produce in mass based on contracts. The demand and supply chain dictates the production level of cap makers.
Some top cap companies rely on outsourcing their cap manufacturing process to foreign companies. This provides a great opportunity for domestic cap makers to earn foreign exchange.

woman in hat
Top Hat Makers
There are many innovative hat-makers making millions of dollars with their amazing designs and craftsmanship. Some focus on manufacturing wide-oval fitted hats that are ready to wear.
There is also the bowler hat created by James Lock Co and the famous Borsalino-fedora hat. Other notable designs are the cowboy and the Felt.

A list of notable milliners
John Boyd a London milliner
Stephen Jones an American
Rose Bertin known to work with celebrated fashion designers
Simone Jones another Londoner
David Shillings
Mr. John and Lily Dache to mention a few celebrated milliners

 List of styles
Hats come in different varieties, function and applications. They are practical, stylish, funny or contemporary and are highly favored by many people. Here are a few hat styles that caught our attention.
1             Balmoral bonnet is traditional Scottish cap worn to complement traditional Scottish outfits
2             Baseball cap a light cotton cap with a hard front flap
3             Bicorne a broad brim felt
4             Biretta  a square shaped cap
5             Boss of the plains is a light weight
6             Bowler hats a hard felt
7             Cappello romano a wide brimmed hat worn by roman catholic clergy
8             Chengziguan a Chinese traditional horse hair
9             Conical Asian is well known in Southeast Asia
10          Fascinator a small hat made from feathers
11          Deerstalker a close fitted tweed
12          Gat a traditional Korea
13          Half-hat
14          Halo-hat
15          Homburg hat is a  medium brim crown
16          Kolpik a large brown fur
17          Kufi a short round brimless cap
18          Montera the Bull fighters
19          Panama hat is an Ecuadorian straw
20          Cowboy hat favored by American cowboys   
21          Ayam Traditional Korean cap worn by writers
22          Akubra is an expressive Australian bush
23          Beanie cap is a silly cap worn by school boys
24          Bearskin is a tall furry hat worn by the brigade of Guards in London, England
25          Beret is a woolen felt tight fitted brimless headband associated with military wear
26          Breton has a round crown and deep brim turned upside down.
27          Capotain is an old English cap.
28          Cloche hat a bell shaped hat used in the 1920.
29          Custodian helmet is a traditional helmet worn by British constables.
30          Draped Turban are molded to the head and conceals the hair
31          Fez red felt cone shaped one
32          Hard hat rigid and rugged helmet favored by construction workers.
33          Mortarboard hat is an academic design with a flat square.
34          Porkpie a low fat, narrow rim felt
35          Rasta cap a colorful green, yellow, red and black cap worn by Rastafarians
36          Sailor hat a flat crowned, brimmed straw
37          Songkok a hat worn by Indonesian, Malaysia and Southern Thailand Muslims males
38          Sombrero a popular Mexican hat that has a conical shape and saucer shaped brim
39          Turban is more like a headdress than a cap. However it has an inner cap
40          Toque hat a funny looking conical hat worn by chefs

eskimo hat
How to Succeed as a Designer
The first step is to learn the trade and gain lots of practical millinery skills. The entrepreneur should be artistic and creative to get ahead in this business.
Other things to learn is color combinations and texture of materials used in making them.  The person needs to effectively analyze fabric, designs and the production process.
Apart from the technical and creative aspects of hat making there is the business side. The entrepreneur should acquire business knowledge and marketing skills.
You can succeed in this business if you have good designs and quality products. Try to understand the product and sales aspect of hat-making business.
woman in hat
Get Organized
Are you interested in the fashion industry then this is a god business to explore. You need to be good at designing, interpreting templates and fabric identification.
Hats have a lot to do with hand made craft so develop you handling skills. You also need to be abreast of the fast changing trends in hat making.
Get company registration for your business and essential tools of the trade. You can open a workshop or work from home.
Buy the necessary equipment's and source for your materials and goods. Get adequate financing for your business through bank loans and cooperative initiatives.
Don’t be afraid to get creative and try new patterns and designs. Don’t forget marketing which is and essential part of creating awareness about your product.
Things you need to make a Hat.
There are essential tool that you need to make your hat. The first thing you need is a hat mold, fabric, sewing implements and blocking. You need a machine to shape the hat, certain chemicals, embellishing items, dyes and trims.
Sales Outlets  
When you are ready to sell your hat there are a few sales options to consider.  You can use departmental stores, garment manufacturers or niche markets.
Another way is to open your own store to display your designs. Attend weddings and distribute your handbills and call cards to guests.
You can attend exhibitions, trade fairs and trade shows to showcase your products. Develop samples and prototypes to market your creations. Don’t forget the vast resources you get on the internet.
Build a website or blog to market your wears. You don’t even need an outlet if you use free classified websites to attract customers.
You can team up with cap wholesale distributors or create your own cap. Other methods to reach potential customers is through marketing
man wearing a cap
Marketing your Business
The most effective way to market your caps is through newspaper advertisements. A well worded advert with images of your products and contact information will bring in new customers.
Print hand bills, posters and business cards to reach more customers. There is nothing wrong in placing a cheap advertisement in a large churches bulletin.
Church members are known to have high patronage for hats.

How to Start a Making Hats
1 Learn as much as you can about the craft
There are many resources online including instructional videos and tutorials. Buy books on cap and hat making or read free publications.
Register as an apprentice to a celebrated milliner or find workshops and seminars.
2 Create a  business plan
Your hat making business plan should include a niche, target market and growth potential. Other things in your plan are product pricing, service and delivery, marketing, inventory and startup costs.
3 Get funding
You need adequate funding to buy equipment's, rent a workshop space and buy the cap materials. Get funding from trade banks, personal saving and family and friends. You can even try a venture capitalist or a silent partnership.
4 Obtain appropriate licensing
Your millinery business needs appropriate licensing from the regulatory agency in your locality. The next step is getting a registered business name for your brand. Other licenses you may need are resale license and DBA license.
5 Make a proper inventory
The inventory will direct your sales and supply including expenditure. Proper inventory taking is important to reduce wastage.
6 Create your masterpiece
Without a good product there is no business or sales. Work hard on the concept and design of your hats.
A good hat will attract other customers to your creations.
7 Open a sales outlet
If you have the capitals open a showroom to display your hats. Give free sample to notable socialites that love hats as a marketing tool.
Create a website to showcase your work and join craft fairs.
Approach storefronts and consign or sell your products.
Host hat parties and spread the word though social media channels.
old man in a cap
image by pixabay
If you are not interested in manufacturing hats then become a wholesaler or retailer. All you need to do is find a reputable manufacturer or dealer and buy your products.
Make sure your storefront is in a busy location to attract customers. It is important to do lots of visibility study and due diligence before starting the business venture.


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