Wholesale hats flow out to retailers across the States and around the globe. What is so intriguing about wholesale hats that stock the retail shops? Why can’t customers pass them by without trying them on, even it is only for fun?
Wholesale hats provide personality, individualism, and character. Yes, but we already know that. The deeper attraction is identification with heroes. Hats define so many heroes and retailers provide the statement that helps the common person identify with the heroes in their lives. Before you write this off as a plug for wholesale hats, read on and see if your heroes aren’t here.
First there’s the cowboy hat. These wholesale hats reach every age group. The older generation remembers John Wayne, Marshal Matt Dillon, and Captain Gus from Lonesome Dove. Maybe their interests go deeper to historical figures like Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp, or Buffalo Bill. The hat that dominates this look is the creation of John B Stetson who defined cowboy hats with his original design that he named “Boss of the Plains”. This wide brim felt with a high creased crown replaced the mix match of hats cowboys wore up until then and reached such popularity that Stetson was making over two million hats a year by 1886. This was the hat nearly every cowboy mentioned above wore and the style their admirers want today.
These are the heroes and cowboy hats that appeal to middle age and up, but what about the young? They have another set of heroes you find on MTV or in country music. When J-Lo and Britney Spears showed up in rolled straw cowboy hats a rage swept the country for this headwear. Do you think rolled straw cowboy hats on Willy Nelson and even more current, Kenny Chesney and Jessica Simpson don’t effect what their fans wear? Quite the contrary! Country music fans are big into the cowboy hats that look good on their idols.
Now what about the golfers? By the early 20th century, this sport so captivated public interest that the Sears & Roebuck catalog had pages of golf hats that looked like oversized newsboys. For Ben Hogan it was this or an ivy cap. Sam Snead was a fedora man and Greg Norman put the Aussie on the world map. How many seniors do you see on the golf course wearing the hat that made their favorite golfer look good? The connection between headwear and heroes seems to run so deep you never outgrow it.
The sports connection with hats doesn’t end there. Baseball caps need no introduction. This is the hat that everybody feels comfortable wearing today. When every man wore a fedora with his suit in the forties and fifties, all-stars like Ted Williams, Stan Musial, and Mickey Mantle were looking good in their ball caps and had a huge fan club. By the sixties fedoras were tossed aside and the cool headwear was ball caps. Since then ball caps haven’t missed a lick.
The there’s football fans. Coach Bear Bryant at Alabama and Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys probably inspired more guys to wear herringbone or houndstooth fedoras than all the advertising of Madison Avenue.
Next comes the movies that are always delivering a fresh batch of heroes. Indiana Jones is back at the theaters and even Cracker Barrel restaurants are selling adult size Indiana Jones fedoras. And the Great Gatsby? Fans go for the oversized ivy cap. Don’t forget Rocky in his porkpie. For the women, Angelina Jolie fans will have to have a cloche after they see The Changeling. Movies make a huge impact on hats and fashion in general.
Then there’s the vintage crowd and those that remember hats that mom and dad or grandma and grandpa wore. This stuff is soaked in happy childhood memories that wholesale hats revive-fedoras for men from the forties or fifties, pillboxes for ladies from the same era. What about those old family photos with cloches? When anyone sees a hat that rings a bell with childhood memories, they have to comment, they have to try it on, and often they have to buy it.
OK, kids don’t know anything about these hats, but they sure know celebrities. Think this doesn’t provide heroes that wholesale hats fulfill? You know it does-J-Lo’s wide brim floppy hat, Hillary Duff’s ivy cap, Britney’s fedora, or Brad Pitt’s newsboy. Here’s a wholesale hat market that goes on, and on, and on like the pink bunny.
So why do some of the wholesale hats that ship to wholesalers blow out while others hardly sell? Take cowboy hats in 2007. Many wholesalers as well as retail shops sold more cowboy hats in 2007 than any other style. Yet department stores reported cowboy hats as their worst performer in headwear. It comes back to knowing your market and playing to them. You wouldn’t expect the shopper searching for Ives St Laurent to be trying on rolled straw cowboy hats. By the same token, trendy shops catering to the young waste space displaying dress hats. Hats have to fit the market and relate to the heroes of that age group.
Somehow hats, more than any other accessory, help the average person take on the aura of bigger than life personalities that touch them. Often conscious, sometimes sub-conscious, the consumer gravitates to the hats that identify them with their heroes.