Brief: My failure in the hat space lead to a collaboration with Lost Hat Co that solved a ton of issues for me. To shop/checkout our collaboration here is the link: www.losthat.com/products/the-patchery-jaybo-art
If you've been following my Instagram account for over a year, you know that I have failed at producing hats myself. I found the perfect blank hats and purchased several hundred blanks. Then I bought patches separately and decided I would hire a local seamstress to put them on as they were ordered on my website. This did not go as planned...
First off, the seamstress came highly recommended with a quick turnaround time. Second, I thought it was going to cost $1-2 per hat to have the patches sewn on. I believe they charged me $4 per hat if I had all 250 hats done by them. I told them that was crazy and continued to shop around, and after calling up 4 other businesses who wanted to charge $8-$15 a hat just to sew on one patch, I was back and decided to give them a try. They said they would have all the hats finished within 5 business days.
So I started selling these hats, and they were going semi viral. 5 days had gone by and I never heard from the seamstress, so I went up there to check it out. They had only done maybe 25 hats so they said give them another week. My customers are getting mad waiting, so I go up there after another week and this time they only had 100 hats done. I checked them out and they were awful!! Pin holes in all the patches, stitch lines going all over the patches, and most were crooked.
I ended up attempting to do damage control by offering discounts, refunds, etc. I also attempted to heat press the patches on the hats as well, but that was more difficult than I thought. They seemed good while I was doing them but most of my customers let me know they were falling off.
So after spending so many hours and so much money up front, refunding and giving discounts... I barely broke even if you don't count my labor.
Now, when I call this a failure I don't mean that it was detrimental and I'm all depressed about it. I simply mean that my expectation was XYZ, and XYZ did not happen the way I planned. This is a great thing! Failure, especially in business, is like a split test that just gets you closer to the right formula. Failing as much as I can afford is the best thing I can do. It means I had the guts to try, and now I have a real world test that I can learn so much from.
Knowing just how much it takes to do something as simple as try to make awesome hats one at a time is very difficult if you don't have the right equipment and team. I wasn't committed enough at that time to buy a special sewing machine for hats and learn how to sew, and spend the time myself to sew each one on.
March- July 2023
Luckily, the blank hat company that I used and sold so many hats kept a good relationship with me and reached out to do a collaboration. The collaboration features 5 of my designs on patches and Lost Hat Co blanks hats. On their website, it allows each customer to pick a patch and put it on any of their blanks. This is exactly what I was trying to do before. The difference is that Lost Hat Co has a professional facility to decorate hats, has a team to fulfill orders, and technical resources that was able to put together the incredible product page.
My failure in the hat space lead to a collaboration with Lost Hat Co that solved a ton of issues for me. I have no problem supporting and telling everyone about a great hat company that has helped me a ton as well!
To customize your own Lost Hat Co blank with one of my patch designs, you can go to their website: