Products - How to Sell: Baseball Caps

Strategies For Marketing Hats

Baseball CapStrategies for marketing the most popular segment of the caps and hats category.

While baseball hats really used to be a one-size-fits-all category (not just in actual size, but in application and styles as well), the products have gone through many changes in recent years. The traditional view of a baseball hat only applying to certain sector of the sports promotion world is now way out of touch.

In reality, there are many versions, looks and features to consider – and the promotional application of baseball caps has become so varied that they can now be pitched to practically any market of demographic.

Caps can range in size, fabric, number of panels and types of bills and closures, and sectors ranging from education and events to manufacturing and automotive can have an interest. With such a wide range of applications, though, distributors need to know exactly what they’re offering to clients, as well as the possibilities that they can suggest. Here are some factors to consider when you’re pitching baseball caps today:

Custom vs. Ready-Made. A wealth of suppliers offer many inventoried styles, the benefits of which include quick fulfillment and plenty of affordable choices. Decoration, however, is more limited. By contrast, creating a cap from scratch can take much longer (eight weeks for samples and production, with up to another month for shipping), but offers a much more robust selection.

“Total customization or manufacturing from scratch is the better way to go when suggesting headwear as a promotional tool,” says Mitchell Krakower, president of Topwear International (asi/91430).

Popular Styles. Patterns and looks with a fashion-forward vibe add even more appeal. A recent trend report from SanMar (asi/84863) highlights Sporting Luxury – the intersection where fashion meets fitness. Camouflage is key for men, but with an upgrade such as the Sport-Tek CamoHex Cap (STC23). It’s a digital, tone-on-tone pattern rather than straightforward camo. Another trend: varsity designs. A varsity-style cap, like the NE206 from SanMar with a heathered melton wool crown and cotton twill bill, has an old-school collegiate vibe that’s definitely current for today’s young adults.

Performance. Active lifestyles demand active headwear. The Headsweats Race Hat (HDSW01) from alphabroder (asi/34063) is made from a proprietary performance knit fabric called Eventure.

“The fabric helps people perform at their best with Headsweats Perspiration Technology for wicking moisture,” says Lisa Maloney, senior account manager for Headsweats. “The fabric is lightweight (two ounces) and dries very quickly, which makes for great use in hot, sweaty conditions, as well as ease of washing when the activity is completed. After it’s washed, the hat will be completely dry within a few hours.”

Decoration. Screen-printed transfers, laser etching, patches and more are all viable decoration options, but “the most popular decoration on caps is still embroidery,” says Catherine Kelly Epstein, business development manager at Fersten Worldwide (asi/53974). “Flat and 3-D embroidery are the most popular. Depending on the logo, we are also seeing increased demand for light back-fill embroidery, 3-D puff with bean stitching, 3-D puff outline embroidery and crisscross embroidery.”