A glimmer of hope is always welcome in a year like this that started out looking so shaky. Well we are more than half way through the dog days of summer and economic forecasts are looking far more optimistic. Expectations for fall fashion business are making major strides forward. But we don’t have to wait for fall to enjoy an upturn in business because wholesale hats are on a big upward swing now and have shown remarkable strength all summer.
First let’s look at wholesale dress hats. Dress hats start off the spring season with Easter and Mother’s Day the two big events for dressy hat sales. But as the summer moves along demand continues, but the supply of wholesale dress hats dwindles. This is especially true this year because of cautious buying and low inventory levels for retailers and wholesalers alike.
Demand for white church hats is especially good with many special functions in the summer calling for these dressy hats. Classy trimmed polypropylenes provide the traditional straw look that enjoys steady popularity dating back to the mid-twentieth century. We have stocked both trimmed and untrimmed white dress hats deep because we never seem to have enough to meet the mid-summer demand. Here is an excellent opportunity for you to improve your summer sales by filling the vacuum for summer church hats.
An even greater demand is in casual hats. Year-to-Date statistics show casual hats within a whisker of 2007 volume and that was a record year. This is terrific in a year when almost all categories are well behind 2007 volume. The same statistics show that cowboy hats are leading casual hat sales with 46% of the market. So fashion forecasters can quit writing the obituary on this American icon that continues to be a consumer favorite.
What styles of cowboy hats are retailers finding move fastest? Distressed straws—that well worn look—lead wholesale cowboy hats that are shipping. Pinch front styles with shapeable brims are best here. Some prefer simple bands while others like the individualism that special bands can create—hatbands with the look of leather, conchos, turquoise, or wood beading.
Actually western hat bands themselves are a niche market with decent demand and practically no competition. So adding western hat bands to your selection of cowboy hats makes you look more specialized and gives your customers a creative way to achieve the rugged individualism that a cowboy hat stands for.
Now back to the hats. While distressed straws are the wholesale cowboy hats we ship in the greatest quantity, they are not the whole story. Natural straws are very good as well and colors still have plenty of demand and dwindling supply. The demand comes not only from individuals that prefer color in cowboy hats, but from organizations and groups as well. Black and white are always good. Pink cowboy hats are popular for breast cancer awareness walks; red for red hatters; fashion colors for cheerleader squads, majorettes, or band members. Color can also designate a group such as school colors for fans at a sporting event. Dwindling supply is the result of many wholesalers and importers dropping out of the colored cowboy hat market because they viewed the western hat business as a fashion fad rather than a steady market.
Is it a steady market? A few years ago J-Lo and Brittany appeared in shapeable straw cowboy hats and soon celebrities everywhere were wearing them, giving cowboy hat sales a huge shot in the arm. As celebrities moved on to fedoras, newsboys, and ivy caps, cowboy hats continued to lead causal hat sales because the rugged individualism these hats present just can’t be replaced. The cowboy hat is an American icon that immediately calls up the romantic imagination of the Wild West. The total feeling is hard to express, but it includes individualism, attitude, survival, toughness, and a code of chivalry.
Cowboy hats are still the preferred headwear of many celebrities and nearly all country music artists. Cowboy hats are everywhere at rodeos, horse shows, and country music concerts. And you can’t go to a festival, beach, or summer sporting event that you don’t see them. Yes cowboy hat sales have a steady future in sales because the headwear that can compete with them for individual personality has not been designed yet.
Tomorrow Part 2 of causal hats that sell right now.