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Elevating Your Hat Game: Innovative Decorating Techniques and Sourcing Strategies

Embracing the Power of Heat-Applied Patches

In the ever-evolving world of apparel decoration, the hat has emerged as a canvas for creative expression. Gone are the days when embroidery was the sole option for customizing headwear. Thanks to advancements in adhesive technologies and specialized hat presses, the possibilities for decorating hats are whatever you can dream up.

Ty Kain, of CRAFTED MFG in Denver, Colorado, has embraced these innovations with open arms. Ty found himself facing a challenge during the pandemic: a shortage of available headwear. This setback became the catalyst for Ty to take control of his hat production and explore new decorating techniques.

One of the game-changing discoveries for Ty was the world of heat-applied patches. From PVC and faux suede to woven and even combinations of sublimation and embroidery, the options for decorating hats have become truly limitless. Jenna Sackett of Stahls, a leading supplier of heat-applied solutions, explains the key to success: dual heat platens that sandwich the patch, curing the adhesive from the inside out.

This innovative approach not only allows for a broader range of decorative elements but also helps to protect the hat structure, avoiding the harsh creases that can occur with traditional hat pressing methods. Ty has embraced this technology, sourcing 75% of his PVC patches from overseas manufacturers and the remaining 25% through Stahls, all while maintaining the consistent quality his customers expect.

Navigating the Hat Sourcing Landscape

As a result of the shortages experienced in the early 2020s, Ty recognized the importance of taking control of his hat supply. Drawing from his experience of having his Richardson account abruptly cut off during the pandemic, Ty turned to Alibaba to explore overseas manufacturing options.

The key to success, Ty shares, lies in patience, diligence, and a willingness to invest in samples. Navigating the world of overseas sourcing can be daunting, but Ty’s advice is clear: spend the time to find the right manufacturer, pay attention to details like hat size, and be prepared to pay a premium for faster turnaround times.

Designing for Success

Ty’s approach to hat design is a testament to the power of collaboration. Ty has enlisted the help of a graphic designer on retainer, leveraging their expertise to elevate his hat designs.

Jenna echoes the importance of working with designers who understand the unique requirements of apparel decoration. She emphasizes the value of tapping into the resources and in-house design teams offered by suppliers like Stahls, ensuring that the final product not only looks visually stunning but is also production-ready.

Trends and Innovations in Hat Decoration

As the hat industry continues to evolve, Jenna and Ty have their fingers on the pulse of the latest trends and innovations. From the growing popularity of dimensional PVC patches to the emergence of woven patches that offer intricate detail, the decorative landscape is constantly expanding.

One particularly exciting trend is the combination of sublimation and embroidery, allowing for the creation of full-color gradients on a twill base, complemented by strategic embroidery accents. This mixed-media approach not only elevates the visual appeal but also opens up new creative possibilities for customization.

Unlocking the Potential of Hat Decoration

As the apparel decoration industry continues to evolve, the opportunities for hat customization have never been more exciting. From the versatility of heat-applied patches to the strategic sourcing of overseas manufacturing, the tools are available for savvy business owners to elevate their hat game and unlock new revenue streams.

Made with assistance from VideoToBlog


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