There was a time when everyone wore a hat. It was an essential part of any well-dressed person’s ensemble and a necessary to keep the head and body warm. Hats are no longer worn as often, but there are still consumers who love a good topper. Create a business plan that will help crystallize the kind of hat business you want to start.
Start a Hat Business
Determine the kind of business you'll start, whether a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a corporation. Work with an attorney to legally incorporate your business and set up tax practices. Once the business is legally set up, you can begin creating a business strategy.
Determine your product line by answering some basic questions. Are you the hat designer? You must create designs and have them produced. How will you source materials for your hats? Will your business sell custom, one-of-a-kind hat designs or will you mass-produce hats that you will sell to department and specialty stores? You may need to identify manufacturers for your hats. Another option is to import ready-made hats from China or another country and act as a reseller. Visit www.hatlife.com for a directory of hat suppliers, manufacturers, importers and exporters.
Determine the pricing strategy for your hat business. Your prices will be influenced by the cost of materials and production, including labor and the administrative costs of running your business. You must determine a fair profit margin and add that to your costs to set a price. How do your hats’ prices, quality and style compare with competitors'? Adjust your prices to be competitive, but be sure you are making an acceptable profit.
Develop your distribution strategy. Do you see your hats as custom designs or do you want to mass-produce them and have them carried by such mass merchandisers as Target or Saks Fifth Avenue? Contact those stores' apparel buyers to show samples of your products.
Determine your plan for marketing your hats. You might want to hold a fashion show at a local church, or for a women’s organization if your hats are designed for women. If you are both the designer and producer of your hats, you might want to try to get a few of them into a specialty apparel shop.
Have some high-quality photos taken of your hats. Use them to make postcards or a small catalog you can leave with apparel buyers.