The Buying Process: Creating Custom Hats and Headwear


Today, we’re highlighting the process of creating custom headwear. From sourcing the correct product to understanding which imprints are workable, we’re reviewing every step to take you from idea to conception. If you’ve ever wanted to know the process behind custom headwear (and seriously, who doesn’t?), now’s your chance!

Before we dive into the process, let’s take a moment to understand the various reasons why someone might be interested in custom headwear. Hats and beanies are ideal for company uniform programs, starting or expanding merchandise lines, and as brand swag for employees. Creating a promotional product is a fantastic way to market your brand. In fact, of all the advertising channels available promotional products are the most cost effective way to reach targeted audiences. Choosing a category like headwear is also smart; studies show 25% of U.S. consumers own logo’d headwear, and each hat generates on average 2,999 impressions over its lifetime.




So you’re ready to start your headwear line? Great! Before we get to the design part let’s talk numbers. It’s important to have a budget in mind from the beginning. Doing so will help us narrow down the type of products that will work for your project. It helps us give you a realistic expectation of what your budget can get in terms of product choice and quality. Many clients are surprised to learn promotional products, including hats, come in a variety of options at every price point; the same style hat may be priced anywhere from $2.00 a unit to upwards of $20+ a unit, depending on a number of factors. Important considerations include how the products will be used and who the end consumer will be. Are you using your products as promotional premiums for events? Or will you be re-selling your items as part of a retail line? Your budget will need to reflect this consideration.




Now that you have your budget set, let’s get to the fun part: selecting your product! If you’re looking for a baseball hat for your project, do you want a standard 5-panel hat? Do you want a mesh panel? An adjustable fit or a fitted cap? If you’re going with a beanie, do you want a trendy thick cable knit or a standard acrylic beanie? Or are you looking for something completely unique? At this step, our product team will create a presentation of products that fit both your budget and your project goals. Like we mentioned above, it’s important to know what product tier works best for your project – low, mid, or high. Regardless, we advise clients to remember that this product represents your brand. It has your logo on it, doesn’t it? So, choosing to align your brand with a low-cost, low-quality item might not be the best choice. Think about choosing products you’ll be proud to share with consumers and that your customers will want to keep, wear, and use over and over.




On to the next step: the decoration. The design step is where clients are able to customize and differentiate their products. During the design step it’s important to first decide what image, logo, or text you’d like added to your headwear. Next, decide how many colors you’d like in the design. For example, if your logo has a one or two color option, which do you want to go with? Remember the more colors you add, the more complicated the artwork and the more expensive the end project will be. Additionally, there may be limitations in the types of imprints available based on the product you selected. If you picked an acrylic beanie, your decorating options are either direct embroidery or a sewn-in patch. If you do embroidery, you’ll likely be limited to three color lays. If you do a patch, we may have the ability to add more colors into the design.





Along with choosing what type of design you want added to your headwear, you’ll need to decide where you want to put it. Again, this is where you can get creative! Based on the product you select, there will be different imprint areas available. For example, many baseball and trucker-style hats have the ability to be imprinted on various surfaces; on the front panel, side panel, front brim, underneath the brim, etc. Don’t worry, if you can’t decide which spot works best you can typically do multiple spots. The more imprinted your hat, the more it stands out as a design created uniquely for your company and your project. Remember, our Brand+Aid design team is always available to help you come up with a badass design for your headwear collection.




Last but not least, once your hat is done it’s time to rock it! Whether you’ve created your headwear piece as a promotional item, for company team wear or as part of a retail collection, it’s time to showcase your hat and build brand awareness with consumers. For promotional use consider tracking ROI on your hat (check out this article for a handy how-to guide on tracking ROI). If you’re selling your headwear be sure to use digital strategies to drive sales. And, if you’re using your headwear as a way to reward and thank employees, create a rewards program! If you need help, give us a call 323-800-2241 or shoot us an email at


Brand+Aid is a promotional marketing agency based in Salt Lake City, Utah and Los Angeles, California. We turn ideas into tangible, fun experiences through experiential advertising. Have an idea you’d like to make happen? Contact our rescue team for a free consultation today at 323-800-2241 or shoot us an email at For more information, check out our website:

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