Have you ever owned a Made in Canada hat before?
Go take a look at some of the hats you own. Where are they made? Most likely, they are made from either China or the Middle East. That's just where most hats are made. Check your favourite sports team hat or your favourite lifestyle brand. We can almost guarantee that no matter where you got your hat or what brand it is, it is most likely not made here in Canada. Even some of the most iconic Canadian brands don't make their hats here.
Why not? Because a low-cost hat can be made for a fraction of the cost overseas compared to what it would cost to make here. A hat here in Canada can cost anywhere from 5x-20x more per hat to be made than the low-quality version of the same hat made overseas. We know this because, for the longest time, that's exactly where we got our hats made. We wanted to be like everyone else and find a low-cost hat to manufacture and sell for 5 times what we paid for it. After a while, we realize that getting our hats made overseas for cheap was not in line with who we wanted to be as a brand, one that stood for quality and positively impacted our community.
We decided that if we wanted to be a truly local company, we need to get our hats made somewhere that adhered to strict Canadian environmental and labor laws, employed Canadians, and actually made the hats here in Canada. So we went looking for a good ol' fashioned Canadian hat manufacturer. We knew that we would be making far less than what we used to make on hats and nowhere near what other companies were making on headwear, but we knew it was the right path forward.
When we decided to make the switch to made in Canada, we had already researched and mapped out how the transition would affect our core garments like sweaters, hoodies and t-shirts. We got samples, tested them for quality, sent them around to friends and family for their thoughts, and felt pretty confident that we could make this switch without too much difficulty.
Not so much with our hats. Easily our second most popular item, after crewneck sweaters, our YYC and CAN Snapback hats were popping up all over the country. We knew that they had to be a big part of our product offering if we wanted to make the switch to made in Canada. We thought we would be able to as easily find a made in Canada version of our Snapback just as we did with our textile garments.
Finding a Canadian manufacturer of hats was incredibly difficult. It took us over six months before we could even hear back from one that we contacted, which was such a stark contrast to before, where every day we were (and still are) getting spammed with hundreds of emails from hat manufacturers overseas begging to make hats for us in all sorts of styles, no minimums, fast deliveries etc. We did eventually find the right Canadian hat manufacturer, though. They were a 2nd generation, family-owned and run operation that has been making high-quality hats for many different iconic brands, organizations, and even Canadian police and military.
The best part about making the hats here in Canada was that we actually got to go visit the workshop and see how the hats were being made first hand. Have you ever seen how hats are made? There are a ridiculous amount of components, steps and various people and skills involved to produce a single hat. From the cutters, sewers and quality control to the pieces of plastic in the brim, the smartie on top, to how each hat has to be steam fitted. It was incredible. There was machinery that was over a hundred years old that was involved in the process that is so reliable, and the technique hasn't changed since they are still used today. At the same time, there was new computer ran machines that could increase the efficiencies and output of the hats tenfold and were working simultaneously next to the hundred-year-old machines.
It was frustrating initially because we were so used to working with overseas manufacturing, which provided low minimum orders and fast turnaround times to instead work with a Canadian manufacturer who required high minimum orders and took twice as long as their overseas counterparts. Once we saw the finished product, however, there was no denying the quality. These hats had better stitching, the embroidery was perfect, the fit outstanding. These were quality hats that were made right, made to last, and were worth the wait. We are so happy we found a quality Canadian-made hat that genuinely represented our values of quality, building community, and supporting Canadian manufacturing, jobs, standards, and local economies.
We are so happy that we finally get to share these amazing pieces of made in Canada manufacturing with you.
So next time you buy a new Canadian-made, Local Laundry hat, take a second to admire all the hard work and attention to detail that was taken to build this piece that truly represents where you come from and what values are important to you. Let us know what you think of them!
Check out our made in Canada hats below.