New Era Cap
You can’t have a conversation about fitteds, snapbacks, or dad hats and not have New Era Cap included. The company’s been around since 1920 and is world-renowned for its 59fifty. With either one of its retail accounts or one of its own flagship stores on every continent that leaves a giant footprint when it comes to worldwide branding and hat sales. Over the years, New Era Cap became the Nike of hats. It was until recently that they had competitors because in the arena of fitted hats it has no current competitor. Yesterday doesn’t promise tomorrow so we’ll just have to see.
New Era Cap is and has been the official cap of the MLB for quite some time now. This affiliation with different the sports leagues is vital to New Era Cap, without them, they wouldn’t be anywhere near their current size in terms of number of hats they make each year. The company has been riding on trend after trend starting with the fitted trend in the 2000’s and then snapbacks and a little bit of bucket hats and now dad hats. Talk about a winning streak.
New Era Cap’s fan base
New Era Cap has millions of fans from all parts of the world. It’s a given that they have great hats. They use the best materials and a great unique pattern on their 59fifty fitted that no one’s been able to match. While dad hats are popular now and other headwear brands are able to capitalize on it, New Era Cap is not only serving the dad hat demand but is simultaneously serving its die hard fitted and snapback fans. This is a blessing for fitted fans since New Era Cap continues to make what they want whereas other companies have completely jumped ship and are only making dad hats or slouches.
New Era Cap has its headquarters in Buffalo, NY and for decades they were manufacturing all of their hats in their USA base but since about 2009, they have taken the vast majority of their production to China. Some have criticized the company for moving their production overseas because they felt that New Era Cap’s production methods would be exposed and copied. For the most part that has materialized as we see lots of bootlegs with New Era Cap’s signature hat shape. The bootleg market is saturated with cheap knockoffs and there’s little New Era Cap can do at the moment.
New Era Cap is a family owned company. It hasn’t mentioned of any plans of going public thus far. Being a privately held company gives New Era Cap the flexibility to run operations as they see fit without the pressures of outside investors forcing you to do what they want instead. Being a public company is tough. It’s all about the bottom line and investors are very unforgiving if key performance indicators are missed. By staying a private company, they did what they wanted, like opening a chain of flagship stores worldwide.
How New Era Cap makes hats
As you’ll see in the video below, it takes a lot to make a hat. There are so many steps to making a baseball cap. You have to source the fabric, cut the patterns, sew the patterns together, sew the topstitch along with the interior taping and so on and so on. Next time you’re shopping for a hat, know how to value that hat and know that it takes a lot of work to make one hat in the premium condition that you see it in. After seeing this video, we know you’ll change your perspective on New Era Cap hats. If you liked their hats before now, you’re gonna love them after you watch the process of making a hat.
Now that you’ve seen just what goes into a hat at New Era Cap, you can appreciate their price tag. Now let’s talk about their custom program. They offer both their authorized dealers and their end customers a chance to make a custom order. This is really great because it gives the market a chance to say what gets made and what doesn’t rather than a brand shoving down their offerings down everyone’s throat. Of course when something isn’t made for the market it just collects dust on the shelves. New Era Cap realized this a long time ago and decided to let its wholesale accounts make their own colorways and use whatever logos they wanted. As they saw success with this program, they offered it to their end customers as well and so far has been a success if continuity of the program is any indication – it’s been around for several years now.
What makes New Era Cap special is the workmanship and quality of their hats, specifically the 59fifty fitted. They have dominated the fitted space for generations now and no one has been able to step up and produce something like it or better. The cut is on point, the materials used are on point, and just the way the pieces are put together, as you saw in the video, results in a great overall product. They continue to push the envelope and develop new fabrics and ways to make logos. As we saw with their spring training MLB hats, they really offered the market something new and different and made a lot of people go out and buy the spring training hat which is a great move by MLB and New Era.
New Era Cap Stores
New Era Cap now has flagship stores in Germany, United Kingdom, London, Paris, and Japan. They have built partnerships all over the globe and created a monstrous distribution. Although they have a big network of authorized retailers, they, like all big brands, limit how many partners it has in any given location. This keeps the brand from becoming too saturated in any given market. Of course operating their own stores is more profitable for them so will they continue expanding their flagship and retail stores? Only time will tell.
If the past is any indication, it looks like they’ll continue opening new doors around the world as its fanbase grows larger and larger. Demand for their hats are coming from all continents and scores of countries and there doesn’t seem to be a slowdown. We may one day see a flagship in South Africa, you never know.
New Era Cap has licenses with all the leagues including collegiate. Being the official partner of MLB helped propel New Era Cap forward as baseball fans wanted to wear the hat their favorite player wears. As time went by people recognized the greatness of their hats and started to spread the word that New Era Cap was ‘official.’ As mentioned previously, when it comes to fitted hats, few will wear something other than a 59fifty. That’s the level of trust and confidence people have in this brand.
When New Era Cap started, they were purely a manufacturing company, but now have branched out into retail. Now that they’re in retail, what’s next for them? They make the hats for MLB, NFL, NHL, and have a special deal with the NBA that allows them to sell hardwood classics aka throwbacks to all their authorized dealers and it allows them to sell current NBA in their flagship stores and to overseas authorized dealers.
New Era Customs
This is where New Era Cap and its authorized dealers get to shine. Customizing hats can be overwhelming especially when all the colors and logos from all the leagues are thrown at you at once. And as you begin, you may find that it’s not as easy as it seems to create something that’s remarkable. It takes time and experience for some, others are born with the gift. Either way, customs are what separate each retailer from the next and it keeps the customers kind of guessing who’s going to drop what each week. Ultimately, the customer benefits from all the creativity going on at different retailers trying to release their best custom yet.
Once again, New Era Cap mainly produces its hats in China and that’s no different for its custom hats, although authorized dealers do have the option of making them in Buffalo for an additional charge in which most dealers opt to go with the cheaper route. The main thing is that New Era Cap offers its dealers an option. Unfortunately for the American worker, most are choosing the China route because it’s saving the customer about $5 per hat. It’s human nature, everyone wants to save a little money whenever they can. New Era Cap has been able to deliver a top quality product made in China for years now and it is helping them tremendously because they don’t need to deal with a large US factory when they’re outsourcing their production to China.
Many people like to customize the hat to match a sneaker. Then there are city flips where you take a team like the Mets and give them the Yankees treatment: navy crown with a white logo. The sky is the limit. With all the colors and logos available, the number of possible customs is insane. Not to mention, New Era Cap is constantly adding new logos to its database via its fashion program which although come in team colors by default, can be customized by the dealer. Wherever the inspiration is drawn from, custom hats usually turn heads (pun not intended) because they’re not the MLB on field collection (a classic collection) which you see at the mall everyday.
New Era Cap In Fashion
Nowadays, fashion isn’t as clear cut as it once was. You have some guys wearing fitteds, others snapbacks and yet others are wearing dad hats. Whereas it used to be a cohesive thing, now it’s in pieces. To add to that, there’s competition from every angle in the snapback and dad hat markets. It used to be fitteds and New Era Cap and that was it. Today you have hundreds, if not thousands of brands worldwide that offer snapbacks and/or dad hats in their line which eats away at New Era Cap’s old market share.
New Era Cap’s future looks bright. Sports aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. People will naturally always gravitate towards New Era Cap because of sports, especially baseball. You see the New Era Cap advertising in the dugouts and all over the stadiums. We believe they’ll have a place in fashion for a while to come. People can’t seem to get enough of their fitteds or New Era Cap. Just three more years marks their 100 year anniversary which is a major accomplishment in of itself. Most businesses fail within their first 5 years but to last 20 times that is rare and that speaks volumes for New Era Cap.
As long as people continue to watch and play their sports, New Era Cap stands the best chance to continue as a going concern. They’ve become a household name and an American icon like Levi’s or Nike. It will take a fashion tsunami to knock this 800 pound gorilla off its course. So far it’s survived the adjustable hat onslaught by adapting and continuing to serve its loyal customers. Apart from MLB authentic on-field collection and a few other items, New Era Cap doesn’t really stock much. They make to order for you or your authorized dealer. This means they can stay nimble and not get stuck with inventory.
We’ll end this blog with this last piece. We can go on and on about the company, we just wanted to give you a brief over view. I’m sure if we sat down with their executives and those in the trenches, we’d get a much wider perspective on their business. We’d love to get an inside look at their Buffalo headquarters one day. We’re sure that’s one for the bucket list. Until the next blog post, happy hat hunting out there. Don’t forget to check out our shop, here.