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Hat price perception in an inflationary environment

How much is the maximum price you would pay for a custom hat?

  • $400

  • $600

  • $750

  • $1000


Results are only viewable after voting.

daizawaguy

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,660
Location
Tokyo
I read just recently about a Swedish hatter that was defending his price increase (or perhaps perception of price increase), where he argued that he was providing a $1000 hat value for half that price. It made me think this would be an interesting topic for discussion. I have bought custom hats from Optimo (early 2010s, around $400-500 if I recall), Art Fawcett ($250 if I recall), a few other US makers and more recently Hornskov (before the price increases) and Gannon. With prices and the cost of living rising, i wonder where we see the maximum price we would pay for a custom, and whether there is particular value out there now before prices undoubtedly increase. I have made a poll, but cannot fully preview it, so hope it works out.

Personally, I think Optimo`s prices have already increased from ten years ago (doubled), but do appreciate their style and quality, but would not pay that price for a custom. Hornskov for me have increased beyond my threshold, although it may be influenced by the fact that I have three or four at the old prices. That leaves Gannon, who for me must the the best US hatter currently, even surpassing Optimo, and his prices are way out of line to his quality.

Thoughts and opinions?
 
Messages
17,578
Location
Funkytown, USA
I would continue to pay Gannon's prices, which now are $400.00 for a custom dress weight with a bound edge. I think I paid $375.00 for my last one, and around $350.00 has been a going rate for hatters for a few years now.

That's about my limit, inflation or no. A hat is a luxury item, and therefore takes a back seat to other items during periods of financial pressure. When my grocery bill has gone up 35% - 40% and I just paid $60.00 to fill up my tank, it makes me want to spend even less on a custom hat.
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,440
Location
vancouver, canada
I read just recently about a Swedish hatter that was defending his price increase (or perhaps perception of price increase), where he argued that he was providing a $1000 hat value for half that price. It made me think this would be an interesting topic for discussion. I have bought custom hats from Optimo (early 2010s, around $400-500 if I recall), Art Fawcett ($250 if I recall), a few other US makers and more recently Hornskov (before the price increases) and Gannon. With prices and the cost of living rising, i wonder where we see the maximum price we would pay for a custom, and whether there is particular value out there now before prices undoubtedly increase. I have made a poll, but cannot fully preview it, so hope it works out.

Personally, I think Optimo`s prices have already increased from ten years ago (doubled), but do appreciate their style and quality, but would not pay that price for a custom. Hornskov for me have increased beyond my threshold, although it may be influenced by the fact that I have three or four at the old prices. That leaves Gannon, who for me must the the best US hatter currently, even surpassing Optimo, and his prices are way out of line to his quality.

Thoughts and opinions?
I concur, in general, but not having held an Optimo in my hands cannot speak to it. But having just received a new custom from Gannon I can say his work is outstanding and sits close to the top of my collection of custom hats (from about 10 different custom hatters). That his prices remain so low is such a bonus. I have a hard time imagining any hat, at any price being substantially better made than one from Gannon, Black Sheep, Northwest, and previously Art@VS. My priciest hats are from Leon Drexler and they too are brilliant and perhaps surpass Gannon but I am splitting very fine hairs here. I think my last one was $750 Canadian $$

Also Bob @Blacksheep did not raise his prices even with a 2 year wait list. ...but then he is not taking orders these days. I never purchased from Hornskov or Hufvud as putting out that $100 for shipping just did not make sense to me when there are so many North American hatters with $20 shipping. I once purchased a hat from a European maker, it did not fit at all and the shipping back and forth was just stupid.
 
Messages
15,560
Location
Central California
I own several custom hats from quite a few hatters. $400 to $500 is my limit. I’ve bought some nice hats from our European hatters, but at current prices I don’t see the value for money when I’m getting domestic custom hats that are near perfect for less. I was considering another hat from a European hatter for a curled brim but now my favorite US hatter can provide that too.

I own/owned several used hats from hatters who charged $1,000 or more for them new. They are nicely made, but I honestly prefer a less expensive hatter who for my tastes make a better hat for less than half the price.

I’m sure with inflation heating up prices will continue to increase for custom hats. In 2022 dollars, I can’t see paying more than $500 for a western or $400 for a fedora. That’s just me and obviously that means a lot of custom hats, and most all custom westerns, are out of my price range.
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,440
Location
vancouver, canada
I own several custom hats from quite a few hatters. $400 to $500 is my limit. I’ve bought some nice hats from our European hatters, but at current prices I don’t see the value for money when I’m getting domestic custom hats that are near perfect for less. I was considering another hat from a European hatter for a curled brim but now my favorite US hatter can provide that too.

I own/owned several used hats from hatters who charged $1,000 or more for them new. They are nicely made, but I honestly prefer a less expensive hatter who for my tastes make a better hat for less than half the price.

I’m sure with inflation heating up prices will continue to increase for custom hats. In 2022 dollars, I can’t see paying more than $500 for a western or $400 for a fedora. That’s just me and obviously that means a lot of custom hats, and most all custom westerns, are out of my price range.
By all reports the cost of the felt is going to increase substantially in the coming years so I am anticipating the price of hats will continue their upward trajectory. Make me lean towards jumping the gun and getting another order into Michael....but damned if I can decide on a style/colour.
 
Messages
15,560
Location
Central California
By all reports the cost of the felt is going to increase substantially in the coming years so I am anticipating the price of hats will continue their upward trajectory. Make me lean towards jumping the gun and getting another order into Michael....but damned if I can decide on a style/colour.


You can just commit to a hat now and reserve a spot in his queue, lock in today’s price, and decide on colors and styles later. I have a dark moss dress weight and a black curled brim western in his queue. I’ve been selling a lot of hats, including some customs, trying to get my numbers down, but there are still other hats I really want.
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,440
Location
vancouver, canada
You can just commit to a hat now and reserve a spot in his queue, lock in today’s price, and decide on colors and styles later. I have a dark moss dress weight and a black curled brim western in his queue. I’ve been selling a lot of hats, including some customs, trying to get my numbers down, but there are still other hats I really want.
That might be the best idea.
 
Messages
15,759
Just to interject something here on inflation, my financial planner told me this past wk that a big part of what's currently driving inflation that you don't hear about is the fact in the last 3-5 yrs many states have passed aggressive regular increases to their minimum wage laws. A push is on to make a national minimum wage law of $15/hr & tie it to the CPI.

Some jobs just don't hold that kind of value to the employer.
 
Messages
17,578
Location
Funkytown, USA
Just to interject something here on inflation, my financial planner told me this past wk that a big part of what's currently driving inflation that you don't hear about is the fact in the last 3-5 yrs many states have passed aggressive regular increases to their minimum wage laws. A push is on to make a national minimum wage law of $15/hr & tie it to the CPI.

Some jobs just don't hold that kind of value to the employer.

Hence more automation, self serve checkouts, kiosks at McDonald's, and the like.
 
Messages
15,759
Hence more automation, self serve checkouts, kiosks at McDonald's, and the like.
One loophole that many minimum wage laws have is that any job where the employee is subject to receiving customer tips has the minimum wage cut to half scale. So expect to see more tip jars out where any employee interacts directly with a customer.
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,440
Location
vancouver, canada
One loophole that many minimum wage laws have is that any job where the employee is subject to receiving customer tips has the minimum wage cut to half scale. So expect to see more tip jars out where any employee interacts directly with a customer.
At the risk of hijacking the thread...an interesting development here is government jobs, union, decent pay/benefits and pension that folks used to fight to get are now going begging. Workers for our short staffed ferry system are being offered a $10K signing bonus, Postal system is holding job fares and the Liquor Branches are begging for staff.
 

johnnycanuck

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,863
Location
Alberta
I have a few custom hats made back 15 years ago when they cost about $250 Canadian. I have a hand full of factory produced hats that cost $100-$200 brand new. About five years ago the gap closed dramatically to the point where you could buy a new custom made hat for about $50 more than a new Stetson. I am talking Fedora's here. So seeing custom made hats jump up in price does not surprise me. Remember 100% custom beaver cowboy hats have been around $1000 for years as well. Fedoras are just now bridging that gap.

With all that said I can't see buying a new custom made hat again. With my current financial situation and the quality and years I can get out of something like an Akubra it just isn't worth it to me. Just my opinion.

Having had 5 custom made hats I will also add that I think every hat person should splurge and buy at least one in there lifetime. But with current prices, you should choose wisely. My #1 custom is an Adventurebilt Indiana jones hat in beaver. If I wanted to do the same now it would have to be a Herbert Johnson that would cost 4-6X the cost. My wage is not 4-6X larger than it was 16 years ago. Just saying.
 
Messages
15,560
Location
Central California
At the risk of hijacking the thread...an interesting development here is government jobs, union, decent pay/benefits and pension that folks used to fight to get are now going begging. Workers for our short staffed ferry system are being offered a $10K signing bonus, Postal system is holding job fares and the Liquor Branches are begging for staff.


My agency is down more than 1,500 people and we can’t find applicants. We offer decent pay, full benefits, a defined benefit retirement plan, etc. and we can’t get people to apply. It’s a very strange job market
 
Messages
15,759
At the risk of hijacking the thread...an interesting development here is government jobs, union, decent pay/benefits and pension that folks used to fight to get are now going begging. Workers for our short staffed ferry system are being offered a $10K signing bonus, Postal system is holding job fares and the Liquor Branches are begging for staff.
A hatter who has someone come in after school a couple times a wk to sew sweats for him may not be able to afford the help @ $15/hr. Or a beginning apprentice until that apprentice has advanced to a skill level where he can be an asset to the hatter. And forget about hiring a kid to come in & sweep the floor after school 2-3 times per wk.
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,440
Location
vancouver, canada
My agency is down more than 1,500 people and we can’t find applicants. We offer decent pay, full benefits, a defined benefit retirement plan, etc. and we can’t get people to apply. It’s a very strange job market
As a weird guy that very reluctantly retired I kinda wish I was 20 years younger so I could try out any number of new jobs just to see what they were like.....and if I did not like them, quit and find another one and try it out.
 
Messages
15,560
Location
Central California
You still can.


Not where you work. Maximum age is 35 unless you’re active duty military and then it’s 37…I think Robert @belfastboy is just outside the window.

I guess I’m not as driven as some folks, but retirement where I get my full pay without ever having to work just pushes all the right buttons for me. I want to travel, fish, hunt, visit family, and hang out with Max on a beach in Mexico sipping’ a cold drink. I’m hardwired as a man of leisure. :)
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,440
Location
vancouver, canada
Not where you work. Maximum age is 35 unless you’re active duty military and then it’s 37…I think Robert @belfastboy is just outside the window.

I guess I’m not as driven as some folks, but retirement where I get my full pay without ever having to work just pushes all the right buttons for me. I want to travel, fish, hunt, visit family, and hang out with Max on a beach in Mexico sipping’ a cold drink. I’m hardwired as a man of leisure. :)
I was never a candidate for the military...blind in one can't see shit out of the other. Apparently they don't want blind guys with guns.....weird! So I went into baseball umpiring.....if I called a pitch a strike and the batter asked me..."Where was that pitch?"...I would often respond...."I have no idea but it sounded like a strike!"
 
Messages
15,560
Location
Central California
I was never a candidate for the military...blind in one can't see shit out of the other. Apparently they don't want blind guys with guns.....weird! So I went into baseball umpiring.....if I called a pitch a strike and the batter asked me..."Where was that pitch?"...I would often respond...."I have no idea but it sounded like a strike!"


I played little league as a kid, but I never really got into baseball. I dated a girl in college who was on the softball team and I was all about that. As an adult I’ve really enjoyed going to minor league games and even occasionally watch what’s happening on the field. :)
 

ILB Frank

Familiar Face
Messages
80
This is one interesting thread. It has wandered off, and back on, topic in a decent manner. I hope it doesn't fall completely off topic into politics and bickering and wind up getting locked. So, now to turn back into the wind... I guess my upper limit was what I paid for a Major Moore Buckaroo Hatters custom western. I love it and wear it basically every day. I am in the queue for a Gannon (it will be a western) and then I am done. I am a wearer, not a collector (mostly because - happy wife, happy life). I am glad Gannon isn't higher priced. My top end is in line with Buckaroo Hatters 100X. Maybe just maybe, if I could actually stop by a place like Rand's and get a conformitor custom fit, I would spring for the extra $$$. I certainly wouldn't (and haven't) done it for just a custom (yet basic) long oval pure beaver hat.
 
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