Want to buy or sell something? Check the classifieds

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.

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,578
Location
vancouver, canada
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.
I have bought both in person and on line custom hats. I have had the hatter use the conformateur on me. Interestingly, the hats from online custom hatters fit me as well as the conformateured ones. And two of the online/non conformateur hats fit me the best. I think once you have identified yourself as a Long Oval, Reg Oval, etc etc then that is really all one needs to get a great fitting hat. Unless of course you are an outlier and an Extra Long Oval, or a True Oval and those shapes are a bitch to get right even once you know.
 

marzony

New in Town
Messages
9
I think custom hats and non-custom are two different products - first one requires much more manual labour and thus higher costs (and prices therefore.)
What comes to price hikes for custom hats, I think there is a market for them but I can't see myself owning too many of them even without price increases.
If I were to catch hatbug and start collecting hats, I'd be hunting them on ebay.

Other than hat prices, it's interesting monetary environment that Fed has created. Wonder how this is gonna turn out...
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,578
Location
vancouver, canada
I think custom hats and non-custom are two different products - first one requires much more manual labour and thus higher costs (and prices therefore.)
What comes to price hikes for custom hats, I think there is a market for them but I can't see myself owning too many of them even without price increases.
If I were to catch hatbug and start collecting hats, I'd be hunting them on ebay.

Other than hat prices, it's interesting monetary environment that Fed has created. Wonder how this is gonna turn out...
As someone that was saddled with a 16% mortgage back in the early 1980's I certainly hope never to return to those bad old days of run away inflation. Our mortgage was open and rates began to drop and when they hit 10% I rejoiced and locked in for 5 years ....thinking I won the lottery.
 
Messages
15,854
Location
Central California
I think custom hats and non-custom are two different products - first one requires much more manual labour and thus higher costs (and prices therefore.)
What comes to price hikes for custom hats, I think there is a market for them but I can't see myself owning too many of them even without price increases.
If I were to catch hatbug and start collecting hats, I'd be hunting them on ebay.

Other than hat prices, it's interesting monetary environment that Fed has created. Wonder how this is gonna turn out...


If I was a smaller size I too would stick with eBay etc. However, if you are a larger size you can search every day and count yourself lucky to find one or two good vintage hats a year on the used market. You can also spend as much for a great vintage hat in a large size as you would for a new custom hat.
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,578
Location
vancouver, canada
If I was a smaller size I too would stick with eBay etc. However, if you are a larger size you can search every day and count yourself lucky to find one or two good vintage hats a year on the used market. You can also spend as much for a great vintage hat in a large size as you would for a new custom hat.
Yep, as a 7 3/8 to 7 1/2" I gave up the hunt a number of years back I will still buy the odd vintage hat but only when it comes to me via a trusted source (usually here in Lounge). Too time consuming/frustrating/disappointing for me using other internet sources.
 

Bill Hughes

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,922
Location
North Texas
I currently have 19 custom felt hats. They range between $285 to $375. I have owned other felt hats (second hand) that are priced new for much more than I paid. But I never paid anywhere near new price for one of those. And honestly based on what I had I don't think they were anywhere near the value asked for a new version. And the few I had were mint condition. My straw hats are all over the place price wise.
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,578
Location
vancouver, canada
I currently have 19 custom felt hats. They range between $285 to $375. I have owned other felt hats (second hand) that are priced new for much more than I paid. But I never paid anywhere near new price for one of those. And honestly based on what I had I don't think they were anywhere near the value asked for a new version. And the few I had were mint condition. My straw hats are all over the place price wise.
I think I have 24 custom hats from 10 different hatters and I echo your remarks. Some are better than others but price does not seem to correlate to quality. I have held a Nick Foquet hat in my hands (close to $2000 and not mine) and dear god what a piece of crap. So it seems largely what the market will bear for your name.
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
23,423
Location
London, UK
I'm perfectly happy with my production hats. I can't imagine spending over USD200 equivalent for something off the rack, nor can I imagine going custom for something I could find OTR. For something really different I just can't get close to buying stock, I could maybe imagine going up to USD400, but it'd have to be near perfect and possibly beaver for that. I can appreciate a pricier hat and the skill / labour that buys, but I know if I went that far price wise I'd never be happy to just wear it, and if it's not regular wardrobe for me, then as a rule I can't justify it.

That said, I do have my eye on a custom at some point; I want an Aussie military slouch hat, except in bottle / forest green for a historical project. It would appear the only option with that is to go custom, or risk an expensive mistake trying to dye one myself. Have also considered trying to find a hatter that might do a good deal on customising the Akubra option by redying, but it actually seems to be easier to find a full custom than a customiser by some way.
 

Mighty44

A-List Customer
Messages
485
I once read an article about the booming business of building custom "relic-ed" guitars -- $2,000-$3,000 instruments that looked exactly like 1950s or '60s Fenders or Gibsons, with the paint worn and yellowed as if they had been played for half a century. Two things seemed to be driving the market -- first, that the supply of vintage instruments at affordable prices had disappeared (almost any vintage axe is now minimum $3K to $4K and there really is no top end to the scale) and also that for musicians that own something like a 1958 Stratocaster worth $25,000, they don't want to throw it in the back of the car for every gig and run the risk of damaging it or having it stolen. Those vintage guitars can also be pretty finicky and need to be babied. So for 3K you can have the look and feel of a vintage axe and don't mind if you spill a beer on the thing or carrying it in a soft case.

I actually feel a bit this way about my one custom hat, a Gannon. I have vintage hats that I paid $50 for that I treat far, far more carefully than I do Michael's hat, which cost about $350. Michael's hat is my everyday hat. It looks like it was made in the 1950s but I don't worry about rain or wind blowing it down the block. If I'm in a bar or a restaurant I just toss it down on any flat surface without obsessively checking the surface is clean to make sure I'm not about to ruin a 1953 fedora that, whatever I paid for it, is actually irreplaceable.

I know it is a little contrary not to baby my most expensive hat but somehow it gives me great peace of mind to not even think about it, just plunk it on my head when I head out the door and I know I look good. I do get more pleasure when I wear my vintage hats -- I really take time picking out which one to wear and tweaking the brim and then enjoy wearing it and catching my reflection in plate glass. But it also makes me act a little more cautiously.

The other thing about my Gannon -- it is hands down my most comfortable hat. I don't know how Michael does it, but the felt and the sweatband are so soft that it is just a pleasure to handle and to wear.

I am in the queue for another hat from Michael -- which I plan for a Christmas present for myself -- because I have a very specific idea for a hat that I want. That is the other great advantage to a custom hat. But this will probably be my last custom and $400 is, for me, the very top end of what I would spend.

Cheers,

David
 
Last edited:

Rmccamey

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,036
Location
Central Texas
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

Many are finding the flexibility of their work schedule and working from home suits them better than they thought. Also remember we are in the middle of all us baby boomers retiring. Although Covid changed the trajectory, the current job situation, with fewer in the workforce, was somewhat predictable. Unions or not, businesses are going to have to become much more creative with pay, benefits and working conditions to attract a top workforce.

I spent $1000 on a custom one time years ago...worst hat I've ever owned. Gannon, Northwest and a few of the regular hatters we speak of regularly here on TFL fit my style and budget much better. $500 is about my high water mark.
 
Messages
15,854
Location
Central California
I'm perfectly happy with my production hats. I can't imagine spending over USD200 equivalent for something off the rack, nor can I imagine going custom for something I could find OTR. For something really different I just can't get close to buying stock, I could maybe imagine going up to USD400, but it'd have to be near perfect and possibly beaver for that. I can appreciate a pricier hat and the skill / labour that buys, but I know if I went that far price wise I'd never be happy to just wear it, and if it's not regular wardrobe for me, then as a rule I can't justify it.

That said, I do have my eye on a custom at some point; I want an Aussie military slouch hat, except in bottle / forest green for a historical project. It would appear the only option with that is to go custom, or risk an expensive mistake trying to dye one myself. Have also considered trying to find a hatter that might do a good deal on customising the Akubra option by redying, but it actually seems to be easier to find a full custom than a customiser by some way.



The problem is with your supposition that you can find an equivalent hat OTR…if that was the case most all of us would do that. My last custom was a 100% nutria fur felt in the color plum with a minimal taper crown over six inches tall and a three inch wide brim. Where do I find that hat OTR for $200? In truth, an OTR 100% beaver hat made by the likes of Stetson or Borsalino would cost me more than a 100% beaver hat by my favorite custom hatter and not be anywhere near as nice.
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,578
Location
vancouver, canada
I'm perfectly happy with my production hats. I can't imagine spending over USD200 equivalent for something off the rack, nor can I imagine going custom for something I could find OTR. For something really different I just can't get close to buying stock, I could maybe imagine going up to USD400, but it'd have to be near perfect and possibly beaver for that. I can appreciate a pricier hat and the skill / labour that buys, but I know if I went that far price wise I'd never be happy to just wear it, and if it's not regular wardrobe for me, then as a rule I can't justify it.

That said, I do have my eye on a custom at some point; I want an Aussie military slouch hat, except in bottle / forest green for a historical project. It would appear the only option with that is to go custom, or risk an expensive mistake trying to dye one myself. Have also considered trying to find a hatter that might do a good deal on customising the Akubra option by redying, but it actually seems to be easier to find a full custom than a customiser by some way.
I am in the loooong process of trying to perfect the craft of dyeing hats/felts. If you ever get the urge to try send me a note......I can attempt to talk you out of it or at least save you some of the learning curve.
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
23,423
Location
London, UK
I once read an article about the booming business of building custom "relic-ed" guitars -- $2,000-$3,000 instruments that looked exactly like 1950s or '60s Fenders or Gibsons, with the paint worn and yellowed as if they had been played for half a century. Two things seemed to be driving the market -- first, that the supply of vintage instruments at affordable prices had disappeared (almost any vintage axe is now minimum $3K to $4K and there really is no top end to the scale) and also that for musicians that own something like a 1958 Stratocaster worth $25,000, they don't want to throw it in the back of the car for every gig and run the risk of damaging it or having it stolen. Those vintage guitars can also be pretty finicky and need to be babied. So for 3K you can have the look and feel of a vintage axe and don't mind if you spill a beer on the thing or carrying it in a soft case.

Yes, the guitar market resembles the 'vintage' (for want of a better way of putting it) market in clothing in a number of ways. The much older (starting circa early 80s) guitar phenomenon than relics is the 'reissue' concept. The core of this is producing a guitar which exactly resembles (or as close as price point allows) the prized originals from whatever period is considered the 'golden era' for that [articular brand / model. Typically where the original is unobtainable due to a mix of rarity and consequently price. Two grand seems a lot for a production line guitar (or much more if you go "custom shop") until you see the originals selling for fifteen, twenty (for a common model) to crazy money for something less common (I believe a genuine 59 Les Paul is now somewhere in the half-million mark?). The Relic thing is interesting, and exposes tow distinctly different markets. Guys like me who prize the old aesthetics / style want a reissue. The guys who want a relic are not those playing in rockabilly bands and whatever, but the guys who want a guitar that looks like an original might now. It's like the difference between a guy who wants an A2 that looks like it would have in the field in 1943, and the guy who grew up going to airshows loving seeing vintage A2s there but either can't afford or can't find the 'real thing', so wants the 'next best' option - a jacket made to look like it's seventy years old. The commonality is, of course, availability at the right price point. Taking it back to clothes, I've definitely noticed a rise in the number of vintage menswear repro items available at non-unobtanium prices in the last couple of decades, as the supply of original stuff (at least over here) that's wearable has disappeared from the market, insofar as a market for them still exists (there's definitely a baseline, though it will of course fluctuate as different eras go in and out of fashionable nostalgia).

The problem is with your supposition that you can find an equivalent hat OTR…if that was the case most all of us would do that. My last custom was a 100% nutria fur felt in the color plum with a minimal taper crown over six inches tall and a three inch wide brim. Where do I find that hat OTR for $200? In truth, an OTR 100% beaver hat made by the likes of Stetson or Borsalino would cost me more than a 100% beaver hat by my favorite custom hatter and not be anywhere near as nice.

Of course that's also true, as acknowledge above. I'm also fortunate in that being a 57 it's rare to find a production hat that isn't available in my size. (That sort of good fortune is not lost on me, being a left-handed guitarist!) For anything that isn't available stock, custom becomes the only option - then it's a matter of how much one actually wants the desired spec versus market cost. Factoring in the inevitability that small production runs will often raise cost owing to lack of economy of scale. That said, of course big brands who do have the advantage of large production numbers will typically not pass that discount on to the customer if the market allows them to avoid doing so. It's an irony that the original motivation for the legal recognition of trade marks was for them to act as a guarantor / point of identification of origin. Into the twentieth century (if not earlier; in Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain certainly comments on the inverse correlation of quality versus the cost/desirability of the 'Case Knife' Tom Sawyer uses, a of knife which, if memory serves, Twain said could "only be counterfeited to its detriment.")



I am in the loooong process of trying to perfect the craft of dyeing hats/felts. If you ever get the urge to try send me a note......I can attempt to talk you out of it or at least save you some of the learning curve.

Yes, I've pretty much decided that wouldn't work. Watched a few videos, but when the only ones that seemed to come anywhere close to producing the goods started with removing the sweatband it became clear that the difference in price to go custom would rapidly be eaten up by buying the tools to do it - let alone developing the skills. I can steam and shape a hat, but beyond that any maybe adding a new ribbon, I am under no illusions about the skills required!
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,578
Location
vancouver, canada
Yes, the guitar market resembles the 'vintage' (for want of a better way of putting it) market in clothing in a number of ways. The much older (starting circa early 80s) guitar phenomenon than relics is the 'reissue' concept. The core of this is producing a guitar which exactly resembles (or as close as price point allows) the prized originals from whatever period is considered the 'golden era' for that [articular brand / model. Typically where the original is unobtainable due to a mix of rarity and consequently price. Two grand seems a lot for a production line guitar (or much more if you go "custom shop") until you see the originals selling for fifteen, twenty (for a common model) to crazy money for something less common (I believe a genuine 59 Les Paul is now somewhere in the half-million mark?). The Relic thing is interesting, and exposes tow distinctly different markets. Guys like me who prize the old aesthetics / style want a reissue. The guys who want a relic are not those playing in rockabilly bands and whatever, but the guys who want a guitar that looks like an original might now. It's like the difference between a guy who wants an A2 that looks like it would have in the field in 1943, and the guy who grew up going to airshows loving seeing vintage A2s there but either can't afford or can't find the 'real thing', so wants the 'next best' option - a jacket made to look like it's seventy years old. The commonality is, of course, availability at the right price point. Taking it back to clothes, I've definitely noticed a rise in the number of vintage menswear repro items available at non-unobtanium prices in the last couple of decades, as the supply of original stuff (at least over here) that's wearable has disappeared from the market, insofar as a market for them still exists (there's definitely a baseline, though it will of course fluctuate as different eras go in and out of fashionable nostalgia).



Of course that's also true, as acknowledge above. I'm also fortunate in that being a 57 it's rare to find a production hat that isn't available in my size. (That sort of good fortune is not lost on me, being a left-handed guitarist!) For anything that isn't available stock, custom becomes the only option - then it's a matter of how much one actually wants the desired spec versus market cost. Factoring in the inevitability that small production runs will often raise cost owing to lack of economy of scale. That said, of course big brands who do have the advantage of large production numbers will typically not pass that discount on to the customer if the market allows them to avoid doing so. It's an irony that the original motivation for the legal recognition of trade marks was for them to act as a guarantor / point of identification of origin. Into the twentieth century (if not earlier; in Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain certainly comments on the inverse correlation of quality versus the cost/desirability of the 'Case Knife' Tom Sawyer uses, a of knife which, if memory serves, Twain said could "only be counterfeited to its detriment.")





Yes, I've pretty much decided that wouldn't work. Watched a few videos, but when the only ones that seemed to come anywhere close to producing the goods started with removing the sweatband it became clear that the difference in price to go custom would rapidly be eaten up by buying the tools to do it - let alone developing the skills. I can steam and shape a hat, but beyond that any maybe adding a new ribbon, I am under no illusions about the skills required!
I have only ever used Acid or Vat dyes that require steeping the felt in hot water dye bath. So the only way to do it is to fully deconstruct the hat, dye it and then rebuild it from scratch as if it were a raw felt.
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
23,423
Location
London, UK
I have only ever used Acid or Vat dyes that require steeping the felt in hot water dye bath. So the only way to do it is to fully deconstruct the hat, dye it and then rebuild it from scratch as if it were a raw felt.

That's what I figured; going custom seems the better bet with that.
 
Top