Retail Margins on High-End Hats? Need an Expert Hatter's Input

Discussion in 'Hats' started by Andy Voelker, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. Andy Voelker

    Andy Voelker New in Town

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    I'd like to crowdsource some expertise from the group:

    1) What do average retail margins look like for higher-end, off-the shelf (non-custom made) men's wool fedoras? Imagine a $200 and $400 product. Are they >50%?

    2) Are most high-end hat shops outsourcing the production of their hat blanks and buying them in bulk or are they making them in-house?
     
  2. jlee562

    jlee562 I'll Lock Up

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    $400 wool hat? Heck, the margin better be over 50%.
     
  3. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

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    For starters, there are no wool fedoras in that price range... or shouldn't be. "Higher end" generally means fur felt. Rabbit, beaver, or some kind of blend.
     
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  4. Andy Voelker

    Andy Voelker New in Town

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    Thanks for re-orienting me Dr. Strange! Any idea on what the margins look like for a ~$150 wool fedora (closer to the price range of what I'm seeing online)?
     
  5. The Jackal

    The Jackal One of the Regulars

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    Granted, I am new to the scene of "good" fedoras, but a wool fedora directly from Stetson is only like 80 bucks. That's sort of where I put my measuring stick.
     
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  6. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

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    Sorry, I have no idea about markups. I'm just a hat fan, not in the hat biz.

    Personally, I'd recommend an around-$110 (depending on dealer and exchange rate) Akubra fur felt hat over any wool felt hat at any price point. I've owned some wool felt hats: they lost shape and eventually started to fall apart after getting rained on a few times. Whereas my 10- and 12-year-old Akubra hats have seen loads of wear/weather and look nearly brand new.

    Wool felt hats cost less than fur felt and are great for costume use, but they don't hold up well to real-world wear.
     
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  7. TheOldFashioned

    TheOldFashioned Practically Family

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    May I ask why you are concerned with margin? Are you a maker looking to determine how much to mark up your goods? Are you a buyer looking to pay mostly for an actual product? Research purposes for an economics study on costume wear? The vast majority (95%+) of us here are consumers, and hence, not really privy to sellers' markup values. For some reason that information isn't shared, although to be fair, that's not just limited to hats. You would probably have better luck engaging directly with vendors via a private message, as I'm sure makers do not wish to divulge their markup on their creations. And even then, good luck getting an answer.

    Personally, I don't see much of a market for a $150 wool hat, let alone $400. At the high end you can get a brand new custom made fur hat made by a master craftsman. Or you could buy pretty much any vintage hat, often in very good to impeccable condition, at that same price if you hunt around long enough. And at the lower end of $150, I think most people here would to a man suggest Akubra as @Doctor Strange has above. These are well made modern fur hats that can take an absolute beating and are generally considered the best bang for your buck.

    I am not familiar with sourcing of blanks but I would suspect that most hatters purchase them from a bulk supplier, of which there are only a few (again speaking of fur). Economies of scale. I also don't know the difference in the cost of a wool blank versus a fur blank. While I'm sure fur costs a fair amount more, I suspect he main cost of a hat is derived from the time and labor involved in producing a finished product. But then again, I'm also referring to custom made.

    I guess I struggle to justify an OTR mass produced wool hat for anything greater than say $100, and even then I personally would never buy one. If it was OTR mass produced it would seem to make sense that the margin should be relatively low, again due to economies of scale. Anything "higher end" would have to be associated with paying for added embellishments or a brand name, though this has little to do with the quality of the hat itself.

    So in summary, most people here will tell you to go with fur felt. Doesn't answer your question, but you probably won't get a public forum answer for what you are looking for either.
     
  8. hatsRme

    hatsRme I'll Lock Up

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    This kind of secret inside information is only available on a "need to know" basis.
    What is your need to know?
     
  9. deadlyhandsome

    deadlyhandsome I'll Lock Up

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    Location:
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    Wool fedoras usually occupy the under $100 retail price niche. You can usually find the “better” wool fedoras for $60 or less if you look. Wool just isn’t desirable for brimmed hats...these days.

    We are hat wearers and collectors, but not many here are hat retailers or involved in the non-custom hat trade.

    Few industries reveal their margins.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
  10. Rmccamey

    Rmccamey One Too Many

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    All excellent replies and information. As stated, unless you find an inside source, you probably won't find exact answers to your questions. The best I can offer, if you are up for some work on your part, is to search Google Scholar and dig through academic papers on cost-basis, production costs, or margins related to clothing and/or fashion. Even then I doubt you will find any current information related specifically to hats...although there might be some interesting info on Panama hats. Good luck.
     
  11. mayserwegener

    mayserwegener

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    Location:
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    Vicuña Wool hats are at the highest price range. Many vintage European Soft and Stiff Felts were made of Wool or have Wool in the mix.
     

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