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Member Profile: Bollman Hat Company

Member Profile: Bollman Hat Company

Company Name & Location – Bollman Hat Company, Adamstown, PA

# of US based employees – 200

Years in Business – 143

Corporate Structure – Employee-Owned

Principal line of business – Bollman is an industry leading designer, manufacturer and distributor of men’s, women’s and children’s headwear and accessories.

Do you have any future expansion plans?   We continue to look for new opportunities to expand our brands in existing markets as well as new markets outside the US. We have recently signed two new licenses; first with R&B artist, Ne-Yo for his line of headwear and second with 8 time all around champion cowboy, Trevor Brazile, for his Relentless® brand.

Why does American Made Matter to you?   As the oldest hat maker in America dating back to 1868, manufacturing is part of our heritage. Over our 143 year history, we have provided tens of thousands of jobs, supported the local economy, and provided opportunities for a better life for our employees. We see renewed interest in US made products and believe that US manufacturing still plays a vital role in the future of our company.

How are you using the logo on products, website or marketing materials?   The American Made Matters logo is placed on the homepage of our website, www.BollmanHats.com. It is also featured on hangtags placed on our products made in our Pennsylvania factory and listed in our Bailey catalogs next to products made in the USA. We are going to be using the logo on our shipping cartons as well.

Do you have any tips for communicating the American Made Message?   As the founding member of American Made Matters, we have invested significantly in getting the message conveyed to our retail customers and the consumers of our products. We have created the AmericanMadeMatters.com website as well as a Facebook and Twitter account where we are connecting with consumers.  American made is always part of our discussions about our company.  This includes press, retailers and consumers.

Has your company won any awards recently?   In 2010 we were recognized at the Governor’s mansion as one of the oldest companies in Pennsylvania and have also recently been recongnized by the ESOP association for over 25 years as an Employee/Owned company.

What’s your vision for the future of your company?   To grow our brands and private label distribution in targeted markets throughout the world, increasing opportunities for our Employee/Owners.

What values drive your business decisions?   Our core value is to exercise effective stewardship over the heritage and assets handed down from past generations.  This will be upheld as our people pioneer change by listening, thinking, and acting with integrity for the long term.  We will achieve excellence by taking ownership, supporting our teammates, giving more than we take, and treating others fairly.

What advice would you give to a start-up business that plans to manufacture/source/etc. in the USA?   To make sure the product that you are offering is the highest quality possible and that you are able to respond with fast, exceptional service as it is unlikely that you will be able to compete on price.

What are the benefits for your company of manufacturing in the USA?   Being able to better control quality and consistency of the products. We can also respond much faster to new trends and short lead times. US manufacturing also enhances our ability to innovate.

How do you balance US and foreign manufacturing for your company?   The market most often dictates that balance. There are products that we sell and components that we require that are no longer or have never been available in the US. There are price points at the lowest end of our market that simply can’t be met using US manufacturing.

How do you get the message out to your customers that you are manufacturing in the USA? Is it important to your customers that you manufacture in the USA?   We present American Made Matters to our private label customers when we meet with them. Our Bailey brand features American Made Matters in our catalogs and we have discussed and encouraged the focus on American Made Matters with our salespeople. We think it is important to most customers but it is only the determining factor of whether they will buy from us by a minority of customers. Obviously the value of consistent quality, innovative designs, excellent service and a price that is within a competitive market range are all key components.

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