Have Some Respect

The Natural

They're hip, they're hot . . . they're hemp. That's one way to describe the stylish line of baseball caps entrepreneur Mitch Cahn creates as the owner of the Jersey City, New Jersey-based hemp headwear and clothing company Headcase. "As far as our market share in the baseball cap industry goes, it's really low," says Cahn, 30. "But the people who buy our hats end up wearing them all the time."

Such strong customer loyalty is undoubtedly due, at least in part, to the fact that Headcase's caps are indeed manufactured out of hemp--a strong, natural, environmentally-friendly fiber. "At the time we started," says Cahn, "nobody else was making anything out of hemp."

As he points out, however, Cahn didn't launch Headcase in 1992 with the intention of becoming a hemp advocate--that was something that happened along the way. Instead, the former Wall Street financial analyst headed into the baseball cap business after his father tipped him off to an auction sale of a defunct cap company. Five years later, Headcase took in nearly $3 million in sales. This year, that number is projected to jump to $5 million.

Sold in clothing boutiques and eco-stores throughout the world, Headcase's distinctive line of caps and T-shirts feature such head-turning commentary as "Hemp Wanted" and "Warning: Do Not Smoke This Cap." Says Cahn, "We like to focus on designs that are subtly subversive."

Contact Sources

California Image Advisors, (714) 759-3646, caimage@earthlink.net

Headcase, (888) HEADCASE, http://headcase.com

International Student Tours, (888) 524-4408

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This article was originally published in the January 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Have Some Respect.

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