Hats On

A Head For Business

Making your cap store a success involves a lot of research and planning. Lids' Jack Chadsey found that while many young women were both sports fans and cap wearers, 80 percent of his chain's customers were male. To make female customers feel more welcome in the stores, Chadsey brought in a retail design consultant who created a softer, more neutral environment that included life-sized wall graphics of women wearing the store's caps.

Stewart suggests that one key to prosperity for a business based on sports-licensed caps is to go where the sports fans are. "You shouldn't put [your business] in an upscale mall--the rent is very expensive there, and you have to think about the clientele you're going to attract," Stewart says. "Ideally, cap stores should be in a kiosk in a suburban mall location or a small storefront in a central city, areas that may have strong allegiances to sports teams."

Baseball-style caps are hot and getting hotter. The continual addition of expansion teams to the schedules of major-league baseball, football, basketball and hockey means that in the near future, there will be more sports fans than ever looking for a fashionable way to rally around their favorite teams. Even those who couldn't care less about sports comprise a potential market for caps. People's desire to express their personalities will never go out of style, and these "T-shirts for your head" are an ideal way to make a lasting impression or, at the very least, camouflage a bad hair day.

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This article was originally published in the July 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Hats On.

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