BRANDED CAPS: Your Buying Guide
What is a promotional product? A printed pen or mug and a branded cap.
Caps are such a promotional standard that they have transcended their original purpose in many ways. Today, branded caps are a collector’s item, a symbol of fatherhood, a good luck charm, an expression of solidarity. Caps have the potential to be so much more than just a promotional product.
Caps began as a lightweight and aerodynamic option for sports. It seems that both baseball and cricket evolved their headwear into the modern style of cap at the same time, around the turn of the 20th century. Since then, the informal and functional cap has become one of the most popular styles of hat in the world. What started as a way to keep the sun out of the players’ eyes, became a way for fans to support their teams and now is a marketing opportunity for everyone from restaurants and car dealerships to start-ups and tourist locations.
As promotional products, cap styles and pricing vary dramatically. To help you choose the snappiest snap-back for your brand, we’ve put together the below buying guide.
Why are some branded caps cheap?
Being so high in demand, it’s easy to find cheap and quickly-made caps. There’s a plethora of options, but the cheapest caps are polyester, cotton or a combination polycotton. Plastic brim inners are the norm for modern caps. This means that they’re more durable and easier to clean, as well as being easier on the pocket.
Style-wise, an inexpensive branded cap is simple, six panels around the crown with embroidered eyelets (the little holes in the sides) and a simple Velcro crossover or snap back. Standard, basic designs made from basic materials mean that caps are available for all budgets. However, when things start to get very cheap, the quality also declines. Loose strands, warped peak and a skewed, awkward fit are the main signifiers of a cap that was too cheap. In this case, no matter how striking your branding is, cutting corners on the cap itself will do more harm than good.
Why are some expensive?
The quality of an expensive branded cap is clear. The fabric will feel sturdier and more well woven. Eyelets are firmly embroidered or metal, and the stitching is straight and symmetrical. Some brands leave it up to the specialists and will only buy from brand name manufacturers like Flexfit, Stormtech, or the Italian-made Atlantis Headwear. This option is great for brand credibility if that’s what you’re after. The brand guarantees consistent quality and service that you can pass on to your customers and clients.
Branded caps are known to be cheap and cheerful, but their potential for high-end brand representation is huge. Classic styles that fit well will endure many wears without losing their shape, adding to their longevity and increasing their value. Specialised styles can cost a little more but will better represent your brand. Flat caps, sandwich peaks and A frames, while still affordable, are priced slightly higher than a standard hat and will be a better fit for your clients and customers. After all, you know them best.
What pushes our price up?
Taking the above into consideration, a cheap standard cap can still become expensive. But how, you ask? Once you have it, you need to make it yours and that’s where branding comes in. The way you decorate your company’s caps will increase the cost, even if it’s just a simple logo.
It’s important to note that embroidery isn’t always more expensive than a print. However, because embroidery pricing is determined by the number of stitches, a large or detailed artwork will be more expensive than a small and simple one.
There are so many ways to decorate a cap. More than just print or embroidery. There are also metal, PVC and leather badging, silica lettering, embossing and woven patches. Then when you do get to embroidery there is 2D, 3D, metallic, chenille, textured and felt applique. Each one of these decorations will push the price up between $3.50 and $20+ per cap, but will also increase the value you give your clients and customers.
Caps have such great space for branding. They’ve got multiple panels, a peak and a crossover that can all be decorated. Where you choose to brand your caps will influence the end cost. For example, if you want your logo on the front and your slogan on the back, you’re doubling the set-up (the cost of setting up the decorating machine for each different decoration and location). Having a custom ribbon in the middle of a sandwich peak cap, or an embossed buckle to hold the crossover will also increase the cost.
All the little details are important to you because these products are an extension of your brand. Get the details right and your branded caps will have the desired effect.
What pushes our price down?
Part of the answer to that question is ‘the opposite of above’. Going for a print or digital transfer instead of large embroidery, just on the front, no other bells and whistles and a simple style. These will keep the price down. But there are also a few other things that will keep your branded cap well within budget.
Long lead times are great for the hip pocket. If you order well in advance, our manufacturers can make your caps and ship them off without the need for express service or delivery. Both of those cost you money. That being said, shipping to one metro location only is the cheapest way to have your caps delivered.
Buying in bulk is another way to lower the cost. Yes, the overall cost increases with the quantity, but the unit price goes down considerably between MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity) and the next few quantity breaks. Also, the full cost of the order absorbs decoration set up and any other incidentals, like poly-bagging well. Bulk ordering is great if you know you’ve hit a winner with your branded cap and they’re sure to be divvied out.
Basic pricing examples
You want to know what the price actually is when it’s all said and done. We’ve put together some standard pricing to demonstrate what your regular 6-panel, flat cap and Atlantis Headwear cap will cost. These amounts include embroidery up to 5,000 stitches and do not include shipping or GST.
Why are branded caps a promotional staple? What makes them stand out?
Large decoration area, available in different colours and styles, highly customizable – these are the characteristics of great promotional products. Caps tick these boxes.
The large area on the front of the cap is prime real estate for branding. The peak is also good, but harder to see when someone is wearing it. Speaking of wearability, caps are so visible that a single branded cap rewards its brand with 3,400 impressions over its average ten months of ownership. Every time it’s worn, walking through town, playing sports, doing everyday things, your brand is seen by potential clients and customers.
Here is something caps can do that pens, mugs and mousepads can’t. They become a part of personal branding. If your branded cap is incorporated into someone’s personal style, congratulations, you’ve won. You’ve created a high-value product that will guarantee ROI for a long time to come. How do caps do it? How can your caps be that valuable?
Tap into a cap’s versatility. They can be youthful, sporty, fashionable, on-trend. They can also be functional, distinguished and sentimental. Your branded caps can be whatever your audience need to express themselves. Because their owners make them their own. They put their own personality in to them; and sometimes it becomes their whole personality – we all know the guy who never takes his cap off. NOTE: Don’t forget branding on the back if your audience are the ‘wear them backwards’ kind of people.
Caps come in a wide range of styles for all budgets. This means that you can splurge if a brand-name cap and stand-out decoration is what your clients would resonate with. Whichever way you go, consider what quality, style and decoration would increase longevity. More time spent in your clients’ hands and on their heads means more impressions. More impressions equals more business. And the path to more impressions? Value. The value that your clients see in your product and your business.
Our team can help you find the best branded cap for your business.