Girl wearing a cap

Branded Caps: Your Buying Guide

Girl wearing a cap

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 some are 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.

Branded Caps Pricing

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.

Calico and canvas

What’s the Difference Between Calico and Canvas? and Other Common Cotton Questions.

Calico and canvas

Cotton is cotton. But it’s also brushed and twill, and denim and calico. When cotton fibre is woven into fabric it is used to make everything from clothes and accessories to bedding and towels. Such versatility means that there are many names for the cotton end product. In the world of promotional products, cotton is found in bags, apparel, uniforms, hats, face masks and a lot more. We hear words like herringbone, chambray, fleece and jersey. But what do they mean and what is the difference between calico and canvas? We’ve got the answers below.

Firstly, what is the difference between Calico and Canvas?

The confusion stems from the finish! Both calico and canvas are commonly produced undyed. Their natural look makes both calico and canvas popular, eco-friendly material for totes and shopping bags. But the difference between calico and canvas, though, is in the weight of the thread and the density of the weave.

Calico is light, loosely woven cotton fabric. It is used in fashion for making test garments before moving onto the more expensive material. Calico’s raw look and light weight make it a popular fabric for carry bags and homewares.

Canvas, on the other hand, is heavier than calico and more tightly woven. A thicker and tighter weave makes canvas more durable and structured. Canvas products include backpacks and tote bags, sneakers, aprons, workwear and upholstery. Outside, waterproofed canvas is seen in tents, sails and tarpaulins.

You can read about cotton bags in our article, here.

What’s the difference between Brushed Cotton and Twill?

Brushed cotton is just as its name describes. Once the cotton is woven it is brushed on one or both sides as a finishing touch. Brushing gives the fabric a soft and sometimes fluffy texture that works as an insulator. Brushed cotton is perfect, then, for bedding, pyjamas and soft tees. Flannel, for example, is a medium weight cotton brushed on both sides.

Twill refers to the way the cotton is woven rather than finished. Twill is a sturdy and durable weave, mostly seen in chinos and denim, but it can be used in many ways. Depending on the weight of the thread, a twill’s signature diagonal ribbing can be obvious or subtle.

Isn’t Chambray just a lighter Denim?

Cotton chambray is often paired with denim in fashion because they’re both most commonly blue. Chambray differs from denim, though, by its weight and weave. It is plain woven with thin white and blue yarn. This makes the multi-coloured fabric light and crisp.

Denim is made in a twill weave with medium to heavy weight yarn. Fashion denim is often woven with elastane to make it more wearable, but this also reduces its durability.

What are Herringbone and Poplin?

Herringbone and Poplin are common terms seen in cotton dress shirts and uniform apparel. Poplin is another plain weave fabric. What sets it apart is its ultrafine horizontal ribbing that gives the fabric a sheen. Suit trousers can be poplin when made from a medium weight yarn.

Herringbone is a pattern made by alternating the direction of a twill weave throughout the fabric. Herringbone fabric can vary from light to heavy. Light herringbone is found in dress shirts, while medium to heavy herringbone is used for items from jackets and heavy coats to upholstery.

What exactly is Jersey Cotton?

Jersey is made from cotton that has been knitted rather than woven. This makes it soft to touch and gives the fabric more stretch. Cotton hoodies and tracksuits are made from jersey cotton with a brushed fleece on one side.

What does Rib Knit mean?

A very descriptive name, rib knit cotton is a knitted fabric where the loops appear alternating on the front and back of the fabric, giving it a ribbed look. The ribs make the fabric super stretchy without the use of elastane or Lycra (though many still use them for stretch throughout the garment). Hoodies and jumpers will have rib knitted sleeve cuffs and waistbands. Fitted tops and dresses will be rib knitted throughout.

Cotton is a functional, versatile and improving resource. It is used around the world in fashion, furniture, homewares, camping gear, paper and agriculture industries. Australian cotton growers are evolving their tools and techniques to reduce the amount of water they use, and their carbon emissions. Their efforts are creating the same quality product with a smaller carbon footprint.

Australian cotton is valuable to so many industries, including promotional products – where one 227kg bale of cotton can produce 1,200 tees, or 4,300 pairs of socks. With so much to be made from cotton, we hope you now have the vocabulary to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Restaurant Merch - shirts

Restaurant Merch: Branded apparel to make you stand out

Restaurant Merch - shirts

We’ve talked about branded apparel before; however, this blog is not about staff uniforms or give-away hats. This blog is about the trending product that builds brands almost as fast as hand sanitizer is selling out. Restaurant merch and branded apparel.

Branded apparel draws on nostalgic appeal for restaurant patrons who want to sing your praises. Retro logos and characters from childhood campaigns can play on universal brand recognition so they are less about drawing in new customers than giving the fan-base a uniform. Smaller venues can capitalize on their restaurant’s often-unique theme and feel and give their loyal, local following another way to share beyond word-of-mouth. Read on to see why it’s a good idea for your brand to provide branded merch and apparel.

A reminder of the experience

Like tourists buying souvenirs from the destinations they’ve visited, visiting diners can purchase a memento of their experience. They can take your brand with them and advertise it to a new group of potential customers. The good food and great time they enjoyed will be remembered whenever they see or wear that item.

A branded T-shirt, mug, cap or any manner of products can be a memento and reminder of a first date, milestone birthday or where their family ate lunch each Sunday. Eating together is proven to build strong connections, just as clothes are proven to be potent memory objects. Let your customers take a physical reminder of their experience with them and share the love for years to come.

Support their favourite brands

Just like musos buy merch to support their favourite bands, so too do foodies to show their support of their best-loved eatery. As displayed particularly in the next example.

US restaurant, Arby’s, has provided it’s fans a subscription package that delivers a box of Arby’s merchandise to subscribers’ doors every month. The restaurant has a large following on social media, driven by their ‘fellow fan’ marketing philosophy. It is one that celebrates and joins in on what their diners love, making them feel understood and appreciated without being told what to like. Fans were keen to get a hold of the exclusive restaurant merch. The subscriptions sold out in under an hour.

For a great restaurant “too much of a good thing” does not exist. Patrons can eat multiple times a week at the same spot because they love the place. You can give them more to love for the times they can only daydream about your food.

For big and for small

Small takeaways and corner shops often have the most dedicated following. How good is your local chip shop or up-and-coming small franchise? We can name a few outstanding local eateries with reputations their diners would fight over. It’s not surprising that frequently returning customers relish the chance to show off their favourite restaurant. Word-of-mouth recommendations work well, and so do promotional products.

Promotional apparel such as a shirt, has space for a big print (visible from further away) and is worn by a large percentage of the world’s population. 80% of people in the US own at least one promotional t-shirt. This amounts to the second highest number of impressions of all promotional products – one shirt will expose your brand to 3,400 potential customers. The cost of just one of these impressions is two tenths of a cent. Affordable, yes?

You don’t have to be the Hard Rock Café to expand your brand to include apparel. The story behind the now-iconic shirt is that after three years of successful business, the café sponsored a local soccer team. As a sponsor, Hard Rock’s logo was printed on the front of the team’s shirt. The extra shirts were returned to the store and given away to customers. That Hard Rock Café shirt soon became a thing and there were more people coming in to buy one than eat at the café. Now it’s an international brand with venues, stores, museums and accommodation everywhere.

How to do restaurant merch successfully

Unless your brand has a long history with a cool vintage design, creating promotional apparel that looks like your uniform will just make things confusing for your staff and customers. Instead consider choosing stand-out and contemporary artwork that fits your brand. Go with something dark edgy to match the urban feel of your inner-city restaurant. For a bright and sunny fro-yo spot, go with bright and sunny colours. Look to local artists and the trends of your audience. For some brilliant Australian examples, see this article by the Gourmet Traveller.

Don’t be confined to shirts. How about a thick and cozy hoodie for patrons of your near-campus coffee shop? Sports-fabric tees for your juice joint or leather vests for your biker bar? Loafers for your bakery? Knowing your clientele makes the decision of what to go with much easier. Just give the people what they want, your brand will be all the stronger for it.

You can deliver more than takeaway to your customers while they’re safe inside. Contact Impact today to see how great your brand looks on apparel.

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Branded apparel and accessories for all occasions

On your sleeve – Branded Apparel and Accessories

Branded apparel and accessories for all occasions

Branded apparel is a popular choice for those wanting high-visibility promotional products. It was the number one promotional product category sold in 2017 for a reason. The opportunity to employ your own customers and potential clients as advertisers is well worth the price of the merchandise. Even though some clients are preferring branded apparel with minimal branding to avoid feeling like a billboard, you just need attractive items that carry a relevant or well-designed message to make yours a favourite. There are many other benefits in adding wearable promotional products to your stock.

Read on to see how branded apparel can work for your business.

Stats for branded apparel and accessories

In 2017, 35% of promotional products sold were wearables. That includes promotional t-shirts, hats, sunglasses, scarves, jackets and uniforms.

Did you know 58% of US consumers own a promotional t-shirt? It’s not too surprising that even more than that, 69%, own a promotional hat. That hat is even worn weekly by one third of men in the US. As we know, the more use a promotional product gets, the greater the number of impressions and the better it is for business, and the environment. In terms of your economic output, branded shirts will cost you two tenths of a cent per impression and hats, three tenths.

Brand recall is high among those who have received branded clothing – 85% of consumers remembered advertisers who gave them a shirt or hat. They can also remember the message of the product.

Special Events

Promotional wearables, particularly shirts and hats, are popular for events. One of the reasons being that people love something they can take home as a memento. Every time they put it on, they’re reminded of the time they had. Event apparel is also a way for people to advertise their participation in the event in the future – a sort of ‘I was there’ statement.

Remember to include the event slogan and social media tags so that anyone seeing the apparel can access more of your brand’s content and see what all the commotion was about. They may want to be a part of your next event if they like what they see.

Event apparel is often a t-shirt or hat given to an attendee for the very reasons above. Not to be forgotten, however, is what your team wears at the event. Even if it’s a trade show, having something out of the ordinary (not their usual uniform or business attire) for your staff to wear will help to build a sense of unity in your team and portray that to the people who see them. It also helps them stand out.

For things like sponsored fun runs and community events, limited edition branded apparel for your team is a simple way to thank them for their time in attending it. As we discussed in our post about employee engagement (link), we found that 90% of employees are happy to wear their company’s logo in public. Along with this, 57% of staff would stay with a company that provided them with promotional products.

Just some of the benefits of promotional apparel for events.

Uniforms

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In 2018, 50% of the Australian workforce wore uniforms. Included in these numbers were corporate apparel, polos, aprons and hats. Aussie employees don’t mind wearing uniforms, mostly because it takes the decision-making out of their morning routines. Customers also like it – 94% of them prefer staff in uniform because they can recognise them easily.

If your business has a uniform policy, adding your brand to it is an easy promotional opportunity. You’re not promoting your brand to your employees, but everyone with whom they come in contact. The presentation of your staff reflects your brand – be it casual or corporate – and adding the visual of your logo can help to make this correlation clearer. Wearing your brand is also a reminder to your employees that they are an example of your business and that can empower them to perform.

Branded merchandise can help promote your brand even if your employees don’t wear uniforms. Accessories like aprons, name badges and even PPE allow your team to continue to rep without interrupting their own outfits.

Promotional Socks!

We’re just adding this one in because we love doing branded socks. They’re a quirky way to add your brand to your potential customers’ everyday apparel. They’re not in your face but they’re seen whenever you put on, take off or tie your shoes. Why not add them to your social media marketing campaign like Mexican takeaway, Guzman y Gomez (link)?

Socks have a wide appeal. Unisex and easily hidden beneath trousers or flaunted with a pair of sandals (not our favourite way, but a common one). Fresh socks are also the epitome of comfort, so no one would turn them down. With the right design they could be fighting for a pair.

Branded apparel is a common and effective way of marketing your brand. There are a lot of options for any occasion – be it everyday work attire, event memorabilia, trade show uniform or social media promotion. Take your pick and run with it, because promotional wearables will get your message out and about.