I have never been a huge Grateful Dead fan – If any, only from a distance. But one of my favorite places to eat and listen to music is the Terrapin Crossroads. The Terrapin is nestled in the heart of Marin county, owned by Phil Lesh, one of the founding members and guitarist for the Grateful Dead. On any given night you can see a great live show, have a tasty California IPA, or eat some of the most delicious food in the bay area.
A few weeks ago my husband and I went to go see Phil Lesh and Friends play and it was an amazing show, playing some of my favorites; Shakedown Street, Jack Straw, and Terrapin Station. When I thought the weekend couldn’t have been any better, I saw on my social media feed that Bob Weir, Michael Franti, and Sammy Hagar were going to do a free acoustic set in support of solar power in California. This was a free concert and I didn’t know what to expect. In my head I was thinking there was going be a line 300 deep to get in and people camping out from the night before I arrive two hours before the show and as I turned the corner, I saw the line. I was going to be number 10 to get in – SCORE! My dear readers, I think you are starting to learn that Ladyhawk loves live music.
What does the Grateful Dead song Truckin’ and my weekend have to do with this blog post? Not much, other than one of my favorite trucker hat is the Dead’s skull logo with Lake Tahoe in the middle. The trucker hat has come a long way from its inception of being a mere promotional item given away in rural America. Since the 1950’s, the hats were given away as a free advertising strategy from companies that produ
ced tobacco, beer, auto parts, and were often known as the working man’s accessory. In the early 2000’s the stylization of the working men’s accessory evolved, and the designer trucker exploded to the scene being worn by every celebrity out there. Truckers hats have become an exceptional promotional item for any business; the simple design, foam front (easy to print on), mesh back, and one size fits all plastic back makes these one of the easiest, and inexpensive unisex SWAG item to produce.
After traveling all across the country this past season, the one style that, hands down, had the strongest sales, EARLY sell thru, and gross margin? The trucker hat.
From the manufacturer perspective, it is a phenomenal branding piece, that is simple to design, has short factory lead times, doesn’t take a lot of inventory space, and is inexpensive to produce compared to other products. Most of all – it gets the consumer into a branded product at an affordable price point.
What do I love about the trucker hat from the retailers end? It’s like chapstick, it’s an easy up-sell. As a retailer, I love the fact that these hats are unisex and I don’t have to worry about carrying a ton of inventory in various sizes. Rather I can focus on merchandising the hats with the styles that I brought in for the season and don’t have to worry about broken size runs. It’s easy to inventory, added value sale, and doesn’t swallow my open to buy.
As a consumer – I got 99 problems but trucker hats aren’t one of them. This is a staple in my wardrobe and something I buy for friends and family. Also, it is my go to piece for any adventure outdoors!
It is quite unexpected that there is a style out there that can be a win-win for everyone. At the end of the day it’s something that I can hang my hat on and keep on truckin’.