First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
RYAN LUND: Pretty healthy, for the most part. Just anxious to get the economy back up and running like normal.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded WILD Hat Co?
RYAN LUND: I’ve been in the logo design and web development industry for close to 15 years. I started a fitness apparel company back in 2005, called MuscleFire Clothing Co. for quite a few years that was a huge success. Be on the lookout for a new version of that in the near future.
I enjoy staying active, love the mountains/outdoors., and tend to wear hats almost daily. So with that said, I started my own hat company, WILD Hat Co.
I handle all the design, product development, and sales for the company. I have a few other people that help out part-time.
How does WILD Hat Co innovate?
RYAN LUND: I feel staying ahead of the game as far as design goes, is key. Asking questions about what people feel and what is needed in this specific industry is a great way to get the right answers. People seem to want to give their thoughts and opinions on products, designs, marketing, etc., and I’m all for that! Buyers are picky these days, so with that, I’m looking at innovating by selling patches that people can sew on or heat press on to their own hat or beanie. This is for those that really like a hat they have in mind that WILD Hat Co. does not have in stock. They could also send us the hat, and we would do this for them. You sometimes have to go out of your way to satisfy customers, and I’m all for doing that!
I’m also interested in having an outside sales team for Whc. These individuals would work part-time and just promote the brand to stores around their area. If interested, please have resumes sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
RYAN LUND: Not a whole lot, as WILD Hat Co. does not have an actual retail store. The goal is to have the products in stores here soon. I feel I’m in a good spot for growth potential, due to the popularity of the brand, and the numerous retail stores that are and will continue to do well with walk-in customers.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
RYAN LUND: The most difficult decisions have been what specific hat/beanie products to carry and how much inventory I should have on hand. Being I’m the only full-time employee. I luckily have not had to let anyone go or fire them during this crazy time.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
RYAN LUND: Exercise! It’s proven that exercise helps control stress and anxiety, along with helping you become stronger and healthier physically. Exercise and being outdoors is simply the best prescription out there to this day.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
RYAN LUND: There are a few hat companies (Neff and Coal Headwear, just off the top of my head), but not too many, so I feel my competition is pretty small. I actually love those companies though have supported them personally by buying their products. My goal to stay in the game is not to get too big too fast. Slowly growing month over month will be more comfortable. I also want to have some sponsored athletes as well. So if you know of anyone looking for a sponsor, give me a shout! Getting into a few retail stores will be a big positive too.
Your final thoughts?
RYAN LUND: Listen to your customers. Be creative. Don’t give up.
I look forward to donating to some national parks and state parks as well. I’m always looking for recommendations too, so let your audience know that they can contact me with their suggestions.
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