Hat company generates nostalgia with custom vintage trucker hats

July 28, 2020

Glendon Sutton was walking through his local Hy-Vee one afternoon when he found his grocery shopping repeatedly interrupted by fellow customers. The reason for their interjections? They all wanted to compliment him on the custom hat he was wearing.

Sutton had sewn a vintage patch that belonged to his grandpa onto an old-style trucker hat just a few days before for his own personal enjoyment. But after receiving the numerous compliments for the hat, he saw a business opportunity that eventually became Good Head Hat Co.

Sutton co-owns Ink Bucket, a screen printing company, with his wife, Brandi. The couple initially planned for the custom hats to be a part of Ink Bucket, but the hats proved so popular that they spun them off into a separate business.

They primarily use Richardson and Yukon brand trucker hats. Customers can visit Good Head’s Etsy shop to pick among 100  hats and 300 to 500 patches, which are then hand-sewn onto the hats. Sutton said they scour the internet and garage sales for vintage patches and buy as many as they can to grow their inventory.

Good Head also offers custom embroidered designs and patches, giving customers full control over how they want their hat to look.

“We can pretty well tailor to anything that anybody can dream up,” Sutton said.

The couple started Good Head right as COVID-19 hit Sioux Falls, so they were worried about how their business would grow.  Although Ink Bucket’s sales have been severely impacted by the pandemic, Sutton said their hats have been doing quite well.

“Just about everybody can afford a $20 to $30 hat, you know?” he said. “It’s hard to gauge because we didn’t have it before (the pandemic), but so far it’s doing well.”

COVID also affected the couple’s plans to open a storefront for their two businesses. They had perused the market in February, but any dreams of a physical location were dashed temporarily by the pandemic. Instead, the Suttons continue to operate out of their home print shop. 

Sutton said he has received positive feedback from customers so far, as they often send him pictures of themselves wearing the hats while fishing or playing golf. He believes they’ve been so popular because of the nostalgic feel that surrounds them. Nostalgia is why Sutton sewed his grandpa’s patch onto a hat in the first place — a decision that has led to a whole new business for him and his family. 

“I think it’s because it’s retro,” he said. “Everything retro is in. It kind of started with cars a few years ago and then in the movies. I think that’s the biggest thing, nostalgia; everyone looks at these hats and thinks of their dad or their grandpa. I think that’s what drives them to them.”

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Hat company generates nostalgia with custom vintage trucker hats

“Everyone looks at these hats and thinks of their dad or their grandpa.” A nostalgic take on hats is proving to be a hit for this new business.

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