New idea creates New Trend for rancher
Sun damage and her mother prompted Wyoming fifth generation sheep rancher Laura Pearson to create New Trend Hats, designed just for women.
“I’m out on the ranch all the time. I’d never wear a hat because my hair was always up in a ponytail. I’d wear sunscreen, but my mom would come visit and tell me ‘You’re not taking care of your face.’ For 30 years I didn’t wear hats,” Pearson said.
When she went on vacation one year, she found a bucket hat, cut a hole in it, fabric-glued the edges, and wore it with her ponytail.
“Everybody said ‘you’ve got to make those.’ I kept hoping somebody would do it for me.”
In 2008 she gave up on the idea of someone else making a hat that would accommodate a ponytail in some way other than out the back opening of a baseball cap, or a visor. She started the patent process with baseball caps and bucket hats, and has now added military-style and railroad-style winter hats, all with holes in the top for ponytails.
Pearson, who doesn’t sew and would rather be working her border collies, or managing the ranch, contracts with Canadian winter hat company, Crown Cap, to produce the winter caps.
Pearson tried to find a U.S. company to produce the other styles, but the only willing production facility she could find was in China. When she spoke to Crown Cap and told them she was probably going to have to source her winter hats overseas as well, they agreed to produce them in Canada. She initially bought the caps, then had a local friend, as well as the Wyoming Department of Corrections put the holes in them, but as demand picks up, and she gets her products placed in more retail stores, she needs to be able to keep up.
The hats are available in a variety of colors and styles, and can be embroidered with anything the customer wants. The embroidery is done in Laramie, but any custom embroidery orders at this point will be backordered until after Christmas.
Pearson also invented a sunglasses holder for the brim of her caps. “You can put your sunglasses on the brim of the hat, then there’s a little strip of fabric you snap over the sunglasses. It was just something I thought they needed. I’m always putting my sunglasses on the brim of my hat and then I’ll be out riding or feeding lambs, and pretty soon my sunglasses aren’t there, or they’re stomped in the dirt.” The sunglasses holder is also available on men’s hats.
Pearson handles all the orders herself, and is marketing to retail outlets when she finds time. She recently sent samples to Cabela’s, and already has her products in several Wyoming stores, including Lou Taubert in Casper, Linton’s Big R in Riverton, Southwest Wyoming Wool Warehouse, Bi-Rite Drug and Wyoming Work Warehouse in Rock Springs, and KC Sinclair in Kaycee to name a few.
She also has a website http://www.newtrendhats.com, but she prefers to take orders over the phone (307-350-5640), in hopes of saving her customers some shipping costs while getting to know them. The hats start at about $9.50 for a basic baseball cap with the ponytail hole. The Crown Cap winter hats with earflaps are $36.