Jimmy Hickey is the founder and owner at Findlay Hats. Founded in late 2013, they have grown from a 2 person team working out of a living room to a 12 person team in a warehouse. With no outside funding, investors or famous influencers, they now have a fiercely loyal community of over 100,000 with a 7-figure revenue in 2019.
Jimmy went to school for photography and tried his best to make a living that way, but says it was a difficult industry to be in—especially with digital cameras becoming so widely available.
After a couple of years trying to make it work, he tried to shake out the best options for a career from a few different ideas. The “little hat company” idea was the option that had the most potential and so he dived head first into the business.
About Findlay Hats
- Based in Portland, Oregon
- Sells worldwide with major emphasis on USA
- 80-85% of business is eCommerce
- Carried in Zumiez and a handful of small shops across America
- Runs on Shopify
Favorite Shopify Plugins
About Findlay Hats
Findlay are “hats built for good times that are unlike anything else on the planet.” All Findlay hats have a special stampede lace that not only offers an extra visual appeal, but serves the purpose of allowing the wearer to secure the hat around their chin for any good times that might otherwise whip a hat right off someone’s head.
All Findlay hats have a secret pocket as well as a lifetime warranty. The warranty guarantees that the company will reimburse or replace a hat that gets damaged and Jimmy says these unique differentiators are what make them stand out. They’ve been a huge part of the company’s growth and have given retailers something to talk about with their customers as well.
Jimmy is a big Shopify fan and says it has been a completely rock solid platform for the business. They haven’t felt the need to upgrade to Shopify plus and are really happy with the top tier of regular Shopify. Some of Jimmy’s favorite widgets include any post purchase upsell plugin—Findlay uses zippify 1 click upsell. For them, this plugin has increased their revenue significantly.
In House Production
One unique thing about Findlay is how much they are able to do in house. Design, embroidery, grommets and laces and interior pockets are all done in their Portland factory.
Because they do so much in house Jimmy says they can do small runs which allows them to stop production on any product that’s not doing well. Doing in house productions allows the team to do small, limited volume runs that they can sell at a premium.
Jimmy loves that they can quickly produce their own products—especially in the fashion world as people love to have limited edition products. The positive aspects outweigh the headaches that come along with running your own production including the massive headache of trying to fix an enormous printer—imagine your home printing breaking x 1000…not pretty.
A major differentiator for Findlay is the success of their mystery products. Because of their aforementioned in-house production capability, Findlay mystery products aren’t cast-offs, but rather weekly launches of new designs and experiments that are more like collector items than left overs.
For a while, Findlay used mystery hats for their upsell and knocked $10 off, which he had a huge success rate. While a lot of companies use their leftovers or items that weren’t popular for their mystery items, Jimmy and his team intentionally produce their mystery product, which means consumers are getting not only a surprise but very well might be getting a limited edition or special product.
Today, their mystery packages rank as some of their most popular and well reviewed products.
In late December 2019, the team started a weekly launch edition and has seen a hugely positive shift from that experiment. Short runs paired with the weekly launches have been a winning combination.
The company has even created an app to do push notifications to super customers that Jimmy says has increased visits to their website significantly. People in the company’s facebook group and those who’ve downloaded their app represent their most die hard community members.
Jimmy says he is very intimately involved with their community and spends a considerable amount of time every single day engaging with people. They are very hands on and try to respond to every single comment they get from FB and instagram. They are also dedicated to responding to questions within 24 hours and try hard to engage with their customers as real people.
eCommerce Book Top Tip
- Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
eCommerce Traffic Top Tip
- Give personal attention to your community
Tool Top Tip
- Group Chat—maintaining an open dialogue with everyone on the team.
Growth Top Tip
- Smart social media advertising and a great product.
- Using Product Launches to create 200% annual growth with Chris Vallely of Dixxon Flannel Co
- Wet Shave Club’s Rohan Gilkes talks subscriptions, tribes, social media and brand – to turnover $350,000 in year 1
- Violent Little Machine Shop’s Yanne Root “Be unapologetically you” the power of the personal brand
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