Yes and no.
We currently buy blank caps from five different sources, most of the blank caps we use are made in China and imported into three Auckland based distributors we buy from. We also import NZ exclusive limited run styles directly from Italy, South Africa, the USA and Australia that you won’t find anywhere else.
At our outset we have always wanted to build a range of fully New Zealand made caps to sit at the very top of our range. There are two hat manufacturers who can make caps locally, one in Auckland and one in Wellington. We had one totally NZ made cap made as a test run of 10 late 2019 before we dived in to a solid range. While 6 of the 10 were perfect and found homes with very happy wearers, 4 were poorly made and unsellable, the standard of finish was not what we had hoped for. With no responsibility taken by the factory to resolve the issue we could not use the first factory again.
We’ve contacted the second manufacturer a total of 4 times and as yet the promised replies, quotes or phone calls have not eventuated. It’s definitely not for lack of trying.
We design most of the badges ourselves but do work with local and international artists to create with from time to time.
The etching of the various badges and graphic locally from three different laser etching companies, Auckland for the etching directly onto the cap fabric direct, Christchurch for the laser etched steel and Dargaville for the laser etched bamboo.
We then customise the various badges here in Timaru, heat, blowtorch, bend, sand and then paint / varnish to seal and protect the badges from the elements. Each badge is finished by hand, all different ensuring your hat is unique to you with no two exactly the same. Once complete we attach the badges to the caps, ready to sell.
So the short answer is the blank caps are currently all imported and all of the laser etched badges and design creative is started and finished here in New Zealand to honour this awesome country we all love share.
New Zealand made? Yes and no.