- laser cutting the leather patches
- hand dying the leather
- treating & stitching the leather patches
- grommeting the hats
- laser cutting the wood clips
- cutting, tying & styling the laces
- screen printing
- sublimating pocket fabric
- vinyl cutting
- cutting, sewing & applying the pockets
What is done in house?
We are based out of Portland Oregon and do many of the steps to make our hats right here in our warehouse. While it isn't always the easy route, we are proud of the hard work that goes in to each one of our hats.
Our base hats are supplied from from multiple trusted manufactures overseas, mainly China, then shipped to us to begin turning them into a Findlay Hat.
We are still a young brand and we do not have the funds to efficiently build bulk hats ourselves, though it is our ultimate intention, we aren't there yet.
We are a team of 12+ Americans, working every day to create the best company we can.
Keep scrolling for more info on all of the production we do ourselves.
When we started, all of our embroidery was outsourced to a local company. This was expensive, but necessary...the living room we ran the brand out of didn't have space nor could we afford an embroidery machine!
As we grew, we were able to slowly invest in machinery, including our very own single head embroidery machine. As we grew, so did our demand for in-house embroidery and we now have 38 total embroidery heads, running one of the largest embroidery operations in the Northwest.
By doing embroidery in house, it allows us to have complete control over the end product, and launch new styles, designs & colors frequently.
These machines are intense to run, but something that we are excited to have and we love the freedom to create that they allow us to have.
One of the first things we did in house, sewing!
The first big investment for our brand back in 2014 was a $500, 80+ year old treadle-powered Singer sewing machine. This thing helped the us win World War II!
It is fully manual, no electronics here. Sarah loves that machine and proudly rocks a tattoo with it pictured on her arm...but she doesn't like to brag about it and likely won't be happy I am mentioning that here!
Either way, sewing is a very hands on, tedious and time consuming process, but another piece of the puzzle we love to be able to offer.
Have you ever seen one of these laser cutting machines run? They are mesmerizing.
These machines give us the power to engrave & cut leather patches and wood clips to whatever shape & design we can dream up. The detail these things are capable of is always surprising and we are still unlocking the potential of these beasts.
Interesting side note, both of these machines are pretty old, with the one on the left running on Windows 95! Dated computer tech aside, these things are work horses and are on almost all day running leather patches & clips for our team.
We recently added a new BEAST to the lineup, and it is the newest piece of machinery in here at just 2 years old! Just now starting
Treating & Dying The Leather
The leather patches come out of the machine a light tan color. Dying & treating the leather allows us to protect the leather from damage while adding color & style to each one.
This is a easy to miss step of our production process, but extremely time consuming and detail oriented. Every single patch is hand treated, and then possibly dyed by our team before it is stitched to the hat.
Every single hat has 2 grommets on it, installed right here. While not a complicated process, it is still an important piece of what we do here considering it holds our Stampede Laces on the hat.
When we started, we used a small handheld grommet press we bought from the crafts store. After a couple of hundred hats done on that thing, we decided to invest in a larger manual grommet press. It worked great, but after a while your wrist would start to hurt form using it....so we decided to invest in a pneumatic grommet press.
The first one we bought dyed on us after only a month of use, and the company more or less lied to us and refused to fix or honor the warranty (still a lil salty about that!) but it made us invest in this bigger, nicer press and it has been used daily ever since.
Watch your fingers!
Serge, Cut & Install Pockets
Our hidden pockets! An important step in the production process.
Our pockets are decorated in 2 different ways: Screen printing & sublimation.
Once the sheet of pockets is made, we run them through the serger. This cuts & stitches the top of each pocket.
From there, we have strips of pockets where they are cut into individual pockets, then applied to the hat using a fabric fusion glue.
We have used thousands of different pocket styles over the years & we love how they add that little extra secret accent to the hat that adds just a little more flare & identity to each hat.
Sublimation & Heat Press
Sublimation is an amazing process...basically, we can print any graphic we want, and press it on to a polyester blend of fabric, and have amazing, vibrant, full color pockets.
Our sublimation printer is a workhorse...and Oliver lovingly says it is basically "Weekend At Bernie's" level of life...it works, but has given us some battles!
As of July 2020 we haev added a new printer to our lineup! Fingers crossed for some less
Cutting, Tying & Styling the Stampede Laces
Our Stampede Laces don't come pre-tied and there isn't a machine that does it for us, so every single Findlay hat has laces that are cut, tied & styled right here.
Shipping & Fulfilment
We make, process, pack & ship every single order we receive. No outside fulfillment center, no third party warehouse handling your order. Everything is processed by our team, right here.
While it is extra work, we are happy to do this in house, and the additional jobs we are able to provide for in-house fulfillment.
From screen printed pockets, to shirts & hoodies, all of our screen printing is done in house. This is another piece of the production process we could easily outsource, but we are happy to be able to do it ourselves.
For sure the next area we want to upgrade, especially as we grow we are starting to max out our screen printing capabilities.
Being able to create commercial & promotional images in house is a huge advantage. These tools allow us to capture the world the way we experience it, and our products the way we want them to be seen.
Plus, capturing good-times is a good time by itself!
Warranty & Returns
Offering a warranty on damaged hat is not the industry standard...infact we are not really aware of many brands out there that offer any type of warranty on their hats.
This is a huge piece of our brand, we want people to wear their hats while having good times without being worried about them getting damaged or broken, that is why we offer this warranty program.
The logistics of receiving hundreds of hats a month to fix or adjust is no easy process, but again, something we are proud to offer and happy to have as a service for the Findlay Force.
Vinyl stickers aren't gonna cut & weed themselves! A small step, but still something we enjoy doing right here.
PS this is a staged photo, we had already weeded all the stickers we needed for the week and just needed a photo to show people roughly what the process looks like.
Look at that transparency, no tricks up our sleeve!
Our graphics are conceptualized, designed & created by our small team of designers. We don't outsource this to random artists or designers with clout. We work with local designers who really understand the brand and work in line with our brand vision.
The future is crazy...some day we may be fully 3-D printing hats, but for now we just use this tool to create random parts for our machines, trinkets for the warehouse & 3D Printed face shields.
Skateboard Graphic Application
The newest in-house offering, in a partnership with Rose Skateboards & Drip Skateboards, stay tuned as we slowly unlock this beast.
We take a lot of pride in what we do ourselves, and will always keep this mentality in mind as we grow.
Thank you for taking the time to learn a little bit more about what we do here, we hope you enjoy!