It has often been said that it’s on the road where you meet some truly interesting characters – something we have missed during this strange past few months.
On our most recent visit to Florence for Pitti Uomo, we spent some time with a group of close friends from Sweden, it was here that the Dapper Chapper team was introduced to Businessman John Carlstrom and his quirky trucker cap brand ‘John Hatter & CO.’.
With a background within the finance industry, the shift into creating a global fashion brand is perhaps not the most obvious move with Carlstom under no illusions that his fashion product of choice might not be for everyone – but we can leave that up to you…
In fact Carlstrom encompasses true entrepreneurship (he recently adjusted his business to making PPE for the Swedish health service) as well as the passion for statement-making headgear.
Here we talk to the man himself…
“There were a few raised eyebrows among friends, but yes, I stopped all manufacturing of the caps to focus on making PPE for the Swedish Health Service,” Says Carlstom as we re-connect over Zoom (anyone else tired of it?).
Today, he has been part of chartering private airliners via Russia to transport the product from China and had everything signed off and regulated by Swedish Government officials to feed into the healthcare system.
“I might be just a small business from Sweden, but I felt from the outset that we were on the brink of a pandemic and that I should do something to help,” says Carlstrom.
So, back to the caps….
John Hatter & CO. is a high end trucker cap and beanie brand that carries a unique aesthetic with its aluminium plate at the front carrying cool lines from the coolest of movies…
“I was celebrating New Year’s Eve at the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok in 2016/2017 and I had a hat with ‘El Patron’ written on it. That cap created a lot of impact and caused a lot of conversation.
Following this, I went to a fitness camp and started to think about the impact the cap had and how interesting it would be to create something that effectively became a networking tool and a conversation starter and this is where the initial idea
After months on sampling, going through dozens of factories, carefully considering the quality of all the materials and obsessing over creating the perfect model fit, Carlstrom was ready to go.
“For me, the main purpose of the hats is to make a bold statement – some might seem offensive, but it’s just good humour. I want people to smile and laugh about it.
“My friends were laughing at me and telling me it would never work because of my background, but then I went on to sell hats online and in stores – it’s amazing really.
At the start it was just minor sales and the first store to sell was United Fashion in Gothenburg – I sold out in a week!
“I’ve now taken John Hatter to Pitti, CIFF, Berlin, NYC and Vegas. For example, It has really taken off in the US and we have had more than 20 stores in just 3-4 months of pushing. Overall, we are in 31 countries and around 120 stores,” he adds.
With retailers including four luxury hotels in the Maldives as well as The Waldorf Astoria and at the Atlantis hotel in Dubai and Nobu hotel in Marbella, the John Hatter & CO. brand is also available in destinations including as Puerto Rico, Canada, Dubai and all over Europe.
So are there plans for John Hatter & CO. own stores?
“In terms of standalone stores, yes, that is something we are looking at now with a particular focus on a showroom/office/boutique in Stockholm as well as the potential to open pop-ups in airports – again due to the vacation/gifting element,” says
And in terms of the target market buying the product?
“We see people from 10 years old up to 70 wearing the product, so it’s a wide variety, which I think is pretty good. If you want to be seen and to wear a statement you will buy John Hatter & CO. We are 100% a brand with no age limit. Everyone can wear them. A lot of men and women too – it’s a unisex, multi-aged product.”
For further information on John Hatter & CO. please visit www.johnhatter.com