The future of baseball caps is in hip-hop and country crooners.
Sports cap retailer Lids is launching a new business strategy to capitalize on a growing trend that has nothing to do with sports teams, The Post has learned.
The Indianapolis-based company, which sells baseball-styled caps at 1,277 stores across the country, is wooing rappers, country stars and individual athletes for licensing deals for exclusive merchandise, executives told The Post. The new caps will make up half of the store’s merchandise within two years, they said.
“The growth of our business is in this fashion space,” Lids Chief Executive Tom Ripley told The Post exclusively. “We are going after the fashion customer and that’s women and non-sports consumers.”
On Wednesday, Lids announced Meek Mill, the multi-platinum hip-hop artists behind “24/7,” had become a co-owner of Lids and will release a limited-edition exclusive hat line for its store in August.
And this week, Chance The Rapper — collaborating for the second time with Lids — will be dropping an exclusive hat featuring his signature Number 3 logo.
But Lids execs tell The Post that this is part of a larger shift that will see the company’s current core products — focused on logos of professional and collegiate teams — shrink to 50 percent of the 28 million hats Lids sells annually. Currently, hats donning sports team logos, including 43 varieties of Yankee hats, make up 75 percent of annual inventory.
The company also is stocking up on hats that carry Nike, Adidas or Champion logos, among other brands not affiliated with a specific team or sport.
“We’d love to work with Jay-Z and Drake and the biggest country artists as well as athletes who are trying to do interesting branding initiatives,” said Lawrence Berger, a partner in Ames Watson, the private equity firm which bought Lids in February.
The exclusive hats with artists and athletes will only be available in Lids stores as the company tries to drive more traffic to its bricks and mortar locations, which will be gaining another 40 outlets between July 26 and Oct. 1.
The celeb hats will be priced between $20 to $35, less than the average $39 for the sports hats, which include hefty royalties to teams and leagues.
Credit: Source link