This video is "The Long Version" of my story:
Below is written content like the video so if you watch that you will not need to read this!
I have had this silly and wonderful turtle hat for 20 years. I was skiing with friends in Purgatory, CO, which is near Durango. I took a tumble late one afternoon and tore up my knee. That evening, hobbling to dinner at what was in summer a golf resort, I saw and bought this hat. So between the torn ACL and Purgatory I love to say, “I went through hell to get this hat.” (The next winter I fixed the ACL I had torn and the year after that I was skiing again.)
The hat immediately became something of a phenomenon for me. I’d get a smile from the stewardess coming onto the plane. On the way to the back (I always get seated in the back) I’d get smiles and “Hey, love your hat.” I’m a kind of friendly guy so I ate it up.
The hat quickly became the vacation and day off hat. I make various jokes about it saying, “You can’t be pompous with a turtle on your head.” It helps me switch gears and be more laid back. If I left home for a trip without it, my daughters would make me go back and get it; my wife did too! Other jokes? “Come out of your shell, wear a turtle.” Or: “You can not be rude when wearing a turtle, not only would it be impolite, you will also look stupid.”
I have found as I walk, people look at the hat and it seems like they are looking me in the eye; so I am always about to say hello to someone I do not recognize. That’s kind of fun. And I can give them a wink or a tilt of the hat in a friendly way and almost always get a smile. But I found in England it did not work. People never looked at it and I was perplexed. I was traveling with a friend and he began laughing in the railway station when he was walking behind me. It turns out the people were so polite and reserved they would not look at me as they approached but would turn to look after they passed me, chuckling to themselves. My buddy Jeff was seeing the effect of the hat while I was not.
I had enjoyed the hat for about 5 years and it was getting a bit worn and stained. So I began to look for another. The tag was long gone from my hat. Every year I would spend several hours scouring the internet for another. I am not exaggerating, I really wanted another clean and new hat. In 11 years I only saw one picture of the same hat. It was the floating trophy for the volunteer of the year in a sea turtle rescue group in Costa Rico!
By and by my old hat was so worn I had replaced the lining, but it was still so stained and frayed I dreaded taking it off to show people.
Finally, after I had owned the hat about 16 years, I found another hat in a vintage second hand clothing store online! I was over the moon.
After 3 years the new hat began to get salt stains, too, and I still could not find another. I had found the maker because the new hat had the tag in it but they were long out of business. I was working in the clothing business and thought to ask a contact what it would take to have more made. A cap maker said "No problem. The minimum order is $5000." So I shelved that idea! Nobody has $5000 even for so fabulous a hat!
About a year later I realized that if I could sell the hats, I could do it. And to be certain there was interest and to help with the initial investment, I could use Kickstarter. So here we are! I am putting in the front money to get the project going. This is about $3500. (There's a video giving the details of expenses for the numbers people down below.) I am hoping you will want to share this fun, get a hat, or get one for a friend, brother or father, or just share the idea on your Facebook page.
You will find my website at www.theturtlehat.com. Please consider putting it and this Kickstarter page on Facebook or Pinterest or telling friends.
My daughters, now grown and married, hardly remember a time I did not have the turtle hat. For them it is rich with memories of relaxed days when Dad let his hair down. I hope you can have some fun with it too. I promise you new and personal humor will grow up in your family as you wear it.
Disclaimer: You cannot take yourself too seriously with a turtle on your head. If you are easily offended or do not have a good sense of humor, please do not get a hat for yourself, get it for someone you want to give a hard time and have a good laugh with!
I am including shipping in all pledges except international 100 hats. So there will be no add-on for shipping in USA.
Where is my original turtle hat?
I deconstructed it with a seam ripper so we could make a pattern to construct more. I have sacrificed the relic so you too can have a turtle on your head.
Below is the sample of the hat:
Royalty Free Music from Bensound
Risks and challenges
The biggest risks are past: Tearing apart a hat I love and sending that and the replacement hat to China for them to make a sample. That risk worked out the first time and I received samples. When I sent it to another factory for samples the hats were both lost and I had to send one of the new samples as examples to the second factory for them to make samples. It is all working out.
There may be production delays but I think it unlikely. The first sample was made in July. This will make the production schedule clear and near guaranteed. The factory knows what they are getting into because they made the sample and have the patterns.
I may face the challenge of over subscription. This would be wonderful, I will just have to work hard to get all the rewards shipped to be received in December. I have already contacted a local fulfillment firm I can use if it looks like too large a challenge to get rewards shipped for Christmas by myself.
200 T-shirts of each design are already printed and more can be printed if needed.
The luggage tags for rewards are being set up and will be ready to order when we know the number needed.
On further reflection and experience I am aware there may be challenges with US customs but I do not think they will be insurmountable or greatly derange our schedule.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)