Back to School (What Do You Mean No Branded Hats in the Building?)

August 1, 2016 - By Emily Potter

A couple of months ago, SAGE released the top 10 promo product industries, and we broke each industry down for you. If you’ll remember, Education was number one. So, today we’re going to take a much larger look at the education industry and what it means for branded hats.

After reading this, you’ll be able to convince those old schoolers that despite what they’ve heard, caps and even gum are perfectly acceptable. Can you believe the use of phones and tablets in class is encouraged nowadays?

Times are a ‘changing, folks!


There are 2,618 colleges and universities in the United States, and they are a gold mine of promotional products. Everywhere you look, people are wearing branded hats or sweatshirts, even fanny packs.

Often times these garments are branded with the university’s logo because students are proud of their school and its legacy. Universities give out swag bags to incoming freshmen; make sure they include a cap.

Logoed hats should be an easy sell to bookstores and local staples in the community that are looking for items to sell or give away.

Greek Life 

If four years of collegiate Panhellenic membership taught me anything, it was this: we will buy literally anything if you put our letters on it.

If you’re wondering where all of the money goes that you put into your daughter’s account each week, check out all of the sorority paraphernalia in her dorm next time you visit.

More than 800 campuses support fraternities and sororities.

To the entire Greek system, hats are an easy sell.

The functionality sells them for you. Caps are perfect for bad hair days and running across campus when you’re late for class. And nothing pairs better with running shorts and rubber boots on a rainy, spring-semester day.


People go crazy for college sports, especially those of us residing in the southern regions (I’m looking at you, SEC).

Make sure universities are including branded hats in their mix. They’re guaranteed to make a profit when sold at or around game time. Students, alumnae, and fans will purchase gear to wear to games and show their support for the school…and also, football.


Texas A&M is one of the largest college campuses in the nation with almost 60,000 undergraduates enrolled in 2015. Its website boasts over 1,000 student organizations.

Many universities offer a list of campus clubs on their website. With a little digging, you can contact decision makers directly and let them know what branded hats can do to grow and expand the impact their organization makes on the community. 

Branded Hats

High Schools

I’m from Small Town, U.S.A. So, I can’t speak for big cities, but I know that where I come from, we love our Alma Mater and the place we grew up We bleed those school colors and belt that Fight Song.

And let me tell you, you don’t know what football is until you’ve watched it on a warped wooden bleacher under a faded, chipped press box on Friday night. More on football in a minute.

Booster Clubs, PTAs, and PTOs

Booster Clubs, Parent Teacher Associations (PTA), and Parent Teacher Organizations (PTO) are groups made up of parents and faculty who come together to serve students. They do things like raise money so a team can attend an out of town tournament or provide snacks and pencils during standardized tests.

These groups can act as a gatekeeper; if you build a solid relationship with them, they’re likely to recommend you and your spirit products to other departments within the district.


Did I mention football, yet? Cause, you know, we’re less than a month away from the best sports season there is.

Over 55% of the 14.9 million high school students in the U.S. are athletes.

It goes without saying that branded hats are the perfect addition to any sports team. The players will love them, the fans, the parents; the entire community can get behind a high-quality cap that supports their school and all its athletic endeavors. There’s a reason they’re called baseball caps, you know.


29% of high school students are involved in at least one school club or organization. While there aren’t quite as many organizations in high school as there are in college, the passion is undoubtedly there. Whether it’s student government or saving the planet one recycling bin at a time; young people love a good cause.

Use the relationships you make with booster clubs to reach out to school officials to see what needs haven’t been met throughout the district. Then work with them to figure out how branded hats can fill the gaps.

Trade Schools, Academies, and Apprenticeships

There are countless alternatives for post-secondary education beyond the traditional college coursework. Trade schools (also called vocational schools) are institutions where an individual learns to perform and perfect a skill or trade. We’ve provided a small sample list below to give you some reference.

These schools will have a much smaller enrollment number compared to conventional colleges. Promotional caps can help recruitment initiatives and allow students and alumnae to show pride in what they do and where they learned it.

Do you have any unique ideas for selling branded hats to schools? Let us know in the comments below. You can also follow us on Instagram using the hashtag #hatswork.

Emily Potter

Emily is the Content Marketer for Outdoor Cap Co. She holds an M.A. in AD & PR from the University of Alabama and a B.B.A in Marketing. Emily is an avid Crimson Tide football fan. She has a golden retriever named Opie Winston, and a cat named Tide.


Hatswork Round-Up: August 4, 2016


Hatswork Round-Up: July 28, 2016