What started out as a way to grow their hat collections has become a vehicle for positive change in the world. SixHats Supply Co., the hat company founded by Brendon Edgar and Kyle Cuthiell, is helping create access to clean water in developing communities with every cap and beanie they sell. But to do that, they needed inventory and a way to ensure orders arrived at customers’ doorsteps on time. With the COVID-19 pandemic throwing a wrench into global supply chains and shipping routes, the tandem decided they couldn’t go at it alone – so they sought out GoBolt for an assist.
Based out of Vancouver, British Columbia, SixHats Supply Co. started out as an idea for two “hat addicts” to, well, get more hats. “We both have well over a hundred hats each,” says Edgar, a former professional mountain bike racer. “We were just like, what if we make a few more of what we want.”
As they did their research, observing what made other brands successful, Edgar realized something. “I’ve done a lot of travelling, mountain biking, and racing professionally. I obviously saw a lot of things – I wasn’t, you know, too stoked on water being one of them.”
There were places, Edgar found, where clean water wasn’t easily accessible. “We were going to races where it’s like, hey, you gotta buy all this bottled water because you can’t drink out of the tap.”
And so though it wasn’t part of the original plan, SixHats Supply Co. decided that with every sale, they would give back. They partnered with The Thirst Project, a non-profit that works to build freshwater wells in developing communities to create access to clean drinking water. For every hat and beanie sold, they are able to provide clean drinking water to six people for a year.
After about a year and half of preparation, SixHats launched in 2019 to what Edgar describes as a “slow” start.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
With many sheltered at home and shopping online, SixHats’ sales skyrocketed. “We couldn’t keep up with the inventory, because we didn’t expect a huge amount of sales,” said Edgar.
It was a good problem to have – but only for so long. Shipment that was meant to arrive in June, arrived instead in August, and multiple orders were arriving at the same exact time. “I was the only one [at the loading bay] with hundreds and hundreds of boxes.”
On top of catching up on inventory, they were also struggling with shipping costs and duration.
“Being on the west coast, shipping everything to the east coast was taking forever,” Edgar said. Some orders were taking two to three weeks to arrive in Ontario.
“That creates so much headache. A person’s going to email you three times and waste your time asking where [their order] is, when you can’t give them an answer because it says ‘two to 45-day delivery.’”
Edgar says they decided to approach Both for help. With GoBolt’s fulfilment centre being located in Ontario, Edgar says they’ve been able to cut back significantly on shipping duration and costs.
Customers no longer wait more than four or five days to receive their order. “And the ones that get it same-day are absolutely baffled that they email and ask us how the hell we did that,” he said. “Those people are talking about it. Like, ‘you wouldn’t believe this – I ordered a hat at 10 o’clock this morning and it showed up at six o’clock tonight.”
Edgar adds that what used to cost $20 in shipping fees now cost only $11, including pickup fees. “I went through the numbers with Josh” – the GoBolt account executive SixHats works with – “and I’m like, well, I can’t say no to this.”
SixHats has also been able to optimize their manpower. One of their staff, who used to pack boxes, has been able to move up in the company to work on the hats’ design, for example.
“It actually cut our customer service completely. … We’re like, where are the emails?” With customers getting their orders in more quickly, returns are down, and so is the need for customer service.
Helping the Helping Hand
“Everything kind of streamlined when Bolt started doing our fulfillment for us and it’s purely because of location, the speed of shipping, and bringing the costs down. It’s just incredible to see,” said Edgar.
“That’s why I partnered with Bolt. I realized that it’s better to let the professionals do it. And you know, you end up saving money. It is cheaper for me to use Bolt than to do it myself.”
And as the two-year-old company finds its groove, their founders’ vision for it remains bigger. “I would want this brand to end the global water shortage,” said Edgar.
“It’s not about the money, it’s not about anything. It’s about helping and ending [the water shortage] because you know, we’re very, very fortunate in the Western world to not worry about water for the most part.”
“We have our shortages here and there in the middle of the summer. …But I mean, that resource, everybody in the world should have it at their fingertips and not have to walk and carry and go retrieve it every day.”
SixHats Supply Co. is a Vancouver, B.C-based hat company with a mission: to fund the building of wells in developing communities around the world, in order to create access to safe, clean drinking water. As a partner of the non-profit, The Thirst Project, SixHats Supply Co. is able to provide clean drinking water to six people with every hat or beanie sold.
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