Western & English Today


W&E Today provides retailers and manufacturers with education and ideas that provoke innovation in the Western and English markets.

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46 Western & English Today N ew Jersey-born John B. Stetson didn't strike it rich when he set out for Colorado during the Pike's Peak gold rush in the early 1860s. Yet he found something better than gold. Af er all, that boom had pretty much played out by the mid-1860s. But the cowboy hat, which Stetson invented? "T e cowboy hat is an iconic image," says Ricky Bolin, general manager for RHE Hatco Inc., which produces Stetson, Resistol and Charlie 1 Horse hats. "You can wear cowboy boots or a Western shirt in the mall and not get a second look from a passer-by. But when you wear a cowboy hat, you are making a statement that you live the Western lifestyle." And while Hatco isn't just about Stetson – Resistol and Charlie 1 Horse wearers remain equally loyal to their brand – few will deny that Stetson is practically synonymous with the cowboy hat. Need proof? Ask François Chladiuk, who has owned Western- shop in Brussels, Belgium, since 1990. "For 99 percent of our customers, a cowboy hat is a Stetson," Chladiuk says. "Even if they look at a very cheap hat made in Mexico or even China, they call it a Stetson. It's the only brand they heard about. So every hat is a Stetson in their mind. In the store, I need to The maker of Stetson, Resistol and Charlie 1 Horse hats has evolved with the times while maintaining the classic, iconic appeal of its brands. By Johnny D. Boggs RIDING for the BRANDS

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