Kangol and Bollman to Reshore Manufacturing Jobs

Headwear brand Kangol — worn by celebrities including Brad Pitt, Bill Murray, Gwen Stefani and Samuel L. Jackson — is making a move to bring the manufacturing of their iconic 504 style stateside with the Bollman Hat Company.

With this bold move, Kangol and Bollman Hat Company will create 41 new, full-time American jobs and retain 176 currently held positions over the next three years. Bollman is America's oldest hat maker and its Pennsylvania factory has made hats continuously since 1868.

In 2001, Bollman Hat Company acquired the global license to design, produce and distribute Kangol headwear. Prior to the acquisition, the decision by previous ownership had already been put in motion to move all manufacturing to China in order to stay competitive.  The factory in China was purchased in 2006 by a Chinese hat maker that has now decided to close its doors, paving the way for Kangol to bring even more of its production to the United States.

"Our employee-owners are very excited about moving this production here to America's oldest hat factory. A successful Kickstarter campaign will make this a reality sooner. This is a historic time for a historic brand and a historic company. We have a chance to influence and be a part of this history," said Bollman president and CEO, Don Rongione.

The knitting machinery used to make the wool 504 was built exclusively for Kangol in the 1930s and 1940s. There are currently 80 machines in China that need to be transported to the United States. Bollman has already moved 10 of the machines over and made the necessary electrical conversions. The total cost of the endeavor will exceed $600,000.

Bollman has already committed more than $350,000 and will receive an incentive from the PA DCED (Department of Community and Economic Development), which awarded Bollman a $60,000 Pennsylvania First Program grant.

To counterbalance the remaining costs, Bollman is calling on the public through a Kickstarter campaign slated to go live on American Made Matters Day, Nov. 19, 2015.  The campaign will offer rewards ranging from naming rights to the factory and this special machinery to limited edition product in return for donations. Funding from this campaign will enable Bollman to make iconic Kangol products in the US, create jobs, and redeploy an idle part of the Bollman factory.

Bollman is a founding member of American Made Matters — a community of U.S. makers with a focus on bringing attention to the importance of making and buying American products — and is deeply committed to supporting U.S. production. This undertaking will allow Bollman Hat Company to show its commitment to U.S. manufacturing, embracing the belief that "if it can be made here, it should be made here."

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