FILE: The Bollman Hat Company Factory

Making it in America: Bollman Hats

This Week On Making It In America

We tip our hats off to American manufacturing with Don Rongione, President & CEO of the Bollman Hat Company and Founder of American Made Matters.

Can you please tell us about the Bollman Hat Company?

Founded in 1868 in Adamstown, PA, Bollman Hat Company is America’s oldest hat maker. Bollman has continually made wool felt hats for 146 years. During its first hundred years, Bollman added hat manufacturing capabilities to produce a hat from raw wool to finished product. We added fur felt and straw hats to our manufacturing capability during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Today, Bollman has the best collection of hat brands in the headwear industry, including Bailey, Betmar, Country Gentleman, Helen Kaminski, Kangol and Pantropic. We became the first employee-owned headwear company when we adopted our Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) in 1985. Our employee-owners are proud to cover the world with unparalleled products that provide protection, comfort and style to millions throughout the world. We have nearly 300 people located on four continents and distribute products in 77 countries. Our products can be found worldwide in specialty stores, department stores, major and regional chain stores, and prominent catalog and e-commerce retailers. Throughout its incredible history, Bollman has been a primary supplier of private label headwear to the world’s leading brands and retailers covering fashion, outdoor apparel, uniform, formal wear and sports markets. Bollman owns hats.com, where consumers can browse and buy our products.

When did you first join the company? How did your role progress?

I started at Bollman as Controller in 1982. I have been blessed to serve in several positions within the company including Vice President of Administration, Sr. Vice President of Manufacturing, Executive Vice President and COO and finally President and CEO in 2002.

Why is making it in America significant at Bollman Hat Company?

Bollman is America’s oldest hat maker and will soon celebrate 150 years of U.S. hat making. I experienced the tragic decline of American manufacturing first hand when loss of major customers to foreign competition forced us to lay off more than 100 U.S. manufacturing employees. It was this experience that led me to found American Made Matters (AMM), an organization dedicated to educating consumers on just how important American manufacturing is to our country. Today AMM has close to 300 members in 43 states. Bollman is the home of American Made Matters.

What challenges has the Bollman Hat Company overcome throughout history in order to continue making it in America?

For our first ninety years, the hat industry flourished as wearing a hat was part of the daily uniform. The company always sought to develop new products and new markets. The loyalty and commitment of our people has been a hallmark of our famous company. We have 13 employee-owners during our history who worked for our company for 50 or more years of services. In 1985, we started our Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) making all of our employees owners of the company. Manufacturing in the USA continues to be a challenge for many companies with high labor-content products. However we are dedicated to keeping the jobs for our employee-owners here in the U.S.A. as well as being good stewards of our heritage.

How have you expressed a passion for American manufacturing outside from your business?

I continuously reach out to businesses to join the American Made Matters movement as well as personally purchase products from our own American Made Matters members. Today I am wearing 100% American made from my hat to my socks and shoes!

About the segments: ‘Making it in America’ is a place where individuals who are passionate about work in America can collectively share ideas, insights, and experiences relative to American manufacturing. Participants will be asked to share the ways in which they are ‘making it in America’ within their respective fields & present ways that we too, can help make a difference with work in America.

Past Guests

KNEX CEO Michael Araten.
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
Channellock VP of Sales & Marketing Ryan DeArment.
Makers Row - founding team Matthew Burnett, Tanya Menendez, Scott Weiner.
Made in the USA: The 30 Day Journey Producer/Filmmaker Josh Miller.
Quabaug CEO & Owner Kevin Donahue
Tervis - Rogan Donelly
Tito`s Vodka - Owner Tito Beverige
Country Music Artist Amanda Watkins
Annin Flagmakers - Marketing Manager Dale Coots
All American Clothing Co. President BJ Nickol

If you, or someone you know, would be interested in being interviewed on Making it in America, please send inquiries to Boomer Beam at [email protected]

About the Host:

Boomer Beam is a next generation writer, spokesman, advocate, & marketing professional. His career began in 2011, when he attended his mother`s 25th class reunion, who graduated from high school in 1986. She couldn’t go because she and his father had just moved. So Beam, who was studying Communication Studies at Wittenberg University at the time, went in her place. The rest is a humble beginning... Read more

Brought to you by All American Clothing Co.

All American Jeans on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer...

ABC World News Traces Made in America Jeans Back to the Farmer Who Grew the Cotton.

ABC World News Traces Made in America Jeans Back to the Farmer Who Grew the Cotton.

David Muir and the ABC World News made in America team are at it again with their made in America Christmas segments as thousands of Americans have already said they are in & ready to buy American made gifts. It`s the Christmas season & just one thing could help create thousands of new jobs right here at home as ABC World News reports that $64 spent on a USA Made item by each American can create over 200,000 new jobs and wish American workers a merry Christmas.

Clothing is just one theme with Christmas gifts each and every year, but did you know that 98% of the world`s clothing is NOT made in America? ABC World News reports that just 2% of the world`s clothing is made in America.

The All American Clothing Co. is part of that 2%. The USA made blue jean manufacturer is one of the few remaining USA made clothing companies left in America today. All American Clothing Co. was recently featured on the “Made in America” segment with ABC World News with Diane Sawyer (Dec. 6) as David Muir traced a pair of jeans back to the American farmer who grew the cotton with All American Clothing`s Traceability Technology.

About All American Clothing Co:

Founded in 2002 by Lawson & BJ Nickol due to a previous employer`s decision to outsource jeans and jobs to Mexico, the father and son team started the All American Clothing Co – A USA made jean company of their own that vows to never trade USA jobs for foreign profits. The father son duo and their All American Clothing Co. has been featured on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, CNN Living, Huffington Post, Fox Business, CNBC, Sirius XM, Forbes, Inc., and many more.

About Traceability Technology:

Traceability is all about the truth of where jeans come from. It offers some recognition to the hard working Americans who are involved in making jeans. All American Clothing Co. is the first jean company in the world that gives it`s consumers the opportunity to trace a pair of jeans back to the American farmers who grew the cotton used in their jean. The system supports over 12,000 American farmers & workers across the country.