Desert Rat note: So there’s a back story here.John Ruffing, BuoyWear Founder, worked for me a summer or two, when I worked for his dad. Kid got me in trouble every week, it seems! It’s cool to see his success. I’m delighted he took the time to answer some questions about BuoyWear.
I appreciate John Ruffing from BuoyWear taking timeo ut of his busy schedule, work and worldly travels to talk about his cool hats!
1. How in the world did you decide to invent and market floating hats?
After losing dozens of hats doing what I love on the water, kiteboarding, fishing, stand up paddling down rivers and boating. I decided it was time for me to rectify this issue and set out to design a hat that I would not lose to the water gods. Plus, I wanted a hat that I could wear on and off the water. Most water sport hats look silly with chin straps and are not recommended or functional off the water. We set out to make a hat that not only provided functionality for on and off the water, but has “surf to turf” style too.
2. What has been the biggest surprise in getting these developed and to market?
I was surprised about how many other folks out there felt my pain with losing hats to the water. On a daily basis we hear about stories of folks who have lost hats and this really surprised me to see how frequent, people who love the water, lose their hats. Most people have a common response, “that hasn’t been developed yet?” or “yes, I have lost some of my favourite hats to the water”. We love that our Buoy hats are solving a common problem in the watermen’s/women’s life who share a love for the outdoors and water sports.
3. Is yours the only floating hat on the market?
That we know of, Yes! We do have a patent pending on the design and feel this market has a ton of potential for growth for “Surf to Turf” style and functionality for people that want more out of their gear.
4. OK, really – why do people need floating hats?
You would be surprised at how often we hear sob stories of people losing hats to the water. Although, its also just another additive function for the watermen/women who want more from their gear for utilizing it on and off the water. In apparel or outdoor gear, its not just what you make, but why you made it.
5. I see they are all flat brims – is that for style, or a necessary part of their function?
Check out our hat care guide. We actually made the hat flat brim, so that folks could adjust and break in their hats how they want to. Most folks do not actually sport the hat with a flat brim, but with a slight curve. However, we give recommendations on how to break in your Buoy hat, curve the bill and general care guide. As we feel your Buoy hat is like a nice pair of leather gloves, jeans or boots.
6. How are sales going? Are these available worldwide?
Sales are going great!! Right now our biggest obstacle is brand/product awareness. Once folks find out about our hats who share our pain for losing hats to the water or just love our idea, they typically want to purchase ASAP. Its this brand awareness that we are building now, as our company is only 8 months old. The hats are available worldwide and we are opening up a European distribution center in a month or two.
7. What will be next for you? Different products or are you stopping at hats?
I have a load of different products already designed and ready for production. The next hat will be Women specific (some men too, I’m sure) for size and color. Another product that will be arrive this summer, I cannot talk about too much. However, I will say this…. there is nothing on the market currently quite like it and will be just as revolutionary, as the floating hat we have.
Want to learn more? Checkout their FAQs here.
You can shop at their online store HERE
Learn more about their story here: BuoyWear Story.
Thanks again to John – I’ll be following his story and success!