Summer Beanies of 2022

Benjamin Antoni Andersen
Category: News Reel News Reel
| June 10, 2022

I was in my mother’s basement browsing though yarn, and noticed a few pastel colors laying next to each other. Then I picked up another and then another. And as quickly as that, we had put together the 2022 Limited Edition beanies.

It is really that easy to come up with something new. That is the fun of crafting it right at home (though I live in Sweden now) and having raw materials, production and packaging in the same house. Especially since the Limited Editions are made in very low amounts (as opposed to our main collection.)

We called the new pastel beanie line up The Subtle Summer Shades.

Pastel beanie #1 — Peach

What would a pastel beanie line up be without Peach — maybe the most pastel pastel there is.

Pastel beanie #2 — Pear

Going with the summer theme, we named the other beanie after the delicious fruity flavors you often find in your ice cream.

Pastel beanie #3 — Violet

While naming this beanie I learned the difference between violet and purple. In Norway we only have one word for that color (unless you’re a painter, then you probably have more).

Pastel beanie #4 — Sky Blue

Peach and Pear for your summer tastes, Violet like the viola flowers sprouting in early spring — what better to round it off with than the Sky itself.

So in spite of it being summer, we’ve prepped something new to cover your precious head. After all summer is not all sun, and you’ll be better off with a woolen beanie in your pack.

Visit Mom’s Market

Mom’s Market is something we set up so that we could have some creative freedom. When my mother or I come up with an idea that’s epic, but it’s not quite an entirely new product — then we have a place to put it.

Written by Benjamin Antoni Andersen
Published on June 10, 2022 in News Reel
Designer and instigator of Red Hat Factory, constantly hungry for mountainous adventures.

“If It’s Not Beanies, I Don’t Care” — A 2021 Recap

Benjamin Antoni Andersen
Category: News Reel News Reel
| April 1, 2022

The picture above marked the beginning of an incredible journey. But before that, we did something we should have done a long time ago — hone in our focus on one single thing: Beanies.

This article is a look back on 2021, but to get this story right, I have to rewind to something I merely brushed past in our 2020 recap article, but turned out to be pivotal.

“This fall, I chose to put many side projects on ice, to let Red Hat Factory get the love it deserves.”

Meself

That right there is the greatest choice I have done in many, many years. Focus, it turns out was the one missing ingredient to bring Red Hat Factory from a side gig, to something that has started snowballing.

A terrible summer with great results

I was honestly doing terrible the summer of 2020. The last month before vacation, I woke up with panic attacks more nights than I didn’t, feeling like I couldn’t breathe.

So when vacation time arrived, I took a firm grip. I uninstalled social media and embraced the feel of grass beneath my feet and spent hours just looking at my nine month old son trying to traverse the lawn outside my parents’ house.

Honestly, as much as I don’t want to admit it, I needed a severe stress detox.

I decided to take exercise more seriously. I began running, though my asthma threatened to choke me every time. And I added some healthy food habits to complement it.

It was immensely hard to change those few core habits, but eventually it began paying off, and many of those changes have stuck with me, so now I’m stronger than before this panic ridden season began.

It was also an amazing summer, as described in that 2020 recap — but reading that article now, I feel like I painted a very one-sided shallow picture.

Playing in the garden of the beanie factory
My little guy helping my dad with garden work. (Photo is from 2021).

It’s better to have one bird in the hand

Me and my wife usually do a yearly review of all the activities we’re doing. We just sit down and rattle off everything we do, while the other takes notes. Are we doing too little of something, too much of something?

This year, I was tired. Tired of trying too many things. Tired of seeing a low return on work hours. I arrived at an epiphany. If it doesn’t hurt, I’m not killing my darlings properly. So I gathered up all my little pet projects, said a teary eyed goodbye, and promised myself I would not touch them ever again.

And I haven’t.

There were a lot of small projects that hurt to let go, but most painfully, I decided that I would stop pursuing new clients for my freelancing, and only focus on the ones I have, plus Red Hat Factory.

Red beanie
This is me focusing.

This freed up about 50% of my work time for Red Hat Factory. In the beginning it was yet another detox. I had to let idea after exciting idea die. Then a few days later that energy would resurrect inside of the confines of Red Hat Factory.

“I had to let idea after exciting idea die.”

There is a Norwegian proverb that translates to it’s better to have one bird in the hand than ten on the roof. Turning my back on those ten birds to nourish the one in my hand, is the best choice I’ve ever done.

Since then, the continual challenge has been not to heed their desperate bird calls. But the more I fall in love with that little bird in my hand, the less the call beckons.

Kevin — the best beanie photographer known to mankind

Ok, let’s get back to 2021.

I’ve learned since we began in 2016 that it all stands and falls on the presentation of the product. Our beanies have always been the same (with very minor adjustments), but our presentation has gotten better over time — and with it the reach of audience has grown.

That brings me back to that photo in the header.

I first heard of Kevin through a friend of a friend. It came to my ear that some guy in America (who happened to have a Norwegian heritage), loved what we were doing, and wanted to exchange product for photos.

Gray beanie
Kevin drinking soda on a hike in Maine.

So I sent him a beanie or two.

What I got back would actually change the course of Red Hat Factory. This was at the very tail end of 2020.

It is the picture we’ve been talking about all the time, and this picture marked the first time we got a Facebook ad to actually sell to you guys. We (both me, and you reading this) probably agree we have great beanies. But as I said, it comes down to the presentation. And on Facebook you have a split second to make that impression.

So long story short, we are working with Kevin all the time now. He now works with us, and crafts about 80% of all our content. He is just a swell guy, and the Norwegian heritage of this American fellow makes him an even more fitting member of the crew.

Do yourself a favor, get to know this man if you ever have a chance.

Kevin wearing the Westcoaster beanie
Kevin out doing one of his favorite pastimes.

The focus compounds — if it’s not beanies, I don’t care

“So we decided to just become the best hand knit wool beanie provider the internet has ever met.”

If the first stage of focus was Red Hat Factory. The second stage was honing in on beanies only. 2021’s mantra soon became, “if it’s not beanies, I don’t care.”

In 2020 we introduced wool socks and sweaters. Guess how many pairs of wool socks we sold… One pair (let me know if it’s you that have them). And wool sweaters? Zero.

With my newfound time to pour into Red Hat Factory, I had time to think things through, and look at analytics to find out where you guys actually connect with us. And I realized a couple of things.

You that find us on Google mostly care about beanies (and many of you love Steve Zissou and/or Jacques Cousteau, which is why our paths collide).

So we decided to just become the best hand knit wool beanie provider the internet has ever met, then we can consider other endeavors after that.

What is life without a mate?

In the summer time of 2021, the snowball had been rolling for a while, picking up speed, and we began talking to an old friend of mine about an investment into the company. He runs a business that further ahead in the tracks than ours, and I have often gone to him for brand building advice.

The conversations stretched out, and it took quite an unexpected turn. By the end of 2021 my old friend became a partner in Red Hat Factory — and he brings a lot of goods to the table: Experience, feedback, and most of all the sense of strength that is only found in companionship.

We’re growing, and it’s a lot of fun to have y’all along for the ride.

It was together with him that I made the final decision — to hide away the socks and sweaters for later, and have one single focus — beanies, beanies, beanies.

To clean up our trail

So what have we actually done in 2021? It’s simple.

  • Enjoyed the restfulness that comes with a clearer focus.
  • Polished up our website, instead of coming up with new ideas. (Finally get to do all those small things I’ve wanted to do forever!)
  • Written new articles. (Writing is the number one thing I enjoy doing and want to get better at.)
  • Polished up old articles that already get traffic from Google. (Oh, man it feels so good to improve on stuff that felt a bit off.)
  • And most of all, we’ve prepped our Kickstarter — but that story belongs mainly in the 2022 recap.

I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process. Main thing being that focus is a key to combat stress.

If I can manage to let a good idea go, I am set for success. We all have our cruxes to get to the next level —this one turned out to be mine. If I can’t do it properly, I’m not doing it. And if anything steals focus from presenting those beanies in the best possible way, I’m scrapping it.

“If I can manage to let a good idea go, I am set for success.”

Hopefully you notice that this article is more worked out than earlier ones. And this is due to one thing: Focus.

Man lærer så lenge man lever. That’s a Norwegian proverb, and it simply means you learn as long as you live. There is no “reaching the top,” so why stress to get there. I’d rather do a few things well, than spread all my energy like butter scraped over too much bread.

And if Bilbo (the hobbit behind that butter-allegory) would pick a beanie, I pray he’d pick a Red Hat Factory one.

Yeah. That’s a good focus going forward.

Written by Benjamin Antoni Andersen
Published on April 1, 2022 in News Reel
Designer and instigator of Red Hat Factory, constantly hungry for mountainous adventures.

Climbing the Pinnacle of 2020

Benjamin Antoni Andersen
Category: News Reel News Reel
| August 21, 2020

Taking an extra side job didn’t leave much extra time for developing the Red Hat Factory brand, second quarter of 2020. And then we slid directly into a sweet long vacation. But the vacation brought new clarity.

When we got away from the grind, chilled on my parents lawn, rock climbed with friends and family, travelled into the mountains, swam the ocean, it happened what usually happens — inspiration came creeping; half made ideas coalesced in the silence.

Channels

Now we will start the year off by focusing on our new concept called Channels. As you know if you follow us, we focused a lot on inviting other passionate craftspeople and adventurers to share their stories on our page in the beginning of the year. Now we are shifting up to next gear.

For starters, all our own categories have been assigned a Channel — Adventure Stories probably being the most interesting one. However, that is just for starters.

A few select allies will have a Channel on the Red Hat Factory site, where they will share things that the Red Hatter community appreciates. I’ll be leaning back and enjoying the content they put out, just like you. I can’t wait.

I will introduce our first external Channels in the (very) near future.

EDIT: Channels for allies has been sidelined for our new 2021 pure beanie focus.

New product on the horizon

Right before vacation, we also released a pair of wool socks. And that is just the beginning of the expansion. Behind the scenes, my mother has been designing a very own knitting pattern for a Red Hat Factory sweater — and I got to see it and test it this summer. It will eventually be revealed in all its glory, but I swear, it is something special.

NOTE: The sweater is awesome, but we’re not selling it for the moment.

More time, more content

This fall, I chose to put many side projects on ice, to let Red Hat Factory get the love it deserves. That makes me tremendously excited for what is to come. I’ll have a major focus on all that is going on right here.

If you read all the way here, I suggest you sign up for our email newsletter. right in the footer. Then you’ll get stories from the community, plus news about the company stuffed right down your throat — right were you’d want it.

Written by Benjamin Antoni Andersen
Published on August 21, 2020 in News Reel
Designer and instigator of Red Hat Factory, constantly hungry for mountainous adventures.

Old Lady Advice from My Mother (And New Packaging)

Benjamin Antoni Andersen
Category: News Reel News Reel
| February 6, 2020

Am I calling my own mother an old lady? Not really. But… it wouldn’t have been that bad. In our family age is something we try to honor and are proud of. Age is wisdom, and old age is when you’re entitled to more comfort and respect from those around you.

We believe that older generations have wisdom to pass on to the next one, and we have found a way to include more of that into Red Hat Factory.

“Old lady advice” or — the less flattering translation — “hag advice” is a saying or proverb that has gone from generation to generation. No one knows from when or where it originated, but everyone has heard it.

A good example came early this year, when my Grandmother suddenly exclaimed, as we were dining Norwegian lapskaus: “There’s a difference between daddy and the cat.”

I had to have it explained for me by my mom later that evening. The proverb had been said because I couldn’t eat the dessert (because of allergies). In this proverb I was the cat who’s not getting what’s served at the table. Not everyone should be equally treated — the worker is worth his pay, as they say.

These proverbs were more freely thrown around back in the days, and since we are all about Norwegian traditional knitting, we’ll throw another piece of Norsk culture into the mix.

A Norwegian blessing

From 2020 on you will get a handwritten note with a selected piece of old lady advice or an old Norwegian blessing, written in Norwegian with every beanie you order. It doesn’t get more primal than that.

Norwegian Proverb
A classic Norwegian blessing.

The one in the picture is a classic Norwegian blessing, incorporating old fashioned humor, rhymes, and a reference to a classic toilet.

Spoiler alert: Some are more serious than others.

It is only a few generations since everyone had an “outside-toilet” (utedo). These usually stood (some still do, especially outside the typical Norwegian mountain cabin) on the edge of a precipice or wall, so the waste could gather up in some sort of tank, or area below. This was excellent fertilizer, so grass normally grew rapidly in the general area behind the toilet. This card says “may happiness grow, as grass behind the toilet.” In Norwegian, that rhymes.

If you receive a card, and want the translation and decipher the meaning, you’ll have to chat with us, and that’s just what we want — more connection with you guys. You’re the ones making Red Hat Factory an exciting journey, and we always love hearing from you.

A worthy packaging

The beanies we sell in store at MacLaren Barbers have been packed in modest slick white packages, with each respective logo stickered on the front. Because of an issue with shipping from Norway, we couldn’t use the same for our beanies through mail.

Now however, I have found some packages that work for international shipping, and we can finally deliver the beanies just as we wanted all along. It has taken some time, because this is a small family business, and many things have been higher on my priority list. But, here it is.

Written by Benjamin Antoni Andersen
Published on February 6, 2020 in News Reel
Designer and instigator of Red Hat Factory, constantly hungry for mountainous adventures.

2018 in Retrospect

Benjamin Antoni Andersen
Category: News Reel News Reel
| January 17, 2019

The keywords for 2018 has been ‘Adventure Stories’, ‘New Colors’ and ‘Limited Editions’, but the best part of the year has been the increased human connections we have experienced.

Who cares about likes and ‘please follow me’ comments, when you can have ‘That hike is awesome. I did it too!’ comments, and you guys tagging your beanie and expressing your love for it!

Both me and my mother (and my grandmother and aunt through us) appreciate tremendously the feedback we have gotten from you all. So don’t hesitate to ever strike up a conversation about life, Zissou, hikes or beanies. And keep them tags coming!

When I tell my grandmother we have sent beanies to Canada, USA, Russia and New Zealand, she laughs from joyful surprise. It is astonishing how much the world has shrunk since she was young.

Adventure Stories

Through the year the concept of Adventure Stories have really been established and found its form. An Adventure Story is simply that we release pictures from our trips slowly through the year so that you get to follow along. So far it has been Norway trips only, and we are not unhappy about it.

I just released the latest Adventure Story in article form. And a new one is kicking in shortly on Insta and FB.

In fact we did the hard decision at the end of 2018 to dedicate our entire Instagram account to Adventure Stories only, for a more themed account. We will still post beanie shots though, both yours and ours to our Instagram Stories.

A dream for 2019 is to have some of you create a guest Adventure Story, so now the challenge is out there!

Limited Editions & New Colors

There are still Limited Editions Deep Sea Green & Coral beanies left, only found in the Facebook store. Take a peek if you like.

Beside that, we added two shades of gray to our base collection in 2018, and have selected three new colors to be rolled out over 2019. Which colors are coming is only for the newsletter subscribers to know. They gotta have some kind of reward for being so forward.

The photoshoot we had with the incredibly talented Eleonora was definitely a highlight of the entire year.

And with those photos, I’m out. Have a good year everyone.

Written by Benjamin Antoni Andersen
Published on January 17, 2019 in News Reel
Designer and instigator of Red Hat Factory, constantly hungry for mountainous adventures.

Limited Edition Coral & Deep Sea Green Caps

Benjamin Antoni Andersen
Category: News Reel News Reel
| October 15, 2018

We wanted to try something new, so we did.

It’s my favorite way of trying new things.

We made one of each of our beanie models in Coral and Deep Sea Green. So all in all, there are 6 beanies. One of each type in each color. You can only get them through the Facebook shop.

So if you’re into Coral or Deep Sea Green, strike fast!

Turquoise woman beanie
Sophia and the Deep Sea Green.
Coral and Turquoise knit caps
The beanie bunch.
Turquoise beanie
She’s my wife, so no, I am not harassing her.
Coral and turquoise beanies
Coral and Deep Sea Green Collective.
Written by Benjamin Antoni Andersen
Published on October 15, 2018 in News Reel
Designer and instigator of Red Hat Factory, constantly hungry for mountainous adventures.

Black is Back! — Moving Away from Red Only

Benjamin Antoni Andersen
Category: News Reel News Reel
| August 3, 2018

The colors are coming! Well… shades of gray really.

Red Hat Factory started with… you guessed it… red hats — or in more technical terms, red knit caps. Every hat is hand knit, and the factory part of the name is none other than my mother. You should see her as she keeps those knitting needles active all day, whether she travels, sits at home or works. Millennials have their smart phones, my mother have her knitting needles and her yarn basket.

Because Red Hat Factory was born through the idea of the red hat as the ultimate adventurers apparel, we held back on producing more colors, since we felt it important to let the company have a season of being what it was conceived as. But now that it’s established what we are and why we are the Red Hat Factory, the time to expand has come.

For starters we are adding two shades of gray to the original red, but more is already in the making. We are keeping a vote active over at our Instagram account. You can still find it in the highlights on top of the profile — @redhatfactory.

Go vote!

Photoshooting

Before releasing the Black and Light Gray we went out with friend and incredibly skilled photographer Eleonora Leka, and Alfred and Sophia as models, to get some dope shots.

I’m just warning you. They have the photo genes. Don’t blame me if you end up starstruck.

Alfred sporting a charcoal Southlander.
Sophia rocking a classic red Southlander.
Light, light gray!

Hope you enjoy the new shades, and that you take a quick round through our Insta story to vote! You will definitely see more of these guys on our Insta and Facebook in the future.

Written by Benjamin Antoni Andersen
Published on August 3, 2018 in News Reel
Designer and instigator of Red Hat Factory, constantly hungry for mountainous adventures.