Brock Rasmussen, Co-Founder and CEO of Stele Hats, joins the conversation to share how they built a brand not only to look good but to connect and resonate with people.
Stele Hats aspire to become an avenue for people to represent the grief of trials, obstacles, pain, and success through your story. If their ears cannot hear you, then let people see the hat that represents and means the most to you.
The Story of Find Gardy
Stele works with Operation Underground Railroad, an anti-child sex trafficking organization. Gardy Mardy was a three-year-old child in Haiti that got abducted from his father right after a church service. Tim Ballard, Founder of Operation Underground Railroad, and his team went on a mission to find Gardy in Haiti. They found a child-sex trafficking organization posing as an orphanage, arrested the people, saved 28 children, only to find out that Gardy was there but got sold off.
Gardy would be 13 or 14 years old now, out there, and people are still searching for him. Find Gardy had been their best-seller; it was a boon for Brock’s company when they got started. It was heartwarming to see how it resonated with people, especially parents, that would affect your heart upon hearing stories like it.
What is the ultimate goal of Stele Hats
Everyone has their stories, and when you dived into a regular person, you find many levels that shaped who they become. There are times where those stories overlap for many people. Brock and his team are developing hats, not necessarily on his alley, but realizing how essential characteristics and events are in people’s lives that they want to express.
As an introvert, wearing a hat was a silent way for Brock to state who he is. He hopes people would feel the same way and let them know that there is a way to express themselves without being vocal about it.
How Stele spread their message
Brock wanted to make sure they had a product that would fit the market and resonate with people. They tried paid advertising space, but it was not working the way they hoped it to be. In the year 2021, they started to transition to the market through word of mouth. They connect with influencers to share their story, tap into their audience, and bring them to the “neighborhood.”
It helped Stele got their name out and got started. As they advance and find comfort in getting their messages shared and what they represent, they will focus on building their digital advertising. They look forward to making an impact for the next couple of years.
Brock wished he knew before starting
Brock wished he knew product development. In the current model, most people who wear hats wear Yukon or Richardson-type hats. These two companies manufacture blank hats on a massive scale and put artwork for them from your company. Brock and his team found some elements and aimed to build a hat differently. Thus, they started to develop their hats from scratch overseas.
It takes a long time, especially when working with an individual story. It was an eye-opener for Brock.
Advice for people trying to get a Mentor
Because of Brock’s introversion, he was afraid to ask questions. He observed people from afar and found e-commerce people on Twitter who are willing to share information like Eric Van Holtz. It was monumental for him when a friend of his helped him talk to Jeff Kearl of Stance Socks.
Brock grabbed the opportunity and asked everything from how he started his brand, philosophy, etc. He was inspired by the experience and got to the point where he would be willing to share and help people who would ask questions from him—as a way to give back to the people who were nice to him.