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Meet John Astleford of San Diego Hat Company in Carlsbad

Today we’d like to introduce you to John Astleford.

John, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
After graduating from TCU, I entered the workforce as a Retail Manager for a National Sporting Goods Chain. My next stop was working for the former Dallas Cowboy Drew Pearson. Drew Pearson Marketing had license agreements with the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, Disney and Warner Brothers which granted the rights to produce and market headwear and cold weather accessories to retailers nationwide. After finishing this enjoyable part of my career, I moved on to various projects in New Business Development, Mergers and Turnarounds. In 2013, I took on my latest role as Managing Director of San Diego Hat Company.

Has it been a smooth road?
Some of the biggest road bumps along the way was the mergers I have worked through. I have been through 5 and each had its own difficulties and tough decisions. The decisions that were being made affected so many people’s jobs and at the same time, you are trying to satisfy shareholders and boards.

I refer to the challenges and struggles of another chapter in a great book. It has its ups and downs, and the back ups again. Knowing that keeps me pushing forward and enjoying the journey.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the San Diego Hat Company story. Tell us more about the business.
San Diego Hat Company is a design-driven brand featuring a wide variety of fashionable and functional headwear and accessories for women, men, and kids.

A passion for world travel and an enduring love for hats led to the creation of the Original Cotton Crochet Hat that launched San Diego Hat Company during a trip to Bali, Indonesia in 1993. Initially based out of a San Diego garage, the founders’ dreams of bringing together design, material, and craftsmanship has led to our new facility located in Carlsbad with worldwide distribution at major department stores and more than 2,000 specialty boutiques.

Over the years, our company’s original focus has not changed: to provide our customers with their FAVORITE headwear and accessories each season.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
More and more business will be done online as e-commerce continues to grow. I think you will see a smaller store count and total square footage at retail, but the stores that remain will provide a better shopping experience.

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