Spotlight on the Sport: Lisa Maloney of Headsweats

Scott Bush, Running USA
Running USA
November 14, 2016

A Different Take on Running Race Day Gear


What do you do to make your race stand out amongst the competition? Some race directors focus on post-race partiers, some on the course itself, others on the awards. But what if you took a different approach to the swag you offer your runners?


Lisa Maloney - HeadsweatsThat's part of the concept behind Running USA member Headsweats. Founded in 1998, the Boulder-based company has slowly but surely become a prominent headwear lead in the endurance industry, providing ultra-light, supremely wicking performance hats. We recently caught up with Lisa Maloney, senior account manager at Headsweats, getting her thoughts on the performance headwear space, why a hat can help a race director distinguish their race and much more.


Running USA (RUSA): What does Headsweats offer race organizers?


Lisa Maloney (LM): Headsweats offers a wide selection of possibilities for race organizers filling needs that range from volunteer, award, retail and finisher headwear. We provide complete factory customization with unlimited style and design possibilities at competitive pricing for events of any size and budget.  We also offer quick turn domestic decoration on stock pieces for the last-minute event planner.


Headsweats is a needs based company and employs a very talented sales and graphic design staff whose job it is to turn race directors’ ideas into a reality. Headsweats design services are unique in that they are a complimentary part of the order process. We understand race budgets and individual needs so it is important to our entire team that customers receive the best of service from start to finish!


RUSA: Where did the initial concept of Headsweats come from?


LM: It’s a story we love to tell. Headsweats Perspiration Technology Headwear® was founded in the winter of 1998 by shoe industry veteran and obsessed cyclist, Alan Romick. Frustrated by the perils of heavy sweat blindness, migrating sunscreen, and odd sunburn pattern on his head through his helmet, he set out to develop headgear that worked. Encouraged by the constant feedback within the local cycling community, he took the best attributes of what was available and improved on them. Starting with one product -- The Cotton Classic -- available at first in just four colors, Alan’s products quietly became elite athlete’s secret weapon around the world, eventually expanding to over 17 different products available in over 140 different colors and styles. Headsweats has taken what was learned from the cycling community and expanded products geared towards running, triathlon, crew, golf, tennis, restaurant and countless other industries where performance, sweat management and comfort are a necessity.


Team HeadsweatsRUSA: Why should a race director think about having a hat or visor instead of an event t-shirt?


LM: We have found that many race directors are leaning towards Headsweats headwear because of the sizing and fit woes that come with participant t-shirts. Accurately guessing t-shirt sizes for race participants is really tough, and race directors and volunteers often find themselves dealing with frustrated athletes who received the wrong shirt size or don’t approve of the fit. Headsweats headwear is one-size-fits-all so it provides a great solution to the problem of athletes with unwanted t-shirt sizes.


Another plus to customized event headwear is that hats and visors are worn more out and about after the event and not simply thrown in a drawer. This provides lasting exposure for your event, front and center at eye level. This can also benefit a top level sponsor if their logo is added to the headwear piece.


RUSA: What opportunities or trends do you see in the endurance event space from an apparel perspective that might be getting overlooked by some?


LM: Participants feel as though they should receive product that accurately represents the quality level of the event in which they are attending. Race giveaways and/or merchandise products should reflect the branding and high quality of a well-produced event. When creating customized event products a race director should consider that high quality, well designed pieces will result in more wear and as a result, better event exposure over the long term. Within a merchandise booth, customized Headsweats headwear makes a great last minute addition to a purchase due to the price point being well within reach of the consumer.


Team HeadsweatsRUSA: What's a good example of a road race you've worked with when it comes to creating custom headwear?


LM: 2017 will celebrate the third year that Headsweats has partnered with Maritime Race Weekend in Nova Scotia, Canada. A high quality brand is important to them and Headsweats is the “World Leader in Performance Headwear”. Maritime also takes social media exposure to higher level and gives back to their sponsors as much love and care as is provided to them. Creating headwear pieces as well as providing prize drawing giveaways and custom coupon codes to all of their participants has resulted in great exposure for Headsweats in Canada.


“Only supplying top products in our race-kit has paid off. We were named Best Swag in Canada and this has definitely helped our registrations. Runners like and wear our swag on race day and for years after. It’s the most effective form of advertisement a race can have. Our runners deserve the best swag, so that’s what we deliver to them by having Headsweats in our race-kits.” – Michelle Kempton, Maritime Race Weekend Organizer


RUSA: How do you see your business evolving in the next 12-24 months?


LM: Headsweats is a dynamic company with creative and energetic team members who work together to build new products and excitement surrounding developing new lines.  With more consumers enjoying the combination of function and comfort including the added ability to wear a product during both casual settings and training sessions has exploded the “Lifestyle” category.  We are currently seeing huge growth in this channel and are having fun keeping up with our consumer’s needs and desire for fun designs. Increasing concern for safety as well as excitement surrounding our reflective collection has brought on more bright, neon colors with lots of reflective elements. We see this category growing as well.


Most importantly, the Headsweats Team is passionate with a dedication to the brand and its customers. We are athletes and adventurers. Our customer’s needs and wishes always come first, and with that focus a business can’t help but move in the right direction. Headsweats would love to thank it’s loyal customers for helping us find new and exciting ways to fill your needs!  -- KEEP A COOL HEAD!

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