An unexpected origin for a local business

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Photo by Kurtis Rideout

To build an effective brand is a feat that seems to be increasingly difficult these days.

In a marketplace that is over saturated with up-and-coming designers and creatives attempting to push their products online, it is nearly impossible to set yourself apart long enough to make an impression.

Where many with great purpose and resources have failed, White Cap Co. has succeeded – almost as if by accident.

“White Cap Co. turned one in August, that’s when I started the Instagram,” founder and creator Eddie Stannard noted. Currently their Instagram has 1224 followers.

“It started super organically,” Stannard said, “I started the Waterloo Cornhole Club.”

Cornhole is a lawn game in which participants toss bean bags at a raised platform with a hole in the end – almost like a cross between horseshoes and skee-ball.

Stannard developed a taste for the game on a road trip down south.

“I went on tour with a band across the states for a month and I thought it would be a cool idea to make a set of [cornhole game] boards to bring with us,” he explained.

“So I made these boards, we took them on tour, we played in Florida and California and all over, got stoked on it, and when I came back I got all my buddies in to it.”

The club started pretty casually and served as a reason for friends to get together and enjoy good food and good drinks.

“Two or three nights a week we’d drink craft beer and play cornhole and barbeque in my backyard and it kept growing,” Stannard said. The group grew in size from five to 10 and then eventually to 20 plus.

Seeking to bring a sense of organization to the club, Stannard thought it would be a cool idea to make some shirts featuring the Waterloo Cornhole Club logo for his friends. Immediately after he listed them online he was met with overwhelming support from friends in the community.

“I made the shirts and they sold out right away – and everyone wanted them,” he said.

Stannard approaches his craft with a pretty amiable philosophy; he makes the things that he likes to wear. That is what informed his decision to make ‘dad hats’. Snapbacks, five-panels, fitted hats; nothing quite fit right until he found the dad hat.

Fortunately, a lot of people feel the same way.

“I decided I wanted to do dad hats,” he said. “Those kept selling.”

It was the success of those hats that sparked a realization in Stannard:

“When I started selling a ton of these hats I was like “this might be an outlet to get out my creativity.””

Stannard used to play in bands more consistently, but recently found himself in need of a creative outlet.

He was in bed hungover when the name White Cap Co. came to him.

“A white cap is the lid of the growler, which is the logo,” he said. The clean, distinct logo design shows a growler jug with three x’s on the label.

“White Cap Co. also has the same initials [as] Waterloo Cornhole Club.”

Shifting from the local music scene to the local clothing scene has been a smooth transition for Stannard.

“I had a background in it merchandising for bands,” he explained.

“When I played in bands there was obviously a music scene but now that I’ve been getting into the clothing stuff my approach to it with my markets is more of a craft thing,” he said.

“I’ve now realized there is a circle in that, too I see a lot of the same faces and vendors. There’s a community and that’s where I find out about new events.”

Despite the obvious interest in his product, Stannard still attributes his success to the community.

“The reason I have got to the point I have so quickly is because I’ve had a lot of support,” he continued.

“The more people that are into it the more I get to do.” 

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