from the ground up
hincapie is and
always will be
a family business
The Hincapie name extends all the way to our factory down in Medellin, Colombia. George and Rich’s aunt, uncle, niece and nephew are run the operations. Uncle Jorge has a background in textiles and help start the factory in 1998 when Rich decided to start Hincapie Sportswear.
When we first started producing apparel in the late 1990s, we sourced the materials and production out to Italian companies. By 2003 there were enough sales to allow Rich to leave his job to pursue Hincapie Sportswear full-time. It was cap order, for just 50 pieces, that set us on the path we follow today.
Back then our source in Italy would only take 500 piece cap orders. To Rich an order was an order, and his “We’ll figure it out somehow” mentality wouldn’t let these 50 cycling caps fall through the cracks.
Rich reached out to his uncle Jorge in Medellin, Colombia. Jorge had spent his entire life in the textile industry. At the time, he was running a plant that produced jeans for Levi’s. Jorge has the same “We’ll figure it out” mindset and set about making those 50 caps happen.
“We’ll figure it out” took more figuring than anyone anticipated.
- Rich would email the order and art files.
- David (Rich’s cousin) would download the image and save it to a disk.
- Jorge would take that disk to El Centro where they would make a color laser print out for him.
- Jorge would then drive that print out to the screen company (“Company” is a bit of a stretch…it was an old house in a sketchy part of town with one screen machine from 1952)
- While the screens were being made, Jorge would go buy enough fabric to produce the order.
- He would take that fabric to go get cut by a lady that used to work for him but who now worked at a hot dog stand at the bus station
- He would have to go get the visors cut in another town since they are plastic.
- Drive back to the hot dog stand the next day with cut visors in a bag to go pick up the cut fabric. (She would keep our cut fabric under the counter until he came with cash to pick it up—and the hotdogs were worth the trip)
- Jorge would take all fabric and cut visors to the print shop/house with a machine in it.
- Pick up all printed pieces and take them to get assembled and sewn
- Take all of the hats home and the whole family would count and individually box them
- Jorge would drive to UPS and manually fill out all export paperwork to ship
It didn’t take long to realize there had to be a better way. In 2004 we moved into the first floor of a building and gradually brought paper printing, then cutting, then the dye sublimation, and finally the sewing in house. Each department started with just one machine.
We slowly filled the first floor, moved into the second, and by 2007 we were bursting at the seams filling all three floors. In November of that year we moved to a new facility and bought the building next door.
We combined those buildings, have hundreds of machines, and employ well over 100 people. Every segment of our business continues to grow and we’ve never let go of that “We’ll figure it out” mentality.
Thanks to Colombia’s close proximity to the United States, most shipments arrive at your doorstep within a few days. After leaving our factory in Medellin your order arrives in Memphis, TN where it goes through US Customs for clearance. Once in Memphis it gets routed to FedEx where it’s on its way to you.
We also offer direct to customer shipping option to take the hassle out of sorting and delivering your order.