As a follicly challenged (that is, bald) sheepherder who works outside at least part of every day (regardless of the weather), I rely on hats to shade my face, protect my head, and keep me warm. My wife would say I have far too many hats - but I'm not sure that's possible. My favorite winter hat for the last decade or so has been a Stormy Kromer - a wool baseball cap with a unique flap that slides down over my ears when it's especially cold. I've liked Stormy Kromers because they're made from wool here in the United States - I've owned 3 of them in that time period. I've even written positively about these hats in this space in previous posts!
The company, based in the upper Midwest, offers (supposedly) a lifetime guarantee on its website:
Sounds good, right!?They say that when you own a Stormy Kromer, no other cap will ever satisfy your taste for comfort or quality. And we believe that’s true too, so we offer what other clothing manufacturers might consider a little crazy:The Stormy Kromer Lifetime Warranty
The SK Lifetime Warranty program started in 2010, when we began sewing a unique serial number into each cap. If you purchased a Stormy Kromer cap with a serial number and it ever wears out, or if there is ever a problem with the cap
caused by poor workmanship or faulty material, we will replace it free of charge.
Like a lot of ranchers, I have a work hat and a town hat - the town hat being the newer one that is still mostly clean. Recently, I've noticed that my work hat (same size as my town hat) has shrunken - it's much smaller than it was when I purchased it. It's so much smaller, in fact, that it hurts to wear it. Last night, I contacted the company about the problem via the customer service section of its website.
Today, I received this suggestion from Stormy Kromer:
So much for replacing a hat with a "problem caused by poor workmanship or faulty material" - and I was so happy to receive a much needed lesson about the properties of wool! I have Pendleton and Filson garments that are older than I am - and that retain their proper sizing. And I'm the proud owner of a Duckworth knit cap made from wool grown by a Montana ranching family. Sadly, I don't think I'll ever purchase another Stormy Kromer (even if I can convince an unsuspecting relative or friend to buy my old one).Thank you for reaching out to us. Unfortunately since these caps are made of wool – they do have a chance of shrinking. It will not stretch out at all.My suggestion would be to try selling your cap to a friend or family member to try recouping some of your costs, and then ordering a cap in the size you need.
And so tonight, I'm disappointed. A company that I've touted to others - for its commitment to quality and to using a renewable fiber that I produce - hasn't lived up to its reputation (or its publicly stated values). Oh well....