Hatrepreneur weathers flood of cheaper imports

25 Apr 2018

Lenyaro Sello

Digital content specialist

Jitesh Mistry, who runs family-owned business Carmi Hatters, speaks about overcoming the influx of cheaper imports from the East, expanding a household name in hat manufacturing and his hopes for the Investec CSI's Young Entrepreneurs trip to Berlin.

Millinery, baseball hats, veld hats and even caps - you name it, Carmi Hatters can make it, and they have 44 years of experience to back it up. The family-owned business produces hundreds of thousands of hats a year for retail, sports teams and even the army.
 
Its story began in the 1970s with four employees. Today Carmi Hatters employs 65 people and in September 2017 they made their fourth move to a 5,000 square metre factory in Aeroton, Johannesburg.
 
“I think it is the passion we have for the business. We love what we do so it keeps us going, it makes us wake up in the morning, gets us here, gets us excited.”
Jitesh Mistry

The Chinese imports in the early 2000s nearly killed us, but luckily we were already motivated enough back then to set more trends and look for new opportunities.

Jitesh Mistry, COO, Carmi Hatters

The business has managed to survive tough economic times and an onslaught of cheaper imports from the East. It kept its growth steady by buying up equipment and adopting new styles from factories that closed down.
 
“The Chinese imports in the early 2000s nearly killed us but luckily we were already motivated enough back then to set more trends and look for new opportunities.”
 
The business has now grown, boasting contracts worth millions of rands including their biggest order from the South African Police Service (SAPS) for 100,000 caps.
 

Jitesh’s three tips on becoming a successful entrepreneur:

 

  • Love and enjoy what you do and don’t chase money, money will come to you if you love and enjoy what you do.
  • Be content and enjoy the challenges of the business.
  • Have passion for what you are doing and with that passion the growth will come.

About the author

Lenyaro Sello

Lenyaro Sello

Digital content specialist

Lenyaro is a key member of Investec's Global Content team, based in Johannesburg, who focuses on relevant and topical issues for internal and external audiences including clients. She is a well-travelled multi-skilled multimedia journalist who previously held roles within eNews Channel Africa (eNCA) and Eyewitness News (EWN).

  • Disclaimer

    Focus and its related content is for informational purposes only. The opinions featured on the site are not to be considered as the opinions of Investec and do not constitute financial or other advice. The information presented is subject to completion, revision, verification and amendment.

Investec CSI's Young Entrepreneurs Programme

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Every year Investec, in partnership with En-novate, sends a group of young entrepreneurs from various sectors to specifically selected countries in order to gain global exposure. 

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Each itinerary provides them with opportunities to network and to engage with venture capitalists, funders and captains of industry.

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