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How 'BHM' on a hat grew into a nationwide company and one Homewood man's success story

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BRANSON MISSOURI NEWS: The Aviate brand came out of nowhere, even to its founder.
“Really, there was not much magic behind it,” Founder and owner Ben Lancaster said. “I just had the idea to put BHM on hats.”
You can’t miss the hats around Birmingham, especially among the 20-something crowd: a soft ballcap with BHM across the front. You’ll see them at pools, even at bars where baseball caps aren’t common attire. The idea that seems so simple on its face – putting airport codes on a hat – has become really cool. And these aren’t cheap hats – they’ll run you $35 each.
They’ve become so cool, in fact, that it’s difficult for even the owners to quantify their growth.
A quick browse through Aviate’s website shows that many styles of their hats are sold out. The team gets a lot of complaints about that, Lancaster said, but they’re still figuring a lot of it out. It’s grown far, faster than they anticipated; they only recently produced enough hats that they were able to fulfill all their pre-orders. Aviate had to stop offering pre-ordering after orders greatly outpaced their production schedule.
The brand started off as just BHM hats. Lancaster, now 31, ordered a box of …


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