• By removing "Realty" from the company name and customizing colors and styles, this brokerage creates hats that employees and consumers alike want to wear.
  • Fans even request hats in specific colors.

The Bamboo Realty hat phenomenon began with a hackathon a couple of years ago, remembers the company’s vice president, Zach Schabot.

“We had four different hat styles made,” he explained, and after all of Bamboo’s agents flew into Houston for the 24-hour event, each agent got a hat at the hackathon.

“People absolutely loved them. And we were like, ‘Huh — maybe this is something we do in the future.'”

A handful of days later, Brian Jones (one of Bamboo’s founders) “was wearing his hat at their pool in the apartment complex,” Schabot said, “and someone at the pool was like, ‘Oh, you work for Bamboo?'”

That someone had used a Bamboo agent to secure his current place, and he loved the hat Jones was sporting. So naturally, “Brian went to get him a hat.”

The hackathon hit has unfolded into a trend encompassing dozens of hat styles, which consumers and employees alike sport proudly. (Bamboo has brokerage outposts in Dallas, Denver, Houston and Raleigh, North Carolina.)

People even ask for hats on special occasions; friends in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, have lately been requesting a Bamboo hat in Carolina blue, reveals Schabot.

“I’m like, ‘Sure!’ — these are people who want to wear our logo,” he said.

If you cap it, they will come

“We specifically took out the word ‘Realty’ because no one wants to wear a real estate hat,” Schabot explained. “It makes it just cool enough so that anybody would wear it, but it’s still recognizable for our logo. And we’re not so strict on our brand that it has to be a certain color. We’re small enough that we can be flexible.”

So Schabot has made holiday versions (including a Halloween hat) and hats for different sports events (hence the request from Cackalacky country). He recalls a red, white and blue hat for the Olympics (which attendees at a certain Inman Connect San Francisco might also remember); one with a clover on it for a company trip to Dublin; and the very first “named” hat — a black-on-black beanie that was dubbed “Beast Mode” and awarded as part of a sales contest.

Schabot and a couple of sidekicks mugging for the camera in green.

Schabot and a couple of sidekicks mugging for the camera in green.

“It’s fun, and it’s so easy to do,” Schabot added. “Anytime I think of an event — a lot of people will do T-shirts, but hats seem to be our thing.”

“A family member of mine worked at a Lids store in New Jersey,” said Schabot. “That was my connection to getting them made. Other surf or skate brands is where I got a lot of ideas —  if I was walking through a store or something and saw a hat style, I’d try it.”

Some of those hats were even made for specific recipients, Schabot explains.

“One of our agents, her thing is the ‘Carpool Chronicles,’” Schabot said. “It’s the video blog she does. So when I was recruiting her, I gave her a hat in the style that she would like.”

He also noticed that Dave Crumby of Realvolve always wears the same style of hat (note the Colorado version in his Instagram profile), so “The Crumby” was created for him.

Email Amber Taufen

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