Hashim Wali launches ‘myBrim’ hat-styling product
Boston resident and artistic jack-of-all-trades Hashim Wali always had a flair for fashion. Now he’s channeling that sensibility into his new product, myBrim, a set of changeable brims that tuck into the folded rim of knit beanie hats. In a smart, simple move the system takes a ubiquitous and basic clothing item and turns it into something new.
“When I was growing up, I always liked the way hats fit my head. But then the brim always felt too big or like it just looked goofy,” says Wali. “I was never satisfied with that. I always had this vision of if I could manipulate the brim.”
MyBrim works on a very simple system. A plastic strap is fitted into the folded cuff of the hat. Then wearers can choose any brim attachment and snap it onto the strap. This creates a unique shape underneath the cuff fabric. Wali has created about 20 designs for different brim styles. A standard myBrim kit for $20 gets you three brims in standard, thin and small sizes. Additional brim attachments range from $5 to $8 each, depending on the style.
“The brims are positionable, you can put them anywhere on the strap. They’re extendable so if you want to extend them out you can extend them in three different extensions and they’re reversible, you can flip them upside down,” says Wali. “Especially when you start mixing and matching brims, you can create all these interesting looks.”
After a year developing designs and acquiring a patent, Wali is launching a Kickstarter campaign on July 23 to initiate product development. Wali estimates that brim kits purchased via Kickstarter will be delivered in December and that standard production and sales will launch in January 2021.
The design portion of the business came naturally to Wali, but the business side presented a challenge. The patent process is time consuming, complex and extremely expensive. With the often-necessary legal help, a patent can run anywhere from $5,000-$12,000 depending on the product’s complexity. To get it done, Wali leaned into his local resources, he says, utilizing the Patent Pro Bono program run by the Arts and Business Council of Boston. Independent inventors and small businesses that are accepted into the program get pro bono patent assistance from Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts to get their invention secured.
Initially, Wali is launching myBrim with a select number of style options, but he has big plans as the business grows, including an air-dry clay brim that creative shoppers can mold themselves. His current styles range from a subtle thin brim just barely peeking out from the hat to avant-garde styles like the asymmetrical square “Billy Goat” option.
Wali’s personal favorite is a classic half-moon brim inspired by Boston and called “O’Reilly.” “What I love about the strap is that it can dabble in any market,” he says. “The brim can conform to your face and your look.”