You will know by now that yours truly is a sucker for baseball caps. I buy authentic caps of baseball clubs myself but I can also appreciate certain fantasy caps, designed as non-club caps. One of those designing studios is Hillel Studios. I can really appreciate the work the owner is making. Reason enough to tighten the screws on him about his motives and work.
As a kid, Peter, who is the owner of Hillel Studios, was fascinated by drawing. His grandfather could make some nice paintings so apparently his love for drawing runs in the family. At the age of nine, an illustrator of children’s books came to visit Peter’s school and from that moment on drawing and designing became an important part of his life.
In 2012, Peter got his first glimpse of baseball. Rather soon he discovered Minor League caps and their funny logos and wanted to have caps like that. As he got deeper into the baseball cap scene, he discovered custom made caps with designs other than Minor League caps. Peter was convinced he could do the same and thus happened.
When designing a cap logo, there are plenty of things to look after. First of all, it must be possible to embroider a logo at the front of a cap. Most of the time it is in the details, that aren’t really eye catching. The lines are a bit thicker than a normal drawing. You have to pay attention to the surface of the design: too big is ugly, too small is hard to see. Of course there are several nuances but you have to develop a feeling for that, Peter says.
The name Hillel is a Hebrew word. Peter tries to live as a Christian. The Bible says that with everything you do, you can praise God. And that is what the word Hillel means: “He who praises God. “
His connections in the baseball world gave him his first order. He was asked to design the (cap) logo for the North State Warriors, a little league team from the North of the Netherlands. Vince Rooi, a former player of the Dutch national team, who won the world championship in 2011, is one of the driving forces behind this team. The two met for the first time with the 2012 Haarlem Baseball Week and both kept contact. Vince asked Peter to make the design and this is the result:
Due to the corona crisis, Peter has some good relationship with Brandiose, the San Diego-based designing company that is responsible for 80-90 percent of the newest minor league logos. Because of corona, Brandiose lost income. They tried to compensate that to bring life into an old community, the Clink Room. They restarted it and asked designers to send their own designs to create fantasy caps. Of course Peter contributed too. After a couple of times in which his designs didn’t make it to the next phase, Peter contacted Brandiose and asked them where he could improve himself. Brandiose allows him to send his designs so they can have a look at it. Where necessary, they tell him where to improve. Since then Peter has made big strides regarding the design of logos. According to him, it is much easier to embroider his logos on caps now.
On my question if he would accept an offer to work for Brandiose in case he had to move to San Diego for it, Peter said the following: “I would have a good talk with the missus. Even though he likes it where he lives (in the province of Noord Brabant), he would love to go. But this would need a lot of thinking. He has two beautiful children who like it where they live. I would like the San Diego climate but nowadays, with the modern means of communication, it is very well possible to work overhere. A face-to-face meeting in San Diego once a year isn’t bad either. “
Currently, his earnings from his designs are a little bit less than 5% of his total income. But his business is now slowly taken off. For example, Peter has struck a deal with Hat Club, a company that sells all kinds of baseball caps. MLB, MiLB, throwbacks but also fantasy caps like Peter is making. Likely from February 2021, his designs can be found on the website of Hat Club. He will get a percentage of every cap with his design they sell. Peter will send in the design, Hat Club sends it to the manufacturer who will embroider the logo on the caps. Most of the time this is New Era but it can also be other cap manufacturers.
It is not Peter’s intention to work for Hat Club exclusively. He is mulling on some exclusives that he wants to put on the market himself. When Peter has an own design, he will contact his contact person at New Era and they will embroider the logo(s) on the caps.
So far, Peter thinks this is his best design. It has not been put on a cap yet.
Here are some other examples of Peter’s work.
I’d like to thank Peter for the time he took to answer my questions. I wish him lots of success with his Hillel Studios and Hillel Headwear.