Entrepreneur Bringing Production Of Her Ponytail Hats Back To The U.S. With A 3-D Knitting Machine

By Sarah Hauer
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Danica Lause plans to bring back production of her ponytail hats to the United States. Helping her in her move is a new 3-D knitting machine. The one-ton machine and software cost more than $80,000 which she raised through a Kickstarter campaign.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

When orders spiked for Danica Lause’s hats with holes for ponytails, she moved production overseas. Her Peekaboos Ponytail Hats were knit by hand in Asia, Europe and South America.

But the quality was disappointing. The hat size would vary. Lause said she would discard many of the hats sent to her from manufacturers. What’s more, even abroad, paying workers to hand-knit hats was expensive.

Lause and her Germantown-based company, D. Moss LLC, have moved production back to the United States — right here in Wisconsin.

“U.S. made,” she said. “I don’t think you can beat it.”

The hats won’t be hand-knit anymore. But with advanced technology, Lause said, the craftsmanship will remain.

Lause has, on loan, a 3-D knitting machine that she worked with an engineer to program. The machine can knit in the round like a hand-knitter would and finish a hat in about 20 minutes. The one-ton machine and software cost more than $80,000.

Lause said she’ll be able to make about 25,000 hats using the machine. With overseas production, she sold close to 10,000 hats. Lause said she could have sold more if production had kept up with demand.

Yes, using the machine means no longer employing those hand-knitters.

“Tech gets a bad rap for automating and eliminating jobs,” Lause said. “I’m starting to see in a different and exciting way that it’s providing a way for entrepreneurs to provide different jobs and better jobs that wouldn’t be available without tech.”

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