Hats On: An Interview with Meir Learman, Manager of Fuchs Hats Beit Shemesh
Fuchs Hats has been supplying high-quality hats for the haredi and yeshivish communities in Israel for around 40 years. It began as a hat factory in Yafo, the first of its kind in Israel. The first store then opened in Bnei Brak, followed by stores in Jerusalem and Kiryat Sefer, and two years ago, a branch in Beit Shemesh—with an all-English speaking staff—opened its doors.
We spoke to Meir Learman, manager of the Beit Shemesh branch, to learn more about the business.
What types of hats do you carry? What are the differences between them?
We carry hats of all kinds, serving a very wide range of communities and featuring many different styles. We import from various factories all over the world, offering all kinds of styles, including French and American.
The hats we carry are generally made of wool or rabbit felt. Wool hats are more economical, while rabbit felt hats are higher quality and last longer. However, even our least expensive hats are made with top-quality wool. We offer the best of the market at very affordable prices.
What does the price of a hat tell us about its quality?
The price of a hat is largely based on two factors: the density of the fibers and the shape of the hat. Higher-density fabrics are more durable and less likely to lose their shape.
How do you decide which type of hat to recommend to each customer?
We speak to the customer and ask what they like, how long their last hat lasted, what sort of price range they’re looking for, how the hat will fit into their lifestyle, etc. We choose the hat based on their answers and preferences. One customer may like to buy a new hat every few years; another might prefer a hat that will last for many years. One customer may want a simpler hat for weekdays and a fancier one for Shabbos; another may prefer to use the same hat for both. We help each customer find what’s right for them.
What do you recommend for a bar mitzvah boy buying his first hat?
Normally I recommend going with a less expensive hat, because usually the first one doesn’t last a long time—he’ll quickly grow out of it. So I recommend purchasing a simple, inexpensive one for weekdays and a higher-quality one for Shabbos. When he’s done with the weekday hat, he can use the higher-quality one for weekdays and buy a new, better one for Shabbos.
Which type of hat is most popular?
Our best-selling hat is the “mondial chatanim.” It’s been on the market for around 30 years, and in my experience, it lasts a very long time. My grandfather has been wearing this hat for 6-7 years and it still looks brand-new. It’s a very practical and versatile hat, with the widest range of styles. I’d say about 80-90% of the hats we sell are from this brand. The borsalino hat—a very high-quality narrow-brimmed hat—also gets an honorable mention.
What factors should a customer consider when buying a hat?
- The hat should sit on the line from where the hair starts to grow naturally to the back of the head.
- The hat should be proportional to your body.
- Always ask how long the hat should be expected to last, especially with younger customers who are not fully-grown yet.
Any tips for optimum hat care?
First, brush your hat every two weeks, even if it looks clean. Dust collects on the brim, and if you don’t brush it regularly, the dust can accumulate. Especially if it comes into contact with moisture, it can stain the hat and be hard to clean.
Second, always brush your hat in a counterclockwise motion.
Third, it’s best to store your hat in a hat box to prevent it from getting crushed, and if not in a box, then at least in an enclosed space to protect it from dust.
What additional services do you offer at Fuchs Hats?
Our main focus is service and a positive customer experience. We offer our clients free steam-cleaning of a hat they purchased here—for life. Bring it in to any of our branches whenever you like and we’ll happily clean it for you. We will also reshape your hat for free—even if a bus ran over it! We have a professional shaping tool even in the smaller branches. We also offer brushing and chemical cleaning services.
What happens if a customer is unhappy with their purchase?
We offer unlimited full refunds on unused returned items. Only two people have returned their hats in the past 3 years. Our company philosophy is to go above and beyond to make customers happy. A few weeks ago, a chatan came and needed a hat for the next day, but it wasn’t in stock. Dovid Fuchs, the owner of Fuchs hats personally traveled here in the middle of the night bringing a hat from our main branch in Bnei Brak, so that the chatan could pick it up the following morning. The first thing he teaches employees is to treat each customer as if he’s the only customer, and therefore the most important. It’s a family-owned business and their yirat shamayim really comes through in the way they run their business. Our customers sense this, and they always come back.
Visit Fuch’s Hats at:
Nahal Sorek 31, RBS A Shopping center 02-5699974
Chagai 16, Jerusalem , 02-5002930
Rashi 12, Bnai Brak 03-5790970
Sdei Hemed 29, Modiin Ilit 08-9477305