You gotta just love bicycling in Wisconsin and all it has to offer in the way of trails, events, cyclists, and of course, our bicycle industry. There are so many large and small bicycle companies based out of Wisconsin, it really is fair to say Wisconsin is the center of the US bicycle industry. Big guns like Trek and Saris are the entre’s on our state’s industry menu, but we also have smaller, tasty treats for those who appreciate boutique offerings. Take for instance Cognition Caps, if you want a unique, one off cycling cap, Kelly from Cognition has a “Hand Made Cap” for you. Don’t take my word for it, hear what she says about Cognition below.
“Some of the best inventions we have today have come from accidents. Photography, potato chips, and coffee… Cognition didn’t invent cycling caps, and it wasn’t an accident, but a business wasn’t intentionally started, our first cycling cap was made on a dare. My partner bought a cycling cap for $60 online. It wasn’t the color they wanted, and it didn’t fit just right, but they were super stoked to have a cycling cap that didn’t have a brand logo on it. As I inspected the cap I stated, “I could do better than this.” To which I got the reply “Prove it.” I followed with a quick “I WILL!” As I’m one who takes putting their money where their mouth is very seriously I set to work immediately. Eyeballing the original hat and modifying it for tweaks within a few hours I had a hat. I made it out of a teal and green colored table cloth I got from a garage sale. Luckily we had no tables at the time.
My partner thought it was great, it fit well and the first Cognition Cap made it’s debut that night. It’s not a surprise that most of my friends are cyclists. I got begged that night to make a few more. The next day I sat down and tried to recreate the hat. Things did not go as smoothly as the first cap did. 40 hours later I finally had a reproduction and a pattern. Now….whenever I make something even for the first time I always keep measurements or a pattern!
People were interested right away. They were selling them in NY for $70, and people tried to talk us into raising the price, but what I really wanted was for them to be accessible to all of my friends, so I keep them at a $20-$35 range. That’s what Cognition’s really based on. A network of friends in the cycling community. I’m constantly collaborating with the creative cyclists I know. They push me forward with design ideas all the time. Revolution Cycles, the employees of Scram, friends, and themes for Alley Cats really inspire me.
Knowing that I love making new custom hats, my friends often give me fabric that they’d like me to use. This has allowed Cognition to go to almost completely reclaimed material. Cognition’s been running exclusively reclaimed fabric for almost two years now, and that’s the way it’s going to stay. Cognition is something I enjoy immensely. Cognition is never going to be able to produce the quantity that most companies require, the website might not change a lot, and literally every cap is going to be a little different, but that’s the way I like it, so that’s the way it’s going to stay.”