Q1. Help! I’m looking to start a company that delivers customized logos and colors on baseball helmets. My business model calls for purchasing the helmets in bulk overseas and having each helmet painted and customized with a corporate logo. This is very small volume—a few as one or two helmets at a time. The helmet would be “blank” and the outside would need full color, plus the logo.
I’m hoping you have suggestions in terms of how best to finish these helmets, both in terms of different options available, quality and cost. Also, would you have any recommendations in terms of companies that specialize in this type of finishing? L.A.
A1. Do you mean batting helmets?—those things that players whip off their heads and throw half way across the ball field? The best you can do is have them spray painted using a two-package polyurethane. The logo presents another problem, since it will be exposed to the same abuse as the rest of the helmet. On the curved helmet surface, applying the logo using a flexible stamp would be the best method. The stamping ink should be a polyurethane.
As an alternative method, first spray the helmet with a generic color coat. Then stamp the corporate logo using a flexible stamp. Finally coat the decorated helmet with a two-package clear polyurethane.
Q2. Hi Carl. Thank you so much for your response! I’m in the very early stages of thinking through a business idea and I greatly appreciate your input.
Yes, I’m referring to batting helmets as well as other types of helmets (motorcycle, skiing). The issue I’m running into is to find a cost-effective way to personalize these helmets, including logos, unique patterns, text, etc. Is there a single-step process to get both the color and designs onto the helmet in a cost-effective way? I’ve been researching vinyl wraps (plus a polyurethane coat) as a possibility. Any thoughts here? L.A.
A2. Sorry to disappoint you, but I can’t think of a single-step process that is also durable. With the vinyl wrap, I see two problems, 1) Blistering (getting all the air out from between the helmet and the wrap) and 2) delamination (if the helmet is scratched the whole wrap may come loose).
I have a worker’s safety helmet that I got from a company in the helmet business. It’s been used only on occasions (when I remember to put it on while working under my model railroad to protect my head from bumping into the wooden bench work). It’s coated with polyurethane and has become scratched from contact with the white pine boards. And, I don’t whip it off and throw it half way across the train room floor.