Tipping a Hat to Texas Tech

Hat maker smiles while steaming a hat. Jared Coffelt laughs while steaming a custom hat.

When Jared Coffelt first clocked into his part-time job at Flint Custom Hats, he had no idea he would one day own the business.

It was 2007, and Coffelt was a sophomore studying agricultural economics at Texas Tech University. After clocking into work for the first time, he was assigned to repair boots in the back of the shop. As he spent time at work, Coffelt learned more about hats and found a passion for the trade. By 2009, he was making all the hats for the store.

“The hat shop kind of became my responsibility, and that was the part that I really fell in love with and found a passion in,” Coffelt said.

Upon graduating from high school, Coffelt applied to several Texas schools because he did not want to be too close or too far away from home.  Ultimately, Coffelt said Texas Tech was the perfect distance and decided to enroll.

“It was close to home, but it wasn’t at home,” Coffelt said.

Another reason Coffelt chose Texas Tech was the dual-degree program. The Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics gives students the opportunity to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Applied Economics as well as a Bachelor of Administration in General Business. Coffelt said his time at Texas Tech prepared him for owning his business, not just because of what he learned in the coursework, but in building a clientele as well.

“Now that I’ve taken over a business here,” Coffelt said. “Those are my customers, my clientele – all these people that I’ve met all through my time in Lubbock, and especially in the ag. college.”

Now, Coffelt gives Texas Tech students the same opportunity he was given in college. Maci Meads, a sophomore agricultural communications student from Kennewick, Washington, said she needed something to do freshman year and decided to apply at Flint Custom Hats.

“I figured it was a shot in the dark because I didn’t know if they were hiring,” Meads said. “So, I dropped off my resume, and Jared told me he’d look it over.”

One month later, Meads said she went to her first day on the job, and immediately learned how to stitch sweatbands and hatbands to the hats. Since beginning her job, she has loved working for Coffelt.

“I immediately felt comfortable here,” Meads said. “[Coffelt] is always happy and always laughing about something.”

Before moving to Lubbock, Coffelt said he was a shy kid who was not very outgoing. However, while attending Texas Tech, he stepped out of his comfort zone and started making connections. In doing so, he seized many opportunities which helped him build a professional network.

“Use the community, whether it’s your peers, professors, or people in town,” Coffelt said. “You get to know people, and all of a sudden, things fall in your lap.”

As an alum of the Davis College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Coffelt said he recommends Texas Tech to family and friends because of his experiences that have led him to where he is today.

“I don’t need a college degree to do this, but my time spent in college is what has built me to be able to do this,” Coffelt said.