Tuesday, October 11, 2011

An "interesting" article in yesterday's Dominion Post newspaper...

An "interesting" article in yesterday's Dominion Post newspaper:

Daan Kolthoff, of South Pacific Berets.
HATS OFF: Daan Kolthoff, of South Pacific Berets, sells about 1000 berets a year.
The Rugby World Cup has brought out the beret in thousands of rugby fans, but few would know that nestled in the Wellington hills is one of the world's few specialist beret sellers.
Ngaio resident Daan Kolthoff runs South Pacific Berets, an online beret business he established two years ago.
Few of his wares are bought by New Zealanders, however. About 90 per cent of Kolthoff's customers are from the United States, many delighted to find a source for their favourite headwear.
Kolthoff, who came to New Zealand from the Netherlands with his Kiwi partner 10 years ago, is a history buff who stumbled into the beret business. A house dad and published author, he began researching the history of the beret as part of an abiding interest in the Spanish Civil War.
Finding there was little written about the beret in either English or Dutch, he "set up a blog to test the audience, if you like. And that went overwhelmingly well".
As it turned out, the beret has a lot of diehard fans. Kolthoff's blog has had 200,000 hits – more than 400 a day.
Kolthoff began importing berets to cater for the number of people asking where they could find quality examples. He sells about 1000 a year.
Beret fans like the fact that it is warm and easily folded into a pocket, he says. He imports them from Spain and France, and from Argentina, where they were taken by Basque immigrants.
Many of his European customers tell him how it is difficult to get a decent beret. "It's a dying thing, really. In the whole of France there are two factories left." But in South America, the beret is seen as a practical, even macho piece of headwear. "It's the typical thing that farmers, gauchos, peasants wear, and then there are the luxury berets that people in the city wear as well."
At home his customers are mainly "academics and church ministers, often with European backgrounds", but in the spirit of the Rugby World Cup he has added a special black charity beret to his range.
- BusinessDay


  1. Spread the news: The beret is on the move!!!


  2. So. Is that my weekly order you're carrying there? :>


  3. The beret shall prevail and the Honeycomb Kid will stay in Jail!

  4. Nah, just part of my day-to-day beret collection; some of the berets I actually wear, normally sitting on my bed-side table (where they caught the photographer's eye).

  5. Hail and long life to our most esteemed Beret Leader Daan! May his beret stash grow even taller!