VANCOUVER (660 NEWS) — Many people struggle in silence, unable to afford counselling.
That’s why B.C. company WIRTH Hats uses a portion of every sale to pay for the therapy of someone in need.
Founder Ben Miller first started making hats after his friend Jakob Wirth took his own life in 2014. Three months before his death, Wirth told Miller his dream was to start his own hat company.
“He said he wanted to put on hats that made people excited to put them on every morning,” said Miller.
“We talked a lot about that leading up to his death.”
The two met as students in Copenhagen. In 2015, Miller returned to Europe with 25 hats for Wirth’s family and friends with special tags that read:
“WIRTH Hats are in memory of Jakob Wirth, who passed away last year. Jakob’s dream was to create a hat company that people would love, so here’s to WIRTH Hats. May these hats serve as a reminder that when going through difficult times, there are always people to reach out to, as we are never alone as we sometimes think we are.”
Miller believed that’s where WIRTH Hats would end, but in 2017, he lost another friend to suicide.
Miller also met Philipp Altenburg while studying in Copenhagen, the two were thesis partners and remained close after graduation.
A mutual friend reached out to Miller following Altenburg’s death, asking if he had any hats leftover from when their friend Jakob Wirth died. Miller says that’s when he knew he had to do something, and decided to start the company.
In 2018, WIRTH Hats was launched with a special goal, helping those in need access counselling services like therapy.
“When we hold things in, they can come out in other ways. In both Jakob and Phillip’s case, neither sought professional help – which is painful to think about now – but unfortunately, it’s a common trend,” Miller says on the WIRTH website.