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Your Logo – it has power ……. It says a lot about you!

Why do we put logo’s on our work clothing? It doesn’t sound like a difficult question to answer, in fact there are numerous answers! But lets just take a while to consider just a few, why you’re doing it and how to get the best result from it:

Identification: Probably one of the most important reasons for putting your logo on your staff uniform or workwear. You’re people need to be identified when they’re at work, from customers knowing who works in the shop (they’re not always behind a counter) to identifying Which company that tradesman is working for on site, Identification is a major issue nowadays.

logo jacket

Your logo identifies you at work

Lets get right to one of the biggest issues here; You want to stand out! Think about where you’re staff are going to be seen & how to get exposure for your business brand.

Face to face? That’s easy, logo on the breast so it’s in front of people approaching you & talking to you.

Mobile around an area? Be it a waitress, a shop floor worker or a window cleaner (one of my favourite examples) consider which parts of you are going to be seen; A window cleaner usually has his back to everyone so it’s a great idea to have a logo there, where it will be seen. 

Visibility: If you’re doing a trade show or event it makes sense to get as much exposure as you can, With the increase in visibility comes a return on your investment and it’s crucial you get the best return on your money.

Advertising; Now the press won’t like this one too much, but traditional advertising is a game of diminishing returns. Higher costs, falling audiences & consumers who are jaded by being bombarded with papers, emails, text, flyers. You need to keep the fact you’re in business out there but you don’t want to alienate potential customers.

Rugby shirt logo'd

Rugby shirt with logo

Every time you, or a member of your staff, walks past someone in the street your business identity passes before their eyes; take a walk, wearing your uniform, down your High Street & keep an eye on how many people glance at what’s embroidered on your shirt – you’ll be surprised!

Think about what your customers can do for you. We all know word of mouth recommendations are the best advertising you can get. You don’t pay for it and no matter how much you tell people what a great job you’re doing, if it comes from an independent source someone knows it’ll carry a lot more weight.

We do a lot of garments as promotional gifts for our customers, Jackets, fleeces, Beanie hats, all the stuff people will wear because who doesn’t love a freebie? If you’ve a hundred customers wearing a hat with your company name on there they’re advertising for you every time they wear it that’s a colossal reach, at very little cost, and it’ll still be working for you one, two, three years down the line.

Image: If you think I’m going to let a plumber, builder, electrician etc. loose in my house who’s got holes in his pants & mastic all over his clothes you’ve got another thing coming! The image you present to customers sets the tone for the work you’re going to complete for them. So get off on the right foot by presenting a clean, smart professional image for your business. There’s hundreds of competitors out there and as the saying goes “You only get one chance to make a first impression”

Health & Safety: Probably one of the first reasons that comes to mind, but considering the above, not necessarily the best reason for that business expenditure. Yes, people need to be protected, kept clean & safe, but before begrudging the expenditure in providing staff uniforms or workwear consider the benefits to your business.

 

So we’ve got a little bit about why you do it, next we’ll talk about how to do it………

Work Fleeces: From Chemical Goo & Recycled Water Bottles to Smart Workwear!

Work fleeces are almost everywhere nowadays – I don’t know quite how many different fleece garments we have on the Stitch & Print website but I DO know that fleece revolutionised workwear (as well as outdoor gear) in the early 1980s when Malden Mills needed a new product to survive in the cut throat textile trade! That early surge shows no signs of disappearing – I reckon that about 35% of the custom workwear that we sell is made of fleece.

But what is the fleece itself made of?

Polyester is the answer – known as terylene or Dacron back in the 1940s – and made by reacting two chemicals, terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol (aka antifreeze) together to create a polymer.  Today, a lot of fleece actually has a high content of recycled polyester, up to 80%, and most of it comes from drinks bottles.  This recycling isn’t just good in terms of removing the plastic bottle waste from landfill but it’s also more energy efficient than making new or virgin polyester.

Going from liquid polyester to a fleece garment takes a number of stages, as you’d imagine, with some familiar from other textile manufacturing and others unique to fleece.
Firstly, the chemicals are mixed and heated under pressure to create polyester (or PET for short).  As this cools, it forms a viscous liquid that can be extruded through a disk with tiny holes (a bit like a showerhead) called a spinneret.  As the liquid sprays out of the spinneret and comes into contact with the air, it hardens into fibres which are wound on to a spool and form a structure a bit like a think rope, called tow.  The tow is then pulled through the heated rollers of a drawing machine (a bit like a mangle) to create longer, stronger fibres with the polymer PET molecules aligned.  It then goes through a crimping machine to make it crinkled and folded like an accordion before being dried and cut into short lengths for baling – it’s beginning to look a lot like wool!

The fleece production process from now on also seems to be very like wool with the cut tow going through a carding machine to align the fibres and then into a spinning machine to twist strands into a finer finished yarn.

Most fleece garments use fabric in a block colour and this is made by dyeing the polyester yarn and drying it again before the knitting process. However, patterned fleece fabric is made by printing on to finished fabrics, just as with other textiles.

But back to fleece.  The manufacturer now has their coloured polyester yarn but how does this become the fleece that we know and love?  First it is knitted to create  a continuous tube of cloth, about 1.5m wide and several hundred metres long.  To achieve the fuzzy texture, this knitted material is next fed through a napper, which runs mechanical bristles along the cloth (usually on both sides of the fabric) to raise the surface fibres.  These are then trimmed to an even length in a shearing machine and that gives you the textured piled fabric that we know as fleece.

By its very nature, fleece is durable, water resistant and with moisture wicking properties to keep you cool and it dries quickly and is light, soft to the touch and, best of all, warm because of the way that it traps air in its fibres.

Fleece can also be given other properties by spraying it with a textile finish such as anti-pilling (to prevent pesky bobbles) or waterproofing or by layering it with other fabrics such as Lycra to give it additional stretch for sportswear and work fleeces for specific conditions and industries.

A majority of the work fleeces that we customise and sell are made of what’s regarded as regular or medium weight fleece (about 370g per metre and also known as Polar Fleece 200).  You’ll also come across microfleece which is aka 100 and weighs about 240g per metre and then there’s heavy weight fleece, aka 300 and with a weight of about 400 or more grams per metre.
So browse the website and have a look at our huge range of fleece jackets, fleece hoodies, fleece hats, fleece gloves and everything else that you can possibly think of to be made in fleece – even hi vis custom fleece workwear garments.

In the 35 or so years that fleece has been on the market, it has proven just how adaptable it can be and the developments in making it from recycled polymer just add to its benefits.  Who knows what we’ll be making from fleece 35 years from now – but it’s already been into space!

Brexit, Exchange Rates & the shirt on your back

So how does the recent UK referendum on European Union membership get to affect the cost of the workwear you buy? We take a look at the effects of Brexit.

Exchange Rate

The £ the € & the $ all affect the price of goods in the global economy, Brexit affects that balance

Now we don’t want to get in to a deep political view here, but there will be things that happen in coming months that will affect you & the money you spend on work clothing. The British Pound has fallen to a 30 plus year low versus the US Dollar & much of the worlds garment production & buying is based on that International Currency. In short terms, It’s going to be more expensive to import clothing to the UK & as such prices will rise. At present the exchange rate has fallen by over 7.5% so a mid-year price increase is going to happen! We’ve already started to see warnings from major suppliers:

“Due to the recent results of the EU Referendum and the UK leaving the European Union, there have been a number of fluctuations in exchange rates, and consequently this will mean a number of price adjustments from brands across our marketplace in the coming months.”

Some products are bought at fixed prices, well in advance, so it’s not likely to be every product, or even every brand that has an immediate increase, but our view at present would have to be that by the end of the year it’s going to be an across the board increase in every sector of the workwear, staff uniform & promotional clothing industry.

The UK promotional clothing industry, like many low cost industries, is also seeing the pressure of rising costs in wages, Where the underlying National Living Wage is rising quickly, along with an increased employers National Insurance Contribution. These are combining to push the cost of production up considerably. To put this in some kind of context, Adding the two together & production costs from workforce labour will have a possible increase in the order of 35% over the next four years.

So in summary: We see prices rising from now through in 2017 from a product point, and through 2020 from a production point. Our advice is, If your staff uniform needs replaced, now is a good time to do some buying as it’s only going to get more expensive.

Hoodies for School Trips

Schooltrip bus and no kids wearing hoodies in this old fashioned clipart

We’re all going on a ….

Now don’t get me wrong ……….. It’s only a slight case of old age jealousy that’s got a tight grip on my soul today ………… But honestly, Taking a School Trip …. they’re not what they used to be! You wouldn’t have caught us in hoodies for a start off!

I remember visiting the local park for a nature trip ……. I remember visiting a redundant local mine for a social history trip ……… I remember a visit to a disused quarry that was disguised as a Geography trip …… I even remember a trip to London for a privileged few ………

History trip: A rare visit to Washington DC where a group hoodie would make children more easily accounted for.

History trip anyone?

But  nowadays School trips have taken on a whole new lease of life! Sports trips to Barbados. History trips to Berlin & Washington DC. Geography trips to Iceland. Ski Trips (every year, not just one in a blue moon) to the top European resorts.

Kids, When your parents say you’ve never had it so good …….. They’re not kidding! Your parents had lousy school trips! Trust me, 6 days in a great destination trumps three hours at a local quarry with home made sandwiches & a bottle of pop for your lunch every time!

Ski trip: French Alps. Hoodies less useful on ski slopes but perfect for apres ski and travel.

School ski trip

So, why the rant about School trips? There isn’t a problem really, life’s for living, get out there, enjoy, explore, take every opportunity you can lay your hand on! The real reason for it is that there’s a great offshoot of the school trip phenomenon; The school trip hoodie. Not only is it a great momento & badge to show off that you’ve been there, done that …… It’s great for the school staff too; They get to identify the straggler from their group a lot easier meaning you’re not left off the bus, or the train, or if you’re one of the lucky ones, the plane!

School geography trip to Arctic: down or fleece hoodies to cope with icy temperatures?

School geography trip

School trips get bulk buy discounts on their purchases & there are hundreds of options & variations on colours, designs, layouts & personalisation. So if you’re off to Val Thorens skiing, Berlin for some culture or Iceland to take in the natural history ……… We’ve got you covered!

Our Recommendations for Work Jackets for this Winter

Staring out of the window, watching the rain pelt down then get blown in sheets across the road & pavement ……. It’s a natural part of life throughout the UK. In Cumbria it’s a reality as well as a necessity; It’s pretty hard to have a Lake District without a bit of rain ………

Thankfully man didn’t just discover fire …… We invented the jacket too!

As you can see from browsing through our online brochure we have a massive range of work jackets & coats suitable for the full range of UK weather. But who wants to trawl through 200 different types of jacket in the hope of finding the one you like, that will keep you dry & warm? So here’s some recommendations!

Russell 510f softshell work jacket in grey - women's version

Russel 510F Softshell Jacket

Light weight shell jacket: We’re real fans of the Russell 510 as a softshell work jacket. It comes in both unisex & ladies fits as well as a childrens version in a range of colours. It has a great range of features & accessories including a fold away hood. If you’re looking for a great quality lightweight work jacket you can’t go wrong with the 510 series.

Our other recommendation in this range would be the Result RS111 range. Again available in both unisex & ladies fit the RS111 has a similar range of great features including availability in moss coloured finish which is ideal for those working in a countryside environment.

Both the 510 & RS111 ranges come in at under £50 including embroidery so as well as being stylish & practical they’re not breaking the bank.

Result 122F ladies softshell work jacket for Cumbria businesses

Result 122F ladies softshell work jacket

Soft Shell Jacket: The range in soft shell jackets just keeps growing & growing. The mix of the weatherproof polyester outers with weatherproof membranes & micro fleece lining proves to be a winner where customers want to be warm & dry without the associated bulk of full fleece lined or wadding filled jackets.

It’s pretty hard to spot massive differences in the quality of the soft shell range, but for us the Result range has the edge in feel, look & most definitely price. Coming in at £35 including embroidery The RS121 comes in unisex, ladies fitted & kids versions, features decorative yokes as well as a zipped chest pocket. The smart business look is ideal for a whole range of industries & adds a real professional look to a workwear jacket for your staff uniform line.

Regatta RG045 Dover jacket: perfect softshell for workwear in Cumbria & Borders

Regatta Dover men’s softshell workwear jacket in blue

Mid-Weight Jacket: This one has a sure fire winner.  Of all the hooded softshell jackets, the Regatta Dover jacket is the solution when a waterproof work jacket, insulated by a fleece lined body is needed. It has an integrated fold-away hood & comes in a range of 7 colourways to match almost anyone’s requirement. Elasticated cuffs & a full front storm flap boosts the waterproof integrity of a high range, sensible priced (Just £30 – honestly!) jacket which features both a phone pocket as well as an internal security pocket.

As well as these recommendations we have a full range of lightweight shower proof jackets including a full range of sports training tops. Bodywarmers add an extra layer for those who feel the cold & if things get really cold this winter we’ve a wide range of 3-in-1 jackets to really keep you warm. And as you’s expect all of these jackets can be embroidered and personalised to give you the best looking work jackets on your rounds! If you’d like more information browse the website contact us  or give us a call