We’ve already discussed some of the reasons you have your logo visible on your workwear & Staff Uniform. But how do you get the best out of it? In our view, that’s easy KISS (keep it simple stupid) YOUR LOGO.
LESS IS MORE …. Your logo is the important part for identification & recognition. Unless you’re spending a lot of time in front of the wearer, staring at the logo (which might just land you a custodial sentence……) You’ll normally have one or two seconds to see the logo & for it to register in your mind. So as the business that’s taken the time to build your brand you want that information clean & recognisable so it stays with everyone who sees it.
TELEPHONE NUMBERS….. I’ve never yet seen anyone stopped on the street & asked if they have a pen & can stand still while someone notes down their telephone number from the logo on their chest! That’s why you have a business card. Try it yourself, glance at a telephone number for two seconds, Go and do your next job & try to ring the company from memory.
Now go on the internet, Look for the company & see how long it takes you to recognise their logo.
INFORMATION OVERLOAD…… This ones based on a real enquiry we had to deal with. The client wanted his business name, tag line (he preferred his to the franchise one), the franchise he rans tag line (had to be on there), Telephone number, mobile number (just in case), web address & email address on there……. No one is picking up anything from there! To make a point it was suggested that a quick spray from a can of white paint might have the same effect.
But that’s what they insisted on, so as the customer decides, that’s what they got. All we can do is give you the best advice we think is applicable. Keep it Simple, Kiss your logo
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.
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.
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 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!
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.
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.
Hen Party T-Shirts
Wedding season is in full flow and, here at Stitch & Print, we’re seeing the usual enquiries about Stag and Hen Party T-shirts from our many new Cumbria customers– as well as some less traditional requests from within the county and the Borders and Eden Valley!
The Hen Party T Shirt Phenomenon
Hen parties tend to fall into two types – the drink and dance party nights and the relax and refresh spa breaks. We cater for both with a selection of T-shirt designs to mark out the party crowd (not including L plates, pink cowboy hats and feather boas) and fluffy dressing gowns and slippers for those who are planning to pamper.
Our hen party T-Shirts are always a favourite for the girls’ big night out and we’ve loads of options: round neck, V-neck, short-sleeved, long-sleeved, fitted or baggy. Brides –to-be (or their bridesmaids) can choose from Stitch & Print’s range of hen night designs or send us their own idea and we can make something different – we can even bling a design with diamante effects for the perfect party.
One of the biggest hen party orders we ever had at Stitch & Print was for over 50 T-shirts for a local Cumbrian wedding. These covered five different hen party dates and venues so the “Tour Dates” were recorded on the back with ticks for which ones the various girls were attending.
Stag Do T Shirts Too!
And for the gentlemen (!), we have a similarly wide range of colours, T-shirt designs and styles. Stag night T-shirts tend to use a few standard jokes and images but we’re happy to create something a bit different if the best man has his own ideas.
One of the more unusual ones we were asked to create was for a diamante L Plate to be printed to the nether regions of a fluorescent yellow mankini whilst the rest of the boys had matching coloured T-Shirts to show their support – not a pretty look but decidedly funny!
We all know stag parties tend to be wild affairs and I think the main benefit of a party T-shirt is often to help these lads to recognise each other across a crowded bar or club. But if your chosen venue isn’t keen on something too in your face or larger groups of boys on the night out we’ve done hundreds of polo shirts with more discreet logos to help you find each other.
Whatever the ideas for the order and however many people are involved, it’s great for Stitch & Print to be part of a couple’s big day and we enjoy coming up with something a bit different to get the party started.