Is it even possible to create a uniform style that will make everyone on your team happy?
That sounds as likely as everyone at a busy pizza restaurant ordering the same pizza (even less likely if the pizza has pineapple on it)!
Or, if 800 passengers on an aeroplane choose the same movie to watch during their flight. 2019 Cats – really?
Business owners want to invest in their teams in ways that help them feel good about themselves. They encourage social activities during business hours like celebratory morning teas and educational events. As any great leader knows –
“ If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple” – Sir Richard Branson.
We’re all essentially Brand Ambassadors for our workplace. By bringing our best self into work, we’re able to provide the best experience for our customers.
Communicating what’s special about a business is also very important. The company logo, business cards, feature wall at reception and user-friendly website are all designed to communicate a brand message. Naturally, the uniform style is also a key element of the brand aesthetic. Uniforms are a great way to unite the team and, just like the ping pong table in the tea room, another way to excite the team spirit!
According to many businesses – we hear from 100’s each month – researching uniforms can be a very confusing, time consuming, expensive and stressful part of a branding.
Yet – it’s also one of the most exciting parts. What you wear, is an expression of who you are – as an individual and as a team. Nailing the look for your business is only a few clicks away, a flip through a catalogue or bought to life by engaging a Uniform designer.
As Uniform Stylists – we’re often asked for advice on catalogues, websites, samples and the best online stores. There’s often confusion over who specialises in what – and of course – what styles will make everyone happy.
So, where to start?
Let’s take away all the confusion :-
Uniform Design – Brand Identity Mood Boards :
Creating mood and Pinterest boards is a creative part of the branding process. When it comes to finding inspiration for uniforms – fashion trends, influencers and pop culture brands feature a lot. As do random images that have caught the eye of the branding and marketing teams! Any image that fits the company aesthetic, or colour palette becomes pin-worthy. Starting with aspirational images is a great way to share a vision, and make a statement. Uniform Designers are trained to consider all kinds of aspects like body shapes, fabrications and cost feasibility when converting ‘mood boards’ into cads – Illustrations. What looks good on a size 2 Amazon strutting down a catwalk, needs to look equally amazing on the rest of us regular humans. Partnering with a uniform designer in the early stages of your brand journey will enable the “mood” of the brand identity to come to life seamlessly. (Pun intended, in fact, we may have to use that one again!). Fashion designers who aren’t familiar with uniforms, or your brand can steer the uniform design into their own signature looks. It’s important your designer has your brand interest, or practical end use at top of mind.
Want some expert advice?
For Branding Strategy advice in the Health Sector, Corporates and Property Development : The Reflective
For Beauty, Hair and Wellness Branding : Digital Bloom
Or, create your own Pinterest Board – tips to get started here
Most uniform suppliers will have their latest catalogue on hand. Uniform brands update their product ranges monthly, yet regular printing can be very costly (and not very planet friendly). Their catalogues may not be as up to date, as their physical stock. Usually there will be a catalogue that can be downloaded from Uniform Suppliers websites directly, so that you can browse at your leisure.
Browsing online via the website, as well as in the catalogues will give you a pretty good idea of what is available at that time. Stock quantities do vary daily. Styles are subject to change from season to season too. So, if you need a volume item for your team – it’s a good idea to check with the representative or distributor. Once you find something you love, it can be disappointing to learn it is discontinued a few months later. However often there’s something new that can update your favourite, or a quick glance at another supplier and you might find a suitable replacement.
Our Catalogue for Beauty Professionals HERE
Uniform Brands :
Globalisation has enabled us all to browse ANY product we want, from ANYWHERE in the world, at ANY time. Even our grandparents are shopping online! Aside from my Dad, who at 74 yrs old has set up three Facebook profiles for himself!! One for his phone, one for his i-pad, and one for his desktop! (I still laugh thinking about this – it’s caused all kinds of problems for his personal branding). Otherwise, we’re generally very savvy creatures with our internet use. We know exactly what we want, when we see it. There are many Uniform brands around the world that serve clients with incredible B2B online sites, and via their communities on their social platforms. You can browse and add to cart online – in your own time – without having a salesperson putting pressure on you. You can buy direct from the online store for next day dispatch, or get in touch with real humans for some personalised service.
Insider tip : Always worth asking for volume and bulk order prices – as they may not be visible online! You’re welcome.
Some search engines might not show you the BEST brands that specialise in what you’re looking for on page 1, so here are a few to get you started :
Hospitality : Cargo Crew
Healthcare Scrubs : Figs
Aprons : Hedley & Bennet
Bleach Proof clothing & Footwear : Beau Tex
Beauty : Embassie
Wellness : Sanctuarie
Chef Attire : Chef works
Custom Design – Made to Order VS Made to measure :
Ok, so now you have your mood boards ✔️.
Your catalogues – ✔️
You’ve even book-marked some websites that you like ✔️
…but you STILL can’t find a uniform solution that suits your needs?
Maybe it’s time to consider investing in a bespoke uniform style for your brand!
Made to Order :
You’ll need to find a uniform partner with expertise in manufacturing made to order apparel. There are so many factors involved in the process, that if a little step goes wrong, the whole collection could be at risk! The designer will need to do some R&D in order to design the collection first, and will take into consideration suitable fabrications and MOQs.
Most factories will have a minimum order for their production lines – which is normally 1000 – 3000 per style. Our MOQ’s are less, depending on the style and fabric as we work with factories that will allow 200 – 300 as a minimum run* Surcharges apply
You’ll need to be able to share your vision, your budget, your staff numbers by gender – and how many uniforms you supply per staff member. Generally we find the ratio is 3 : for full time, 2 : for part time, and 1 : for casual. Without this information, the manufacturer will not be able to quote for both the design work, and the production of your uniforms.
Your uniform partner will allocate a Designer, Account Manager and Quality Control team to support you during the process from beginning to end.
Engage the experts in your niche – because they’ll blow your mind beyond what you could ever imagine!
Custom uniforms are designed to be exclusive and immediately identifiable as a brand identity. Some examples of company’s that you may well from their exclusive uniforms are Qantas, Telstra, Commonwealth Bank etc. Some of the large workwear groups like Workwear Group or Total Image Group might be able to help if you have nation-wide (even global team). The Uniform Edit – famous for their on brand, pop colour suiting will have you covered if a specific colour is significant to your brand. Some companies specialise in sustainable materials, others in materials specific to a certain niche.
The made to order process can take 3 – 12 months – but worth the wait. You’re team will be excited to wear a uniform style that has been designed especially for them.
Made to Measure :
If you are looking for a uniform to fit a particular staff member, or manager – and it needs to fit that person perfectly – you may want to consider Made to Measure. There will be fittings, and surcharges that apply, so a local dress maker or tailor will need to quote an hourly rate for this process. Or, some workwear groups will offer this service FOC as part of their contract.
Quality workwear sourced from retailers like Next, Country Road, Bassike and Myer , or from emerging, conscious fashion brands – can provide the icing on the cake for your uniform style. We recommend looking out for products that are ethically produced and with sustainably sourced fabrications. Items of clothing must be suitable for the wearer’s daily tasks, and durable enough for long term wear. And – Cost effective.
These clothing collections are available for immediate purchase and can inject a level of fashionability that no mainstream uniform supplier can provide. Even the ‘trendy’ ones. Some retailers specialise in corporate styling within their ranges – and have designated areas in their stores so it’s super easy to find and shop them each month. There’s plenty of opportunity to find great highlight pieces that can elevate an otherwise mainstream uniform collection.
Curating a dress code for your team is another great way to present the look that you want for your business. That way, staff can choose what suits their budget, or their own personal style from these guidelines. The only catch is – the items of clothing are only available while stocks last. So updating the style guide a couple of times per year will help your team stay on brand.
No time for that?
Find a Uniform stylist that understands your brand so that they can curate this for you.
To summarise :
- Start a mood board to ensure your brand identity has the right direction. Branding Agencies can help initiate this. Or, ask us to include specific uniform direction in your company profile/ style guide.
- Collect ideas from online brands and catalogues. These are uniforms ready for next day dispatch, suitable for teams of 1 – 100 (or more). Easily replenished with stock lines generally maintained by that brand or supplier. Samples are generally easy to purchase to try out.
- Custom Design – Suitable for teams of 100 – 300 (as a minimum) that want a unique brand identity designed exclusively. Your business is in full control of stock on hand. Allow for an average of 6 months, and be prepared to invest in samples and bulk orders.
- Retail – Purchasing from suitable fashion brands for modern, sustainable highlight pieces. These options are best suited for small reception teams, event hosts and Management. While stocks last.
- Finally – You can then make everyone in your team happy….oh, wait. We didn’t get to that yet did we..
At The Uniform Stylist, we provide solutions that tap into ALL available resources. From Custom Design, Off the Shelf and Retail – to ensure the final uniform style is on brand, affordable and as sustainable as possible. Just as importantly for us, we’re passionate about making the process both fun and seamless (I promised I’d use that pun again) as we bring that vision to life for you and your team. We’re able to design, produce and style a collection for your business that your whole team will be proud to wear.
A bespoke uniform collection is an investment in your people that helps them look good, and feel good everyday.