Clothing & Workwear
So you want to buy workwear. . .
Workwear is often an overlooked area of business spending, yet it can have a massive impact on your brand and employee morale. The UK annual spend on workwear is expected to hit well over £550 million and approximately 5% of all UK clothing purchased is workwear. Over 90% of workwear is imported, mainly from Asia, so is impacted by exchange rates and events like Brexit.
Recent figures suggest that over 50% of all UK employees wear corporate workwear.
Workwear has its roots in services like Royal Mail and the Police where workwear is used to identify employees as well as reinforce the brand. Workwear often has a ‘protective’ role as well, such as overalls or chef’s tunics.
Brand values can be effectively reinforced by staff wearing smart, attractive, branded clothing. One recent trend is for all employees in a company, including management, to wear the same uniform to promot the idea that everyone has the same status.
Whilst this guide doesn’t cover Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), it’s worth mentioning that all PPE should be sourced from reputable companies such as The Printing House and once owned it should be maintained to keep it in good order.
How to Buy Workwear & Industrial Clothing
If you are doing Corporate Uniform for the first time, then read our blog post 5 Reasons to Offer Branded Workwear to Your Employees and decide on the reasons applicable to your business. You are then in a position to approach us at The Printing House and have a discussion to outline what you need.
Create a Branded Clothing & Workwear ‘Standard’
The standard that you adopt for your workwear will need to be formed from the inputs listed below;
Finance – Budgets need to be set. The most cost effective solution is 3 branded polo shirts and 2 pairs of trousers to all employees and branded Hi-Vis vests to anyone working in traffic or forklift zones. You can even go as far as offering waterproof coats, shoes, fleeces, hats etc.
Marketing – Obviously one of the key reasons for having workwear is to support marketing by making your brand more visible so it’s vital to involve marketing at an early stage.
Operations – Operational managers need to be brought into the process, partly as they often have input regarding practicality, but also because it’s important to get them to ‘buy into’ the process. They can also share their insight into how durable the workwear should be dependent on the tasks being performed.
Health & Safety – If you are planning something more than just polo shirts & trousers then its a good idea to involve your health & safety team. They can look at legal requirements such as steel toe capped shoes as well as best practice within your industry to ensure that what you choose is compliant and relevant.
HR – The HR department is usually the one tasked with issuing uniforms, incorporating the requirements into employment contracts and ensuring general appearance standards are upheld. This can be particularly complex if different uniforms apply to different departments. Other factors such as provision for pregnancy, disabled employees, religious concerns etc need to be addressed.
I know what kind of workwear I want. What now?
Sit down with a reputable workwear supplier and present them with an overview of what you need, ideally with an idea of budget, and start to build your workwear portfolio.
Points for discussion:
What items of workwear to have – Choose from polo shirts, formal shirts, blouses, trousers, coats, gilets, caps, hats, High-Vis opions. Then, using your budget, you can decide on the quality/brand of each item. But remember the old adage ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ which can be particularly true with workwear.
What type of decoration (print/embroidery) should you use – At The Printing House we offer most print processes suitable for clothing. Note that some processes are more durable than others and this is particularly valid for items that will be washed continually or that need to be washed at hot temperatures. As a rule, embroidery is the toughest, but doesn’t handle small letters or complex logos as well. Vinyl is next most durable and is very vibrant. For more complex logos transfer printing is usually the best alternative. We also offer DTG (Direct to Garment Printing), but this is more suited to clothing that won’t be washed continually, so its ideal for staff at exhibitions.
What are the lead times – For most orders allow 5 to 10 working days. If you have an emergency requirement then we can often work to very short lead times but it does depend on what available capacity we have in production.
How will I order – For most customers the easiest way is to email a list of items and sizes, but if you are likely to be ordering weekly we can build you your own branded website portal to order items – that way you can see what has been ordered and keep track of what has been delivered. Ask us if you feel that this is something that you would benefit from.