What to look for when purchasing Corporate Apparel
Rule of Three: How to grade apparel.
Apparel comes in three categories: Low, Medium and High Grades just like gasoline at the gas pump. All three can be worn by the end user but not all three are designed or manufactured equally.
Low Grade often listed in Catalogs as: Budget, Value, Basics and Economy. T-shirts: under 5.5 oz, most likely not pre-shrunk, sizes will run small. Sweatshirts: 7 to 9oz 50/50, 6% shrink rate, minimal stitching, crew neck Sport Shirt: No side seams, two button placket, 50/50 blend, 5.6 ounces or less. Jackets: Nylon, no lining or light weight lining, minimal styling, sizes will run small.
Uses: service sector employee’s from landscapers to manufacturing workers. Clothing used to Advertise a company and its product lines, can you say NIKE. Event apparel from concerts to company picnics.
History: in the 50’s the only time a person wore a t-shirt was under their button down with a few exceptions. Today T-shirts are worn by almost everyone, the average walking Billboard gets 30,000 exposures in its life.
Mid Grade often listed as Fashion, Medium Weight and Uniform T-shirts 6oz and above 100% pre-shrunk cotton. Sweatshirts 10oz 80/20 blend, special details, V-patch, fully cover seamed. Sport Shirt: Side seams, 3 button placket, some trim details, 6oz 100% combed cot or higher end blends, may offer different weaves and color block options, roomy. Jacket: Nylon, high tech fabrics, Denim or poplin, lined, insulated, more details.
Uses: Front line employees, sales reps, and Incentive gifts given to employees, clients or prospects. Don’t scrimp because the perceived value of the gift reflects directly on the value of your continued relationship
History: It wasn’t until the 80’s that companies started to loosen up with corporate attire and allow corporate casuals to be worn at the work place. Look at a picture of the work place from the 60’s, can you say White!
High Grade often listed as Premium, Fancies. T-shirt: 7oz 100% cotton, can be side seamed, color block options, high tech fabrics. Sweatshirts: 10oz or better, 90/10, fabric treatments: suede, sanded, nailhead, striping, neck treatments. Sport Shirt: Special weave, materials, silk, pima cotton, microfiber, mercerized cotton, multiple color, roomy. Jacket: 3 in 1, duck material, suede, Microfiber, wool, wool/leather, leather. Uses: These garments can be worn in the executive board room to Golf outings. Worn at trade shows where you want to stand out from the crowd. You can even wear many of these items with sport coats and suits. They’re great for Incentive gifts, and Client Appreciation Programs.
Building Brand Awareness through Apparel.
Clothing items are one of the best ways to Brand your company in the mind of employees, customers and prospects. You will get more mileage from a well thought out piece of decorated apparel than almost anything else. Why? Because everyone likes to wear a nice piece of clothing be it a T-shirt with their favorite band on the front of it, to a Nike Golf shirt you receive at a golf tournament you attend.
Clothing is worn by everyone “unless you live at a nudist colony” so the opportunity to advertise your product, company or slogan is virtually wide open. 20 years ago the idea of wearing a branded clothing item was left to the garment itself, today everyone wears Branded clothing and proudly at that.
In the Advertising Specialty Industry apparel makes up nearly 30% of total sales out of a 16 billion dollar a year industry, that is a lot of garments.
What to look for in a Corporate Image Apparel Provider.
1- Provider should ask you the client what the final apparel item will be used for. Why? Because without an end result in mind you can waste a lot of time and money. Knowing what the end result should be will help the Provider to provide you with The Best Item for the job at hand.
2 – Provider must know his product lines and have a good grasp of the Apparel industry. They should understand all aspects of the job from garment to embellishment.
3 - Provider must not scrimp on thread count when it comes to the Embroidery of garment. Why? Because often a “Price Driven” company will offer you a low ball figure to get your business and one way they do this is to keep the stitch count down on your logo. The end result of low stitch count, is that the logo can pucker, look thin and unravel after a very short time. The final result, you will insult your client, prospect or employee.
4 - Provider will offer you Quality over Budget Apparel. Another way ‘Price Driven” companies are able to offer low ball figures is because often they will offer you inferior garments. Again the end result will be garments that wear out quickly or loose their shape and you will insult your client, prospect or employee.
5 – Provider will offer a 100% money back guarantee for not only the garment but the embellishment.
You could outfit your Sales staff with T-shirts with a one color screen print on the left chest and you would have a uniform cohesive look but do you think your prospects would take you seriously if you are meeting them in their place of work and you wish to sell them a 50,000 piece of equipment or a 5,000 service agreement? Probably not. On the other hand if the employees of a landscaping company wore said shirts and they were bidding on the job to keep up your yard and the other company’s employees just had on an assortment of dirty shirts, then chances are good, you would go with company A thinking that company A had its act together. Of course company A better perform to its perceived professionalism or you will look else wear for landscaping services. (It’s all part of a package).