Whether you're in a retail, restaurant or corporate office setting, employee uniforms do a lot to increase professionalism while promoting your brand. In fact, uniforms do more than create an attractive business image. They can also improve security, protect workers and foster team spirit. (For more on the benefits of employee uniform programs, check out the Top 10 Reasons YOU Need A Branded Uniform Program.)
However, there's a misconception that creating an employee uniform program can be difficult, time consuming and expensive. Not the case—if you're working with the right promotional consultant. In fact, it can be done in seven easy steps:
Begin by looking at the climate where your company (and any branch offices, if applicable) is located. Businesses in Arizona have much different needs from those in Minnesota, so you'll need to plan for any seasonality changes.
Here's a great example. The Maya sleeveless dress is perfect for resort staff in sunny California nearly year round, but employees in Maine would freeze for six months.
Conversely, the Canby quilted puffer vest would be lost on employees in Florida but would be a welcome addition to an employee uniform program in Colorado. (Want to learn more about either garment? Contact us here.)
Even when working indoors, climate can be an issue. There are always coworkers who are hot and those who are cold, even when the thermostat is set at 71. Having a series of garments that can be layered is a smart move that will keep employees comfortable while properly displaying your brand.
Next, determine what basic styles of apparel align not only with the location's climate but also with your corporate culture. If your company is more formal, button-down shirts with jackets or sweaters would be appropriate. If more casual, golf shirts may be the choice for your employee uniform program.
Also think about style in terms of fabric. Solids tend to be more conservative while patterns can have a more modern, casual feel. Take this gingham check shirt, for example. It has a traditional button-down style mixed with a modern checkered pattern for a fresh approach to employee uniforms.
Here's another fresh take: The ombre print polo. It features a unique sea-to-sky print design that blends grey melange with storm (or white with ocean, not shown), taking a conventional polo shirt and giving it modern flair. Plus it has UV, antimicrobial and moisture-wicking properties. This is not your father's polo shirt (but it does come in men's sizes, too). If you like it, contact us for details.
There are so many branded apparel options for creating an employee uniform program today. No matter your brand's personality, there are garments available to fit your company's aesthetic perfectly.
Also think about the varying needs of your team. Staffers who do more maintenance work, for example, need highly durable and stain resistant garments that can easily be laundered. On the other hand, customer-facing employees must look neat and fresh throughout the day, so garments that are wrinkle-resistant and moisture wicking, such as the Sandhill Dress Shirt, make sense.
Functionality also applies to garment construction. Take the Eddie Bauer WeatherEdge Plus Insulated Jacket, for example.
Built to outlast the elements, this fully seam-sealed technical jacket has exceptional 10K/10K fabric waterproof and breathability ratings thanks to exclusive WeatherEdge Plus technology. Its exclusive StormRepel durable water-repellent (DWR) coating adds extra exterior weather protection. Sounds amazing, right? But there's more.
Fully insulated, this jacket also provides long-lasting warmth and comfort when temps drop. There's a detachable, adjustable hood with locking drawcord as well as an adjustable locking drawcord hem, a full-length exterior storm flap, ventilating pit zips, and adjustable tab cuffs with hook and loop closures.
Let's talk pockets. The welded front zippered pockets have waterproof zippers, and the welded right chest pocket includes an interior media port. Finally, the interior pocket features elastic to store goggles, hats and bulkier items.
Whoa. That's a serious jacket. (Contact us to order.) Of course, most branded apparel typically doesn't have this much function built in. But when you need technical garments for your employee uniform program, we've got ya covered.
The number of garments each individual receives is also a consideration. You want to make sure employees have enough shirts to make it through the work week without having to launder their uniforms every evening.
Color also play a role in creating a successful employee uniform program. White looks great, but it's difficult to keep clean and can begin to look dingy over time. Black is a forgiving color, but it is also nondescript. Color adds personality, and you can make selections to align with your corporate colors for consistent branding.
For companies with a modern aesthetic, fashion-forward garments that are on-trend with what's hot at retail can really make a statement, such as the Amelia Tunic and the Julianne Tunic.
These Y-neckline tunics not only have on-trend color choices, but the styling is equally retail-inspired with stretch fit, longer length, rounded tails and epaulettes to adjust sleeve length. (Contact us for more details.)
Color plays an integral role in any employee uniform program, so be sure to pick hues that are complementary to one another and work for all the various roles employees play within the company.
Naturally, you'll want to decorate the apparel in your employee uniform program with the company logo. While screen-printing can be a good option for many brands, embroidery often has a higher-end feel and can look more professional. Metallic thread, sequins, craft-bean stitching and personalization offer even more embroidery options.
If you want to get the Nike or Under Armor look, you could also go for an upscale heat transfer if your logo has gradient colors or is too technical to embroider. There's also laser appliqué, reverse appliqué, laser tech patches, laser etching and die-mold transfers to make your employee uniform program one-of-a-kind.
Work with your promotional consultant to order quarterly, as it's much easier to plan and budget than larger annual orders that must be warehoused until needed. For larger organizations, you may also want to think about setting up an online program that works with the entire company to simplify the process while increasing the brand consistency across multiple locations.
Whether your business is large or small, an employee uniform program can help build your brand and enhance your professionalism. Additionally, having an employee uniform program is a great hiring perk, as team members appreciate the fact that they don't have to worry about what to wear each morning—and they have more disposable income because a portion of their paycheck isn't going to their work attire.
The selection of apparel for uniforms is vast—which can be a blessing and a curse. Don't go it alone; tap into our concierge service. We understand uniform programs and know what works—and what doesn't. Not only will it save you time and money, but it will also give you access to a wider variety of garments that can be tailored specifically to your company's needs.
Getting started is easy. Just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or book an appointment at https://meetings.hubspot.com/corpspec/chat-about-swag for a quick 10-minute chat, 20-minute new product call or 30-minute brainstorming session.