Uniforms are not just about symbolizing the company it’s about the employee. They should feel proud in what they’re wearing so that they can represent the company in its best possible light. How important are accessories to everyday uniform? Can something as small as cuff links or a badge really be important in representing a company? Any buyer making a decision on these details wants to get it right.
With the credit crunch still looming ahead in 2009 it’s no secret that businesses are making cut backs and trying to work out where is not an easy decision. Companies may think about cutting back on uniforms and so accessories as the last in (aka the finishing touches) could be the first out. They may not seem an essential part of the uniform but investing in image can go a long way, revamping a company uniform can turn heads and attract the right clients.
Badgemaster, which claims to be the largest badge manufacturer in Europe, counts retailers, banks and airlines among its customers. Managing director John Bancroft says: “People are very interested in saving money at the moment – there’s no denying it. But the situation which I think is being strongly voiced in the market place is that nobody that has customer facing staff wearing name badges wants them to stop wearing them, they are all completely sold on their customers being able to identify them by name.
“They don’t want to reduce the quality of badge or change the appearance so that the staff with different badges stand out like a sore thumb either but they do want to pay less for them”.
In order to meet the demands of the current economic downturn, Badgemaster has come up with the Price Challenge, which claims to achieve the seemingly impossible: cut costs while improving quality and service. Any name badge buyer can challenge the company to beat the current price they are paying. They will receive a quick, no-obligation quotation, free sample and a “seamless” transfer of supply to locations worldwide, with no minimum order, contract or pre-payment, all backed by Badgemaster’s “best price guarantee”.
John says: “Last year we invested very heavily in new technology and we’ve increased our capacity by taking on a whole new factory unit which has enabled us to reduce our prices. The Price Challenge is a very strong message and it’s very appropriate for 2009.”
“If, after putting Badgemaster to the test, new customers aren’t satisfied that they have gained better value by switching, they can return their badges within the first 30 days with nothing to pay. It’s easy to do and there’s nothing to lose”.
For businesses looking to refresh an old uniform or to lift a classic suit that has been chosen over a more fashionable option, the easiest way to do this is by updating or adding accessories. However, care should be taken not to purchase accessories that will look dated within a few months. In high street fashion styles of accessories quickly come and go but when it comes to corporate wear companies need investment pieces that can represent the business for a length of time and help to build brand awareness.
Incorporatewear designs bespoke uniforms for blue chip clients and offers a selection of branded and non-branded accessories including scarves and ties. It can also cater for an array of budgets. Commercial manager Margaret McGregor Oliver says: “Tie’s and scarves are relatively low price items but the impact on the outfit, the customers and staff alike is huge. We find some of our clients are happy to ‘ring the changes’ on a regular basis while others may be a bit more budget conscious.”
Accessories such as scarves are key piece’s that add colour and a sense of professionalism. Going for a block colour rather than a pattern can also make the accessory less dated and become associated with the brand’s identity. “We do find in larger companies, where the brand has prestige there is a demand to acquire a variety of ‘branded items’, adds Margaret.
“When you consider the investment in a corporate wear wardrobe, our clients are keen to ensure that staff look clean, smart and stylish at all times. Finishing touches like the silk scarf, silk tie and smart cufflinks ‘complete the look’ and if staff look and feel better, you can be sure they will deliver better.”
So, regardless of whether the purse strings are being tightened over the coming months it seems that buyers shouldn’t underestimate the power of accessories to help pull a look together, impress potential customers and make staff look and feel great.