The uniforms market is a growing one, forecasted to reach $14.5 billion by 2015, according to research from UniformMarket News magazine. As more people shift into the healthcare, transportation, professional and scientific and technical services sectors, they’ll need workwear for their jobs, according to an executive summary from business and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.
This growth means big opportunity for the promotional products industry—you just have to think in terms of offering the whole package to your clients. “If a client requests a necktie, propose a matching shirt. If they request a shirt, offer the apron. Maybe they haven’t thought about doing the other items. It can’t hurt to extend the sale,” says Kelly Holmes, VP of sales for Greensboro, North Carolina-based supplier Buffalo Bay (UPIC: BUFFALO).
She recommends looking around your community to see which businesses have a need for uniforms, then craft your pitch. “It could be a hospitality program, a restaurant chain or a smaller bank or credit union in your area,” says Holmes.
The financial sector has been a particularly hot market for neckties, Holmes notes. While bank branch employees used to have a uniform of golf shirts Monday through Thursday and t-shirts on Friday, they’re now dressing up with neckties for the workweek. “It’s like a confidence booster—they’re saying they can be trusted with people’s money,” she says.
“Uniforms are the true link for companies to brand to the public, allowing each employee to have a professional, uniform look with the added bonus of logo embellishment,” says Scott Thackston, executive vice president for Mauldin, South Carolina-based supplier Aprons, Etc. (UPIC: APRONS). “As more distributors are looking for additional revenue streams, the clear choice is uniforms. They allow multiple reordering opportunities and they open doors to more business in an existing client base.”
1. Restaurant workers from busboys to dishwashers look professional in the Economy Kitchen Shirt. Look for a left-chest pocket and six-snap front closure on this black or white shirt. A soil-release finish protects it against spills, but if food splatters, employees can launder this uniform at home. Broder Bros. UPIC: BRODER 800-521-0850
2. The Red Kap Long Sleeve Industrial Stripe Work Shirt stands up to the daily grind, featuring a soil-release, wickable finish. A bar-tacked pencil stall comes in handy on service calls and a two-piece, lined collar with sewn-in stays keeps the collar in place. This shirt also features a six-button front with a button at the neck and two button-through pockets. One Stop UPIC: ONES0001 800-968-7550
3. Help firefighters and law enforcement officials be seen on the scene with the CornerStone® ANSI Class 3 Long Waterproof Rain Coat. It’s fully waterproof and seam-sealed, and features a two-way Vislon zipper, a storm flap with hook and loop closure and reflective taping on the front, back and sleeves. SanMar UPIC: SNMR 800-426-6399
4. The Mock Wrap Tunic Set is ideal for medical, dental and veterinary professionals, providing a unified, fashion-forward look for staff. Details include contrast piping, set-in sleeves, two pockets, side vents and matching flare pants with an elastic back and adjustable front string. Spectrum Uniforms UPIC: Spect177 800-235-4701
5. Outfit housekeeping staff in the Contrasting Notch Tunic, which is designed with deep front pockets and contrasting buttons, cuffs and collar. This garment, offered in 100-percent polyester or a blend of cotton and polyester, can be laundered at home. Choose from a palette of solid colors or a tropical pinstripe design. High Performance Uniforms UPIC: HighPerf 866-678-5607
6. When safety and visibility matter most on the job, the Bayside Chino Twill Constructed Cap is a smart choice to complete a uniform. This 100-percent cotton, six-panel cap is offered in ultra bright colors such as lime green and orange (shown), and features a pre-curved bill and matching closure. Bodek and Rhodes UPIC: ULTRACLB 800-523-2721
7. Polish up the appearance of front-of-house employees with Custom Neckties. They’re available in 100-percent silk or polyester, and they can be customized with your clients’ logos. Buffalo Bay UPIC: BUFFALO 800-222-8437
8. It’s made from a combination of polyester and cotton, so the ChefDesigns V-Neck Button Front Vest can be as dressy or as casual as the setting requires. Details include a soil-release finish, a four-button front, two lower front pockets and an exterior left chest pocket. S & S Activewear UPIC: SSAC8463 800-523-2155
9. Professional chefs will appreciate the inset pocket and thermometer pocket on the Master Chef Coat, which also features a hidden neck button, reversible closure, underarm vents and 12 hand-rolled buttons. It’s made from Egyptian cotton and offered in black and white. Aprons, Etc. UPIC: APRONS 800-467-1996