Whether you’re a startup or an established business, corporate branded workwear can help to develop your brand and build customer trust. An employee wearing a uniform with a logo is a walking advertisement for your brand, and consumers are much more likely to buy from a brand they recognise and are somewhat familiar with.
Uniforms also allow customers to easily identify your staff as a trusted source of help. This is especially important if your staff visit existing or potential customers away from the business, and perhaps even in their homes. And it’s not just the customers and your bottom line that will benefit from branded clothing — providing your staff with branded workwear can create a culture of unity and teamwork.
So you want to design your own work uniform, but where do you start?
1. Decide what final look you want to achieve
There is a wide range of corporate branded clothing available for you to choose from. If you don’t start out with a clear vision of what you want to achieve, the choice could be overwhelming and the final look will not send the clear brand message you’re aiming for.
Some businesses require their staff to wear a full uniform at all times so that the whole workforce looks the same. Others provide certain branded items that employees can choose to wear or not. You could make the wearing of branded clothing mandatory, for example, but provide only one item, such as an embroidered shirt, or you might require your employees to don their workwear only for certain events. The possibilities are endless.
Think about why you want to design your own uniform. What are you trying to achieve? If your business is a store with customer focus at its core, a full uniform would create a strong brand image and be helpful to customers. If your staff mix office work with customer-facing tasks, providing a custom work t-shirt to be worn when staff are on show may be a better option. Make this a team discussion and include your staff in the design process.
2. Go shopping!
So you’ve spoken with your team, assessed your business objectives and have a clear idea of the “uniform” you want to create. Now it’s time to buy your branded workwear items. Before you hit “buy”, make sure you’ve completed a staff audit. How many staff do you need to cater for? What sizes do you need? Are the items you’ve found unisex or do you need to know how many male and female employees you have? Remember to bear in mind that each employee will need multiple versions of the same item, especially if you have decided to make it mandatory for them to wear your chosen workwear at all times.
You should also think about the type of tasks you set your staff and their day-to-day responsibilities. If they have a physically demanding role in a hot environment, you will need to consider technical fabrics that ensure your workers are comfortable. Make sure the clothing you purchase is a comfortable fit for your staff and practical. If your staff don’t feel comfortable and smart, they will become demotivated and less productive.
Finally, find a reliable supplier that can meet your needs for customisation. Look for suppliers that offer workwear in a wide range of colours, sizes, styles and fabrics. If there is more choice, you’re much more likely to find exactly what you’re looking for. Buying from one company that can meet all your needs will cut down on time, hassle and delivery costs, and ensure consistency. Ask whether your chosen supplier can offer choice, quality and customisation.
3. Customise your workwear
Now that you’ve found a supplier that offers exactly what you want and you’ve chosen the items you wish to purchase, it’s time to choose your branding. Any reputable supplier will provide a personalised service that allows you to state exactly what you want, and offer recommendations of what will look best. Do you like the look of printed logos or would you prefer embroidery? Where will you place the logos, and will you have more than one on each item? Work with your supplier and ask to see some mock-ups of the finished product before committing to buy.
It is probably unlikely that you’re planning to rebrand anytime soon, so getting this right is key. Go back to where you started and think carefully about the overall look you are trying to achieve, and what your business objectives are in creating your own corporate branded clothing. Are you trying to increase the visibility of your staff to customers, or is your main goal to unify your workforce? This will impact your decisions on logo style and positioning.
4. Start with a small-scale trial
If you’re starting from scratch, designing and funding uniforms for your entire staff can be a daunting and costly business. If this is the first time you have designed branded workwear and you have the time, it can be helpful to place an initial small order, perhaps for a handful of employees in different roles, and try them out. Are the clothes comfortable? Do they have the desired effect? Remember to get feedback from a number of people in your team — don’t base your decision solely on how a uniform looks or whether it’ll serve your main business objective.
Of course, this does add time and potentially cost to the process, as suppliers will often charge less for bulk orders, while multiple smaller orders may incur additional charges. Depending on your goals, it may also prove tricky to implement — having just a few staff wearing the uniform may defeat the purpose of unifying the whole team. But this can be an effective way to dip your toe in the water and avoid making expensive mistakes. Why not try giving all shop floor staff a custom work polo shirt and roll it out to your entire workforce later, or gradually add other items that will create a full uniform?
5. Cross the T’s and dot the I’s
Finally, it’s vital that you make sure your paperwork is all in order. You should create a staff uniform policy that complies with the Equality Act 2010. The act protects people from discrimination due to certain protected characteristics, including age, disability, gender reassignment, religion, race, sexual orientation and gender.
When you design your uniform and make stipulations for what staff should wear and when, make sure that you aren’t treating genders differently. If trousers are an option for male employees, they must also be a choice for females. Ensure that you also consider race and religious requirements. Expecting all staff to wear branded baseball caps at all times would be problematic for a Sikh who wears a “dastaar” or turban, and could see you fall foul of the regulations. The Equality Act also puts employers under an obligation to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people. Certain uniforms may be uncomfortable or impractical for people with disabilities to wear, so make sure that you take this into account before implementing your new uniform policy — doing so could save you a lot of cost in the long run.
Creating your own corporate branded workwear can be an enjoyable and effective way to enhance the impact of your brand, unite your workforce and provide a more enjoyable experience to your customers. Follow these five steps to design your own work uniform and you’ll be well on your way to creating branded workwear with impact.