We have some embroidery clients in the Seattle-Tacoma area with a very particular need — the need to wash their embroidered jackets, towels, and robes with bleach. One of these clients is a string of dental offices that requested lab coats for its dental hygiene technicians. Another is a hotel chain of which we have written before. We supply that hotel chain with embroidered robes. When the housekeeping staff changes the linens in the guest rooms, the robes get thrown into the laundry and submitted to a long exposure to a disinfecting bleach. The dental offices also need to be able to wash the dental technicians’ embroidered lab coats with bleach. The purpose of washing with bleach is, of course, to disinfect the garments, which have been exposed to bodily fluids.
“But,” you ask, “wouldn’t the bleach wash out the color in the thread of the embroidered logos on the garments?”
Yes, they would if an embroidery shop were to use traditional classic rayon thread. However, just has technology has advanced in hundreds of other applications in our lives, it has also advanced in the manufacture of thread.
The solution for clients who are in need of bleach-resistant embroidery is called Polyneon thread from a thread supplier called Madeira. It is completely unaffected by bleach. You can take a 14 color embroidered logo with all colors of the rainbow, toss it into the laundry with an overdose of bleach, and it will come out of the laundry as radiant as it looked originally. This makes Polyneon thread a perfect fit for medical offices, hotels, restaurants and other establishments seeking to promote their brand identity through logo wear.
Branding one’s company involves a number of decisions from logo design and development of graphic standards to setting the corporate culture and tone of customer service. The ultimate goal is to make a brand resonate well in the mind of the consumer.
But what happens when it’s time to send the customer-facing representatives out into the streets? Smart marketeers are thinking ahead to this eventuality. Perhaps branding for those sales representatives is best accomplished with a company lapel pin on a suit jacket. For example, for years IBM was associated with blue suits, which helped create a corporate identity that worked for IBM. Now what you are imagining in your mind is a bunch of people dressed in quality blue suits. But what would happen to your image of IBM if those quality blue suits looked threadbare, had jacket lapels that were way out of fashion, or were otherwise of poor quality? Would that not have tarnished your impression of the great IBM brand?
For many companies, branding efforts extend to outfitting employees in embroidered shirts, embroidered jackets, embroidered hats, and other logo wear. Marketers should consider not only the quality of the stitch work of an embroidery shop, but also the quality of the garment upon which the logo will be placed. Work closely with your embroidery shop to ensure that the garments meet your expectations for durability and style. Otherwise, your branding may end up reminding people more of a circus when you had envisioned looking more like IBM.
Most people would say that the rule of thumb about how long you have to make a first impression with a prospect is a maximum of 30 seconds. If you think that that 30 seconds begins when you shake a hand and introduce yourself, you are wrong. What are your sales representatives communicating before they have even had a chance to speak? This is common sense to anyone heading into a job interview, but often gets lost when companies are looking to outfit their teams. What impression are your clients and prospects forming when they see your team in the logo wear you have provided them?
You see, the question is not whether an embroidery and screen printing shop can provide you with cheap apparel. We all can do that. The real question is: can you live with it?
So what are the basic expectations of a logo wear provider? For about 70% of the prospects who call our shop, they seem to be:
- The embroidered shirts, hats, or jackets will look decent when pulled out of the box.
- The embroidery or screen printing will resemble the original design when staff tries them on.
- Timely delivery
Let us paint a possible outcome that satisfies those expectations. Your company buyer orders $2000 worth of logo wear through an online vendor whose prices seemed most attractive. The boxes of embroidered jackets and polos arrive two weeks later. Things look great right out of the box. Upon closer inspection, you notice that the part of your logo that should be burgundy is looking a little too close to purple. A month later, your sales reps stop wearing the polos because the fabric is pilling up. You look at one and notice that the shirt seems like it is now two years old, not one month old. Your company mascot in the logo no longer seems to be smiling, but merely grinning and bearing it.
This is a corporate branding decision that gets worn into live conversations with potential buyers. Why would you want to get into a position where your company logo is compromising your image?
Here’s how you can raise the expectation level and avoid this situation:
- Reorient your decision-making process toward buying quality. Quality logo wear will last longer and look better.
- Get to know your embroidery and screen printing shop and see if they control their production. Quality embroiderers and screen printers take pride in their work and know that happy clients are repeat clients and can refer business. They won’t let poor quality work leave the shop because they know it will cost them a future order.
- Ask to see the quality of your vendor’s work. Most shops can show you samples from other jobs that should help you determine your confidence level.
- Ask to see the quality of your vendor’s recommended apparel. We will often visit a client with samples of new and worn garments from different vendors so that our clients can make a side-by-side comparison of features and durability.
If you follow those simple steps, you will find your way into quality corporate logo wear. In so doing, your clients and prospects are likely to have confidence that quality is something your company prioritizes and provides.
We just delivered another round of light industrial work uniforms to a pest control client of ours today. This is a client who used to rent uniforms from a national, and impersonal, provider of industrial work gear. Our client has been pleased to discover that purchasing uniforms from I’m In Stitches is not only a pleasant experience in terms of customer service, but cost effective as well.
Browse here to view some of our light industrial work uniform offerings.
Yes, we offer embroidered work jackets, even the heavy duty types. We had a customer in Tacoma ask us for embroidered jackets from Carhartt and embroidered shirts made by Riggs. They thought they needed to go to a local workwear shop and then bring the items to us. We demonstrated to them that we could save them money by letting us buy and embroider the very same label apparel that they love. We also saved them the time and aggravation of having to stop at the mall to buy work apparel.
We work with our clients to get them into embroidered shirts, embroidered jackets, and embroidered hats that will withstand the demands of their industry. For some, that means shirts that will hold up to coffee spills. For others, that means heavyweight cotton shirts and rugged jackets. Most residential construction firms and subcontractors are familiar with Whistle Workwear stores. We are an authorized distributor of all the lines of apparel carried by Whistle Workwear, including Carhartt, Riggs, and Helly Hansen.
For still other clients, appropriate apparel means providing ANSI certified safety vests, safety jackets, etc. that can mean the difference between life and death on the side of the road. ANSI certified safety wear cannot be embroidered without putting hundreds or thousands of holes through a waterproof fabric. Therefore, we always recommend screen printing logos on safety apparel.