5 Mistakes Managers Make on their First Uniform Order
When it comes to placing a uniform order for the very first time, managers are under a lot of pressure to meet the needs of both employees and stakeholders.
A uniform needs to be comfortable and meet the design and functionality needs of employees, as well as remaining within the bounds of a uniform budget - and if it's your first time ordering, that can be challenging balancing act to perform.
Fortunately, the right uniform supplier will work with you through every step of the process to make sure you're making all of the best decisions, while you find your feet.
In our experience, there are a few common mistakes that managers make on their first uniform order that are really easily avoided.
Here's what we recommend looking out for when ordering your workplace uniform for the first time.
1. One size doesn't always fit all
If there's one thing we know about most companies, is that they're usually extremely diverse. The modern workplace is comprised of people of all genders, religions, races, shapes and sizes - and that's a really important thing to consider when designing a uniform for the first time as a manager.
It can be tempting to go for a 'one-size-fits-all' approach, or even simply decide on a unisex option. Sure, it can be cheaper not to diversify, but generally speaking being inclusive of each and every individual in your business will pay dividends in the long term.
A really good example of designing for diversity, is our case study with Ryman Health care (which you can watch, here). The result? The feedback from the team was overwhelmingly positive, and the uniform design turned out to be a powerful marketing tool. It stood out in a crowd, as it was by design as diverse as the team that was wearing it - and that's memorable!
- The bottom line: always go the extra mile to make sure that all of your staff are happy and comfortable in their new uniform, and avoid standardised 'one-size-fits-all' uniform roll-outs.
2. Try not to over-design your new uniform
One of the most common things we come across when it comes to custom uniforms, is over-design - and we understand why!
Especially on your first customised uniform piece, you want to make an impression and create a series of garments that stand out. However, often the excitement to implement change and get a fresh design out across the business can mean a design concept that's a little too busy.
As well as this, sometimes first-time designers aren't entirely in the know when it comes to the possibilities and restrictions of uniform design.
The biggest piece of advice we can give you, is to ask ask many questions as you can of your supplier - the best providers will be happy to help and coach you through the design process, advising possibilities you may not know of, and letting you know if your design is approaching the realm of 'too much'.
The last thing you want is hundreds of uniforms arriving in bulk, with a design that isn't quite what you expected it to be! There have been some great examples of these kind of mishaps that were quite well publicised too. Check out our blog Top 5 Weirdest [or Just Plain Worst] Work Uniforms We've Ever Seen, to see what we mean.
- The bottom line: keep it simple, and check in with your supplier as you go through the design process to make sure that your ideas are possible, and will translate into a stunning uniform.
3. Cheap and fast, doesn't usually mean good quality
Every business is working within budget constraints, and making sure you don't blow the budget on your first ever uniform order is likely to be at the top of any manager's priority list. We totally understand that need, and it's important that your supplier works with you and your budget to create the best-possible, affordable uniform.
That being said, a lot of first-time uniform purchases tend to favour the cheapest, fastest option. While it's true that your immediate costs will be less, over time, you're likely to find that the cheaper option wasn't the least expensive after all, because you've compromised quality.
What tends to happen, is your bulk uniform order will arrive on your doorstep that's low quality, deteriorates quickly, and makes your staff feel uncomfortable and unhappy due to a poor choice of cheaper materials and careless design.
If you've got a tight budget, you're better off to work with a supplier who can help you allocate your budget towards the more important aspects of a uniform, and cut-costs on the less important 'nice-to-have' elements.
- The bottom line: cheap and fast may be convenient and come in under budget, but more often than not, investing a little more time and money with a company who will go the extra mile to advise you will pay for itself over time.
4. Treating a uniform as 'just something to wear'
A uniform isn't simply something you throw on in the morning and take to work. With the right design and planning, you can turn your uniform into a fully fledged marketing tool.
Your uniform is the first thing that customers notice when they greet your team, and speaks volumes about your brand identity, professionalism, and unity as a team. Executed correctly, it's an opportunity to put the right foot forward, and influence the public perception of your brand.
We always recommend putting a little bit of time into the fundamental design elements of your businesses' uniform. Make sure that your colours are cohesive and reflect your brand identity, and your logos are noticeable. Your uniform is like a walking billboard for your business, and ideally, should be approached with the same level of attention to detail.
Of course, if you're implementing a uniform for all of your employees the chances are they're going to be wearing these garments as often, if not more often, than their regular clothes. Therefore, it's important to find the balance between form and function (more on that in our blog: Form or function? How to get the best of both worlds when designing a uniform).
- The bottom line: uniforms are much more than something to throw on in the mornings. Always approach design and ordering with the mindset of creating both an effective marketing tool, and an outfit your employees would be proud to wear.
5. Don't Forget to Ask as many questions as you can
The right uniform supplier will be more than happy to take all of your questions on board, and help you to make the best quality uniform, with an eye catching design - all within your budget.
Have a few questions about your first uniform order? Our team is more than happy to help. Get in touch!