7 Steps To Create A Successful Corporate Apparel Program
Designing a branded apparel program can be daunting. But if you ask the right questions and focus on the people who will be wearing the garments and what they want and need, you will set up the program for success from the start. Here’s how to break down the process into seven manageable steps.
STEP 1: Identify Your Company Culture
Are you a casual company like a tech startup, a more traditional environment like a law firm, or something in between? Keeping in mind the overall company culture will help you narrow down the selection of potential garments, whether you’re a T-shirt and jeans kind of company or a workforce more likely to wear polo shirts and slacks.
STEP 2: Recruit An Employee Advisory Committee
There are so many choices for brandable garments that it can be overwhelming to choose. Don’t go it alone. It’s important to seek input from a variety of employees. Recruit a panel of individuals who represent a diverse cross-section of your staff to provide input and help choose the garments they will eventually be wearing. This helps avoid the potential pitfall of ordering a large program that they won’t be happy with sets you up for success.
STEP 3: Ask Questions
This is probably the most important step. Now that you have your advisory panel, it’s time to go over some key questions: What is the intended use of the apparel? When will people be wearing it (i.e., trade shows, regular office days or weekends?). What is your color scheme? Are brand-name garments important? (And, of course: What’s your budget?)
Also ask what technical features, if any, they want in their branded garments, such as easy care, moisture-wicking, antimicrobial, UPF rating (sun protection), sustainable/recycled fabrics, etc.
STEP 4: Establish Scope (How Many Garments, What Types)
Now that you know generally garments you’re looking for, it’s time to determine the scope of your apparel program. Is this a single shirt for outfitting an event, a set of items in a welcome kit or a selection for a company store?
Also be sure to identify who will be wearing the garments and what their job functions are, because different divisions may require different pieces to better serve them. For example, the general manager of a car dealership may want a tailored button-down shirt, which would not be practical for the mechanics in the repair shop.
STEP 5: Get Samples In Their Hands
It’s all abstract until folks can touch and feel the product – and better yet, try it on. Once your employee focus group can see what they like about the garment or what they might not like, then you can get specific feedback to help transition them into a piece that would work better. If you’ve successfully translated the information from the previous steps into a selected garment or collection, this is a great way to get people excited and build buy-in through word of mouth.
STEP 6: Decide On Decoration
Garment decoration has evolved from the standard logo embroidered on the left chest. Consider placing your company logo on the sleeve or in other different placements for a modern look. Also consider what decoration method you want to use. Embroidery is standard for dress shirts and fleece vest or jackets, but screen printing, heat transfer or embossing might be more effective for T-shirts and other types of apparel.
STEP 7: Don’t Forget About Presentation
Once you’ve gathered all the info and designed an apparel program tailored to your needs, be sure your distributor adds a few finishing touches like tags to make a great first impression when employees receive their branded garments.
Here are a few garments to consider for your next corporate apparel project:
Golf Earl Polo
Go for classic retro style with the Golf Earl Polo, made of 100% polyester moisture-wicking fabric. Details include a contrast-embroidered penguin logo on the left chest pocket, as well as contrast tipping on collar, placket and cuffs. Available in seven colors (regatta blue shown), sizes S-4X. Women’s companion available.
Women’s Snag Proof Performance Polo
The Women’s Snag Proof Performance Polo features a three-button placket with a Y-neck opening. Made from a high-performance fabric, it defies snags, fights odors, wicks moisture and provides UV protection to keep your professional edge all day long. Available in five colors (red shown), sizes XS-3X. Men’s companion available.
Long Sleeve SuperPro React Twill Shirt
The Long Sleeve SuperPro React Twill Shirt provides classic professional style with easy care features including wrinkle resistance and stain release. Available in 18 colors (cloud blue shown), sizes XS-4X. Women’s companion available.
Ladies Heathered Woven Shirt
This cotton/poly/elastane Ladies Heathered Woven Shirt offers a touch of stretch for easy movement, and the long sleeves convert to three-quarter sleeves with a fold-over tab and button on the inside. Available in four colors (navy shown), sizes S-3X. Men’s companion available.
Ladies’ Perfect Fit Tailored Open Neckline Top
This Ladies’ Perfect Fit Tailored Open Neckline Top offers a feminine silhouette with three-quarter sleeves, keyhole neckline and longer hemline, and the soft cotton/modal blend drapes without clinging. Available in seven colors (red shown), sizes XS-3X.
Men’s Omi Short Sleeve Tech Tee
Button-downs and polos may not be practical for workers in auto shops, warehouses and other physical jobs. This Men’s Omi Short Sleeve Tech Tee is snag resistant, wicks away moisture and offers built-in UV protection. Available in 11 colors (maroon shown), sizes S-3X. Women’s companion available.
Unisex Microfleece Full-Zip Vest
Standardize a variety of outfits with a branded vest like this Unisex Microfleece Full-Zip Vest, with dyed-to-match accent piping and zipper, plus zippered side pockets and a barrel toggle drawstring waist. Available in three colors (charcoal shown), sizes S-3X.