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Promotional Marketing Blog - Insider Info

Aug 24

UPS UniformsYou can communicate a lot about the character of your business with a company uniform. Take the case of the United Parcel Service (UPS). Their distinctive brown uniform is about more than just the colors of the brand. The sturdy, simple styling of the apparel reinforces the delivery company’s image as a reliable, no-nonsense shipping provider, and the prominent embroidered logo makes it clear exactly who they are – every time their driver comes to your door.

Apron UniformWhen choosing apparel for your own company uniform, think about your company’s “personality.” Are you lighthearted? professional? outdoorsy? Select garments consistent with your image and values. Garment style, fabric, color, and decorating techniques all contribute to the character of your uniform. 

Uniform_PoloShirt

Garment Style

Do you want a simple, no-nonsense solid color shirt with minimal detail, or would something with contrasting stitching, trim stripes, or color blocks be more appropriate? Would an industrial look be suitable, or something very fashion forward? Possibly a spa tunic, apron, or even retro 50s bowling shirts would be the right look for your business. It all depends on the type of work that you do, and what “personality” (i.e. brand) you are creating.

Fabric & Color

Different fabrics convey different things, and it's important to find the fabric that best suits your brand. Denim usually evokes a rugged quality, conjuring up images of blue collar workers. High quality cotton or linen with a high threadcount can be used to convey a sense of relaxed luxury. Lycra and other performance fabrics imply an active lifestyle. T-shirts are youthful and rugged. Fine gauge sweaters are more polished and professional than larger cable knits. If your company is environmentally conscious, choose fabrics made from recycled, organic, or sustainably grown fibers. Color choices should be consistent with your branding. If your branding colors are unusual, start by finding out what apparel options are available in your signature shade.

Decorating Techniques

Once the style, fabric, and color of your apparel have been established, it’s time to look at how your logo and other embellishments will be applied. As a rule of thumb, custom embroidery has a more upscale appearance than screen printing. Embroidered patches give a blue collar vibe, while sewing directly on garments is seen as polished and professional. Specialty techniques may be considered as well. For example, your logo could be done in rhinestones or glitter ink for a glamorous touch. Leather can be debossed. Fleece can be laser engraved. Digital printing inks are water based and environmentally friendly.

 

Keep the personality of your business in mind throughout the selection process, and you’ll end up with a company uniform that works well, promotes your brand, and communicates just the right message to everyone who encounters you!

Aug 09

Company apparel is sometimes seen as just another cost of having employees. But savvy business owners know that employees’ shirts are a great marketing vehicle. Custom embroidered company uniforms are walking billboards, and when done right, serve to increase the perceived value of your brand. Our last post discussed four very specific factors to consider in order to choose the perfect shirt from the huge variety of available options. Now let’s examine some additional “big picture” factors to think about when choosing company uniforms. 

Demands of the company workplace

Think about what conditions your uniforms have to stand up to, how often they will be worn (how long they have to last), and how they will be laundered. Do your shirts need to repel spills, or have moisture wicking properties? Do they need to stand up to an industrial laundry service? If employees will be responsible for washing them, consider wrinkle resistant fabrics since not everybody loves to iron. 

Expected life of the uniform

An appropriate upfront investment in a higher quality garment will save money in the long run *if* the apparel will be worn repeatedly over a period of time. Similarly, it might make sense for a company with high turnover or a seasonal employer to get a more economical shirt with a shorter expected life. In short, consider the “expected life” of your uniform. Don’t overspend on shirts for one-time or short term use. Uniforms that will be worn for a one-time event don’t need to be nearly as durable as apparel that will be worn every day for a year. Invest in quality for shirts that will be worn daily. This will avoid you having to reorder frequently or risk having employees looking shabby.

Where your uniforms will be seen

Do you need your people to stand out in a crowded room? Choose brighter colors, and avoid the common colors of navy, black, tan and white, that tend to blend into the crowd. If you work formal events, a more subtle, appearance is appropriate – that’s not time or place to “shout” your company information out with huge neon lettering all over the front and back of your uniform shirts. If you serve a more youthful demographic, be sure your uniforms have youthful styling. Think about what assumptions people will make about your company when they see your people in uniform.  Perception is powerful – put it to work for you!    

Industrial workshirts, dressy button down shirts, casual island shirts, and traditional polo shirts or t-shirts can all be used to create great custom company uniforms – but it’s important to choose a look that’s consistent with your branding and appropriate for the types of work your employees do. EmbroidMe San Diego’s Balboa Avenue showroom contains hundreds of garments that you can touch and feel, and we’ll be happy to work with you to find the look that works just right for your business.

Be sure to check out some more tips on choosing company uniforms!

How to Choose Company Shirts

// posted by Cam Schultz

Aug 03

Four Factors to Consider When Choosing Company Shirts

Company Shirts -PolosAt EmbroidMe San Diego, we often tell our customers that company shirts can fit just about any budget. We can say that because we work with over 50 different shirt vendors, which means plenty of shirts to choose from. With so many choices you’d think finding the perfect one would be easy. The variety, however, can sometimes create mental gridlock. To make things simple, we recommend thinking about how your shirts will be used, then consider the four essential factors, namely: color, fabric, imprint method, & size.

Color

Company Tshirts - Colors

Color has to be a primary consideration when choosing company shirts. Brand recognition can be increased up to 80% just by using color. So don’t automatically choose shirts in a neutral color just because it displays your logo nicely. It often works best to pick shirts that ARE one of your key branding colors. Having the whole shirt be your brand color makes you much more noticeable. And don’t worry; we’ve got lots of tricks for making your logo show up.

Fabric

Think carefully about what people will be doing while wearing your company shirts, and what your requirements are. This will guide your choice of fabrics. Still one of the most popular choices, 100% cotton is breathable, comfortable, lightweight, and cool, perfect for warm San Diego weather. But, there are some downsides to consider: faster fading (dark colors), and more prone to wrinkling.

An alternative to 100% cotton is as equally popular cotton/polyester blend. Its advantages over cotton include durability and being less prone to fading and wrinkling. Cotton/poly blend shirts tend to be slightly less expensive than 100% cotton.

Performance fabrics are a popular choice for the golf course and more active use. Moisture-wicking and extremely breathable, they make ideal material for athletic and outdoor wear. Some are even treated with UV protection and/or anti-microbial agents. They don't require much care and are machine-washable. With ease, however, comes a higher price tag.

Finally, there are eco-friendly fabrics. These are fabrics, such as, organic cotton and bamboo. No chemicals or pesticides are used in producing these. Some eco-friendly fabrics are even made from recyclable materials like shirts, jeans, and plastic bottles.

Imprint Method

Company Shirts - TshirtsImprinting is how your logo is applied to create a company shirt. There are four popular imprint methods: embroidery, applique, screen printing, and digital printing. Embroidery and appliqué last much longer than screen printing or digital printing, and have the highest perceived value. Embroidery stitches the logo onto a shirt, offering a more professional feel and higher perceived value. Appliqués sew patches of felt or twill onto a shirt to create a design, and are most often found on letterman jackets and custom sweatshirts. Screen printing uses ink to print a logo. It can handle shading and gradient detailing. It's also the most economical method for large quantities, but often requires higher minimum orders than the other decoration techniques. Digital prints are applied using water-based and eco-friendly inks. Digital prints are softer and more natural-feeling than screen prints. If this all seems too confusing, don’t worry. At EmbroidMe San Diego, we do all types of imprints, and are happy to advise which method is the best fit for your needs.

Size & Style

Finally, think of the sizes & styles you will need for your company. Do you need to outfit both men and women? Many shirts come in companion male & female styles. What size ranges do you need to accommodate?  Some shirt lines are available up to 6XL, but many only go to 2XL.  Do you need youth sizes in a style that coordinates with the adult shirts? 

Think about “your look.” When your employees wear your company shirt, they are representing you to the public. Their look is part of your branding. Do you want to look casual in an island shirt, buttoned down in a dress shirt, ready to get your hands dirty in a t-shirt, or something in between?  

 Company Shirts - Tanks

Whatever your look, your branding colors, and your budget, we’re happy to help you cut through the clutter to find the best options for your company.  Contact us today for a free consultation or visit the EmbroidMe San Diego showroom on Balboa Avenue to check out sample shirts.

Embroidery Through The Ages

// posted by Cam Schultz

Jul 28

Historic Embroidery

At EmbroidMe San Diego, custom embroidery is serious business. We love translating your business logo into thread. Today any small business can create their own branded uniform with custom embroidery. But it hasn’t always been that way. For our inaugural blog post, we thought it would be fun to take a look at the history of embroidery -- an art with roots in ancient times.

There is a lot of evidence of the early existence of embroidery. If you took an art history class, you probably studied classic vases from ancient Greece. But did you realize that the Greeks portrayed on those vases are (semi!)clothed in embroidered garments – the height of the 6th and 7th century BC fashion? Similarly, Egyptian tomb art from the time of the Pharaohs shows clothing, seat coverings, and other garments decorated with embroidery. Today China is still famous for the fine art quality of hand sewn silk embroidery, but early examples can be traced to the period 618 AD to 907 AD, during the Tang Dynasty. Some of the earliest surviving embroidery is from the Scythians, around the 5th and 3rd centuries B.C.

Embroidery evolved as a form of art and fashion, but it sometimes also served to capture history. One of the greatest, and probably most popular embroidered works of all time, is the Bayeux Tapestry. Produced in the Middle Ages, the tapestry depicts events that led up to the Norman Invasion of Britain and the Battle of Hastings in 1066. I recently found a video on YouTube that animates the famous embroidered tapestry – check it out.

Historically, embroidery was all hand work, and highly labor intensive. But in the early 1800s, shuttle embroidery transformed the industry through mechanization. A hand embroidery machine invented by Joshua Heilmann, kicked off a series of events that led to the birth of sewing machines and hand powered embroidery looms in the 1860s and 1870s, respectively. In the latter parts of the 20th century, computer aided sewing and embroidering machines were developed, allowing faster processing and mass production. For a peak inside a French factory that has been producing embroidery thread since 1746, click here.

Embroidery has developed over the years with more sophisticated designs, patterns and methods – and faster methods of production. It is continuously growing as an amazing form of art, while at the same time, becoming more accessible to the general public. No longer only within the reach of the wealthy, embroidered garments are now mass produced and offered for sale in retail stores. Businesses use custom embroidered uniforms as an integral part of their branding strategy. Look around – you’ll see embroidered apparel everywhere!

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