Get Out There With Rugged and Outdoor Items
The rugged and safety apparel market no longer is reserved for distributors who enjoy getting their hands dirty. The sectoractually is experiencing tremendous growth. According to Sandler Research, the global safety apparel market is expected to grow 8.12 percent by 2020. This spells major dollar signs for your business, and with the right information at your fingertips, you could become a rugged and safety gear expert. To help you navigate, we spoke to Craig Smith, vice president of sales for Rugged Outfitters, Park Ridge, N.J.; and John Perez, marketing associate for Tri-Mountain, Irwindale, Calif., for six tips to make the most of your rugged and safety apparel promotions.
1. Take Advantage of Timing
Now is the right moment to bet big on rugged and safety apparel, according to Smith.
“Construction and workwear is a very large growing industry right now,” he said. “The government is pushing for infrastructure work, so this area will continue to boom for the next few years. When it comes to flame-resistant workwear, many of the oiling companies are starting to drill again, so this will take off this fall.”
2. Give The People What They Want
When it comes to rugged and safety gear, it’s important to listen to the end-user’s needs. Perez suggested a few tried-and-true specs you need to keep in mind.
“Comfort, warmth and durability,” he said. “What else would you want in a work jacket? We encourage distributors to order samples and take them out to customers. Have them try it on, check out the stitching, let them see how our apparel is built and how it’ll hold up in the field.”
Smith pointed out a few more characteristics to consider for your rugged and outdoor promotions. “[Look for] garments that hold up, value in what you purchase, water-resistant fabrics and washed fabrics that move with ease,” he said.
Above all, however, quality reigns supreme. Both Smith and Perez agreed that quality is very important to any rugged or safety apparel item. These items have to be durable. They need to last.
In addition to specific features, consider the seasons when pitching certain products to your clients.
“Summertime [is best for] high-visibility safety vests and tees, and fall [is best for] sweatshirts and jackets,” Smith said. “Workwear is worn all year long, but sweatshirts and jackets start moving in the fall months.”
3. Go With The Name Brand
Consumers tend to gravitate toward names they know and trust, and the same holds true for rugged and safety gear. As a result, Smith has witnessed success using a top name-brand company.
“The leading brand in the industry is Carhartt,” he said. “The demand for Carhartt right now is greater than ever. They make premium quality garments that every blue collar/outdoor enthusiast wants to wear. Carhartt garments with a branded logo are worn multiple times more than non-branded workwear garments.”
4. Sell To The Right Markets
To successfully execute a rugged and safety apparel promotion, it’s imperative that you understand the business landscape. There is endless selling potential, if you know which markets to target.
“There is quite a large market for this type of apparel,” Perez said. “Think about all the hardworking men and woman who work outdoors in cold, outdoor climates, like the logging industry as a perfect example. Another target market is dockworkers. There are many others, but I’m thinking mostly of those areas in the northern part of the U.S., on the coasts, where temps are low and the climate can get pretty harsh.”
Smith provided construction, roofing, plumbing, contractors and paving as other industries to pitch outdoor and rugged apparel to.
5. Capitalize On Repeat Orders
One of the best parts about rugged and safety promotions is the potential for repeat orders. To ensure you build lasting client relationships, and take advantage of the repeat business, Perez offered a few tips.
“Building a great relationship and maintaining great customer service helps,” he said. “But so do things like quality and pricing. The jacket will speak for itself. Also, making sure to understand the customer’s needs. For example, we offer big and tall sizing in our workwear jackets. This is important [because] some of these hardworking guys wearing these jackets are big guys, and they’ll need those extended sizing options."
6. Know The Regulations
When selling rugged and outdoor gear, you must know the regulations for each industry.
“With high visibility [gear], [distributors] need to know if they need class two or class three—this is based on the job, and what type of reflective taping is required,” Smith said. “For flame-resistant garments, there are different levels of protection called HRC ratings and Calorie ratings.”