Wrinkleless in Time
FROM BIRTH ON, it's pretty hard to avoid the uniform. It begins when you're sitting in the standard hospital bassinet next to a few dozen babies dressed exactly like you, and after that, well, it doesn't really end. School? Good chance of uniforms. Your first job? You better believe there's going to be uniforms. Even after you graduate, with a fancy degree and a sense of individuality and entitlement, there's a reasonable chance that you're going to end up right back where you started: wearing a uniform.
This might be bad news for the contrarian rebel or fashion enthusiast, but for the distributor, knowing that there is a market for uniforms at every stage of life is nothing but good news. Especially since, as Scott Thackston, executive vice president for Mauldin, South Carolina-based Aprons, Etc., pointed out, promotional product distributors are becoming more and more competitive with standard uniform wholesalers. "We've seen over the last five to 10 years with the growth in our industry, the ad speciality distributor is very competitive," said Thackston, adding that distributors' ability to act as a one-stop source of other materials an end-buyer might need, apparel or otherwise, were integral to competition.
How and where to compete, of course, are two different things entirely. Answering the latter question, below are a few age demographics where a distributor can look to make a sale.
Reading, writing and really nice uniforms
Discounting the few days a baby spends matching his or her crib neighbors in the hospital, private or parochial schools mark the true beginning of uniformed life. From skirts and jackets to school colors and embroidery, there are a lot of details for distributors to consider, though the most obvious is perhaps also the most important: this apparel is meant for children. Among other things, this means easy-care fabrics are of great import. Donald Singer, president of Philadelphia-based Executive Apparel, was able to touch on a few points concerning what this means for distributors.