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4. They are functional, consumable and growing in popularity.
"Besides a good media for promotional purpose, safety products are functional (good for everyday use) and mostly consumable (good for repeat orders)," Xiao explained. Though safety vests are not as integral to the promotional industry as pens or T-shirts, they have a steady place because of repeat orders, and those orders are growing. "As more and more distributors realize safety gear/work wear products can make good promotional items, the exposures of these items to end-users will increase, and thus demand of promotional safety products will be on the way up," Xiao said.
5. Everything is imprintable.
Safety accessories like glasses, gloves and hard hats can easily be imprinted, and so can their apparel counterparts. "Screen imprint is the most popular imprint method," Xiao noted. "It is more flexible in size and color, and normally the most economic way for decoration." He added that pad prints are also popular for safety glasses and hard hats. For apparel, Perez and Xiao mentioned embroidery, though it does have limitations. "Embroidery can be used for apparel, it gives the item higher perceived value, but logo size is normally limited and cost is much higher," Xiao said. Perez championed heat presses for safety wearables. "We like heat transfer using 3M Scotchlite reflective material," he said. "Heat transfer, in general, is cheaper than screen printing and very durable. In terms of design, you also can use a variety of colors, incorporate lots of detail, gradients and so many other things that are not possible with screen printing or embroidery," he added.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
1. Durable materials.
Long-lasting materials are important for gear that is meant to keep workers injury-free, but not every material that touts durability will work. You need to know which materials are right for which products. Xiao listed the top materials for safety wear. "Cowhide leather and canvas are most popular for gloves, polyester mesh materials are most popular for safety apparel, polycarbonate lens is good for safety glasses, while high-density polyethylene is good for safety hard hats," he said. Perez added a few more and offered an example. "For safety wear, polyester oxford woven fabrics work best and can be found in our 8980 Industry (pictured right)," he said. He also mentioned cotton canvas woven fabrics as good for outdoor rugged wear.
2. Tech-heavy items.
We don't mean tech like tablets and MP3 players, but moisture-wicking, waterproofing and anti-microbial technology. They ensure rugged gear will last longer and through inclement weather conditions. "These advancements in fabric help workers to maintain a comfortable body temp throughout the work day and equally important, get home at the end of the day not completely drenched in sweat or smelling unpleasant," Perez explained. Xiao mentioned flame-retardant apparel as another go-to for the safety market. "Fabric with flame-retardant treatment may be a good feature for some working environments, like welding," he said.