Products - Hard Work

Looking For A Unique Wearable Category To Pitch? Check Out Workwear

WorkwearIn a world where technology is evolving at a rapid rate, the apparel industry is certainly keeping up with the quick expansions. New material technologies have caused companies to focus on the functionality of a garment. And when it comes to functional apparel, the workwear industry is a front runner.

"Workwear is not really focused on style so the trends are in improving functionality," says Fred Haws, president and owner of Carhartt Workwear & Haws USA, Inc. (asi/43861). "We're seeing new technologies coming into the arena that focus on durable and rugged materials that have technology built in at the performance level."

Remaining informed and up to date on these new technologies, as well as the rapidly-changing regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), is essential to success for distributors. Currently, flame-resistant and high-visibility apparel are the most important focus of workplace safety apparel.

"OSHA is considering adding flame-resistant regulations on any plant located in a building that accumulates dust," says Don Grissman, president of Midwest Workwear (asi/71127). "Most of them do, so flame resistance is now the hottest clothing category in the industry."

With the current rise in gas and oil drilling, the best market to target for regulated workwear is the energy supply industry. These companies require uniforms that are extremely durable, functional and up to regulatory standards. When pitching prospects in this sector, focus on the tech-enhanced functionality of the garments and emphasize how it meets ever-evolving workplace standards. Furthermore, suggest incorporating the apparel as part of reward programs for workers.

"An example would be offering a branded jacket as a reward," says Haws. "Let's say the goal is to reach 200 injury-free days. Once the goal is reached, all team members receive a jacket imprinted with the company logo and ‘200 days injury-free' embroidered on it."

Workwear sales are like most others in the sense that you'll be most successful if you focus on fulfilling the needs of each client efficiently and generating for them the kind of ROI they desire. "In the workwear industry," says Haws, "companies are concerned about the fines that will accrue if their uniforms don't meet strict regulations. Providing quick, timely service is essential when selling workwear."