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Parkex Exhibition – What are the benefits?

david and president of parking association

David Barry with the President of the Parking Association

Parkex 2011 was a fantastic success for exhibitors this year, and we thought it’d be worth highlighting the importance of such events in the business calendar.

First, I’m sure visitors and exhibitors alike would agree that to be able to meet clients and suppliers from the same industry – both potential and existing – all under one roof at the same time is worth the price of entry alone. It gives the opportunity to catch up with people in person that you might not otherwise get to see, to consolidate existing working relationships and form new ones.

Second, exhibitions like Parkex break up the working routine, taking staff out of their usual office environment and bombarding them with information, people and ideas which have an energising effect that can last for months. We’re sure that inspiration and innovation is at a high after Parkex for everyone in our industry.

Third – you can be nosy! Check out what the competition are doing, learn something new, consider new markets, think about what good ideas can be transferred from other markets to your own.

Parkex visitors - Uganda Taxi men - smiley

Our Uganda Taxi Men Visitors

Parkex can bring up opportunities you didn’t even know existed, such as the two gentlemen from Uganda Taxi Company who visited our stand this year!

At Parkex the exhibitors really do pull out all the stops – demonstrating their latest innovations, and even offering special deals or free trials to visitors. I for one can’t wait for next year!

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Day Three: The Strider – Keltic’s Last Stand!

Magnum Boots

The new alternative to Hi Tec magnum boots – our exclusive Magnum Strider

On the final day of Parkex, we’ve built on the success of our first two days, making the most of having Neal from Magnum on hand to demonstrate our exclusive new magnum shoe, an adaptation of the classic magnum boot, ideal for staff who do a lot of walking.  Armed with a water tank and a spray gun full of “nasties” we’ve been demonstrating its water resistant properties, chucking all sorts of liquids at it – and because of the Strider’s water-repellent ion mask coating, they were just running off – no match for the mighty Strider!

We’ve also had test data available to show how much more durable the Strider is than its nearest (and more expensive) competitor. The Strider came about by our exclusive partnership with Magnum, a leading brand of security and safety footwear. Magnum boots are renowned for being high quality footwear among wearers, but there was a gap in the market for a highly durable walking shoe alternative. Parking staff who can pound the pavements for up to 12 miles a day, and end up with very sore feet if they’re wearing the wrong footwear.  We’ve filled this gap by taking a walking shoe which Magnum make for postmen, and giving it a smarter more “uniform” appearance.

The response we’ve had on day three says it all – we’ve taken a record number of orders for Magnum footwear, and are in danger of selling out! We think it’s the unrivalled combination of durability, water resistance, breathability and comfort that have made the Strider such a hit. That and Neal’s winning way with the water tank! Thanks for everyone who stopped by our stand – it’s been a blast!

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Day Two: The return of the Infamous Patrol Cap

Uniform Caps

Uniform Caps go down well with Jedi Knight

Day two at Parkex brings the return of our well dressed friends – a surprise visit from the Jedi Knight and an X-Fighter Pilot, who took a real shine to one of our new products.

The pair showed off our patrol cap, which combines the classic uniform hats with the casual baseball cap to form a happy medium. The classic hat can prove uncomfortable, old fashioned, heavy and sweaty, but the baseball cap is seen by most as a step too far in the casual stakes. By combining the two the patrol cap provides a new innovation to uniform headwear.

Uniform Hat

Keltic Hat suits X Fighter at Parkex

The Patrol Cap is made from highly breathable, water-resistant, quick-drying fabric and is much lighter in weight and more flexible. This provides more comfort for the wearer and provides more protection against the elements. The style has been modernised too, with a more sophisticated, slimmer profile and a slightly smaller non-shiny fabric peak. Due to its modernised appearance, this also provides a uniform hat suitable for both male and female staff for a unified look.

Check back tomorrow for our final day, who could we meet next?

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Day One: Keltic take Parkex by Storm

Our first day at Parkex has been the best so far; who would have thought getting a parking uniform could be so exciting! We’ve had the most visitors to our stand and a tremendous response to our new innovations the magnum strider and patrol cap.  To showcase our parking attendant uniforms in this way allows us to interact with our valued customers and invite new potential customers to view exciting new products and meet the team.

There were lots of interesting sights around on day one- including people dressed in bright coloured body stockings and the cast of star wars including Princess Leia but sadly no Chewbacca. The storm troopers even stopped by our stand to check out our parking uniforms. Perhaps we’ll do a limited edition White magnum strider just for them!

Check back tomorrow for an update on day two. Anything could happen!

Parking unforms on the Keltic stand at Parkex

Parking enforcement uniforms go down a Storm

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A rainbow of Uniform Wear at Parkex

Any colour as long as it’s black. Henry Ford was talking about the motorcar but there was a time when the same principle applied to parking uniform wear –­ drab navy blues or blacks were the norm with pseudo-police styling. Well that’s all changed.  Civil enforcement officers are now patrolling our streets in rainbow colours in a move designed to counteract the public perception that they are hiding in the shadows waiting to jump out and issue a ticket.

At Keltic, we’ve had a big hand in this change. We supply over 200 local authority parking departments and private parking contractors with uniform clothing, making us by far the UK’s No 1 supplier. Our Patrol Range offers 30 colours from stock, so that customers can bespoke their uniforms and give them an extra bit of panache. And importantly, they can do that from the stock range which means it is quick and easy to put a uniform together without the hassle of minimum orders. We will be showing a wide range of these colours at Parkex next week.  

unform clothing

See colourful uniform wear at Parkex 2011

We offer a complete range of uniform clothes for the parking industry, kitting out CEOs from head to toe.  Highlighted on our stand at Parkex will be the new Magnum Strider shoe, the UK’s first shoe designed specifically for CEOs.  The Magnum Strider is lightweight, durable, EN-certified for slip-resistance, breathable and water-resistant.  Its revolutionary ion-mask technology actually repels water and, if you want to see for yourself just how effective it is, we are water-testing the Magnum Strider shoe on our stand.

We look forward to meeting all our valued customers on our stand next week!

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Staffordshire PCSO’s issued with stab vest protection

PCSO in stab vests

PCSO in a Stab Vest

Police community support officers have a role that is distinct from police special constables, community wardens and traffic wardens – their job is to support the police specifically in issues affecting the community’s quality of life e.g. antisocial behaviour. It’s unfortunately indicative of the growing violence in society that PCSO’s in Staffordshire will this month be wearing stab vests for the first time according to the BBC .

Understandably, some of the PCSO’s involved feel that this presents the wrong image.  However there are stabvests on the market that are more subtle so it’s not immediately obvious that the wearer is wearing a stab vest. I also think that there’s an expectation these days that police-related authority figures will be wearing stab vests – the public understand that there’s a growing minority of criminals out there who do present a risk, and the police and PCSO’s who put themselves in harms way need to be protected accordingly.

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How to care for your uniforms

The current economic climate makes us all tighten our belts, and that includes when it comes to corporate clothing. Here are our top 6 tips on how to keep costs low and save money on your uniforms and make them last!

  1. Shirts – Don’t boil-wash your shirts! Sounds funny but this is a common occurrence causing shrinking, loss of buttons and all sorts of other problems. Modern washing powders allow for clean results at 40 degrees or less, so there’s no excuse for shrinking your shirt to the size of a teddy bear’s!
  2. Jumpers and Knitwear – turn inside out before washing to prolong the life of the garment and the key is to allow it to dry flat naturally. Tumble drying can cause shrinkage and wringing out can stretch the garment out of shape if done too vigorously. We’ve seen some pretty funny shaped jumpers in our time!
  3. Suits – the majority of suits used as staff uniform these days are washable rather than dry clean only. To get the best results use a wash bag. Lay jackets, trousers and skirts in the bag, seal and fold in half. Ensure you wash at the temperature stated on the garment label. To dry, place on hanger, shake gently and reshape by straightening the seams and folding in the creases. Do not tumble dry, just leave to dry naturally and finish with a cool iron over a damp cloth.
  4. Hi Visibility jackets – we advise to wash your jackets a maximum of 10 times so that both the waterproof element of the jacket and reflective tape doesn’t degrade. Allow to dry naturally and wipe clean between washes as necessary to maintain fluorescent qualities.
  5. Embroidered/Printed uniforms – when ironing logos, too much heat can make them fade and pull. To prevent this happening, always iron the garments inside-out.
  6. Alternate regularly – It’s not all about washing and aftercare to make sure your staff uniforms last, it’s also to do with the amount of time you wear the garments, and the amount of time you rest them for. Where multiple shirts, trousers, jumpers etc are issued, alternate them on different days to give the fabric time to recover.

I hope this has been helpful, for further useful advice on this subject just give us a call!

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How to keep your staff warm and dry

Spring is almost here, but you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s still mid-Winter. Spare a thought for the thousands of workers battling with uncertain temperatures such as security guards working nights on frost-ridden sites.

Security workwear

The Keltic Patrol Anorak

For many security guards, icy and cold conditions are a very harsh reality; arctic conditions can make it harder to do their jobs both safely and effectively. The correct security workwear is a key ally against the cold, and choosing the right uniform is essential to ensure staff safety and morale.  Here are our top tips for getting the right security wear to keep your staff warm.

By now we all know that keeping warm is all about layering. The best layer to begin with is thermal t-shirts and long johns, made from technical fabrics to form a strong base layer against the cold. The next should be a quality shirt, with a decent tail to ensure it doesn’t come un-tucked. Team this up with a thick woollen nato jumper or fleece and this provides both warmth and smart looking uniforms.

Correct footwear is key when tackling treacherous conditions – shoes should ideally be water-repellent, quick drying and EN-certified for slip resistance.  Snow grips may also be necessary if conditions are like they were over Christmas!

shooter mittens

Security work wear jackets should conform to the EN343 standards for protection against rain, for certain duties they should also be EN471-certified, and you should consider splashing out on  Reflexite tape for significant health and safety benefits. Waterproof and breathable jacket will be the most important piece of kit you supply for your team- both for keeping your staff warm and dry and also for providing a smart appearance. Many jackets are now commonly available in a number of colours to suit all corporate images. Why not go for something different to the bog-standard yellow, which all and sundry seem to be wearing these days.

fleece scarf
Fleece Scarf

Finally, winter accessories are a great low cost way to combat the cold. Balaclavas, neck warmers, scarves and mittens can be a great boost for cold security guards – and they don’t cost the earth.

We hope this provides some useful information about uniforms suitable for treacherous conditions; we’ll be posting further next month about other ways that uniforms can keep your staff safe, happy and productive.

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Keep a fresh look to your uniforms whilst keeping the costs low

Nowadays, so much of the news about the economy is gloomy. It looks like the recession is here to stay – at least for a while – so we’re all having to work with what we’ve got. Everybody’s feeling the pinch, and this affects all company marketing decisions, whether its advertising budgets, which exhibitions can be dropped this year, or the type of corporate workwear to supply to employees.  Many workwear buyers are searching for something to lift staff spirits and improve brand visibility that doesn’t cost the earth.

There are a growing number of exciting developments in the market, keeping to the lower end of the price scale, but still offering effortlessly smart uniforms for your staff. This season, corporate work wear items such as poloshirts have been refreshed in new colours and designs offering something different whilst still being affordable to all budgets.  Developments such as coloured piping and uplifting up-to-the-minute colour contrasts transform the standard polo shirt to a more attractive alternative.

low cost soft shell fleece

Low Cost Softshell Fleeces

The market has also seen recent fabric developments. It’s very much ‘out with the fleece and in with the soft shell’. Benefits of soft shell (pictured), include the fact that it is shower proof, pill-resistant (doesn’t bobble) and smarter than a fleece, which can look old quite quickly.  Softshell originated in the sportswear market but is now being seen in the workwear and corporate clothing market, worn by staff at all types of organisations, from supermarkets to travel agents.

If there are any questions you have regarding softshell or other fabric developments, just reply to this post and we’ll be glad to share what we know, as always! Have a good week!

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Are uniforms an effective marketing tool? Yes! says new study

Hot on the heels of Louise’s Latest article, Branded corporate clothing made easy, a new American study published in March this year by Suffolk University (Boston, USA) certainly struck a chord.

Research shows that uniforms supplied for your staff with your company branding are a more effective marketing tool than almost all other methods of advertising. This includes not only traditional tools such as newspapers and the yellow pages but crucially (74.4%) of respondents stated uniform programs are more effective than more modern tools such as internet and TV ads. 

This is a very exciting statistic to bear in mind both for companies thinking of providing uniforms for their staff and also for a uniform supplier such as ourselves. By using uniforms as a marketing tool, you are not only saving major costs on advertising through big media, you are also allowing your staff to feel involved in the promotion of your business. The uniform study was based on over 250 questionnaires across a broad range of company sectors, and all those questioned concluded that staff that were regularly observed by the public wearing company uniforms made for a better marketing tool.

I hope this has presented something of interest and given you something new to think about when considering your next uniform design.

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