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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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Park Solve’s New Look

A valued customer of ours has recently started off a new trend with their eye-catching new jackets. Park Solve, who provide off street parking services for the likes of Sainsbury’s and BP have kitted out their staff in our very own Alert Anorak in a very striking royal and navy blue colour. This is part of a new trend to supply staff in bold and striking colours – something a little different from your standard one colour hi vis jacket, showing a divide from the past somewhat dull uniforms to a fresh new outlook and different approach to parking, warden and security uniforms.

Uniforms for Security

Park Solve’s new Security Uniform

Many industries are tending to opt for a different approach, be it matching company colours or simply choosing a colour to differentiate them from similar roles. The colour royal and navy is becoming increasingly popular when it comes to uniforms for security, as has maroon. Many uniform garments such as the Alert Anorak are now adapting to this and introducing additional colours to keep up.

The trend doesn’t just stop here; many companies want to keep the theme running throughout their uniforms security garments such as the nato jumper and company ties are now available in striking new colours such as royal blue to complete the look.

We think Park Solve have come up with a really great uniform design, and other companies are already starting to follow their lead. If you have any comments on your preferred uniform colours, or any of the other points raised in this post, please leave us a comment below.

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Branded corporate clothing made easy

Supplying uniforms for your staff is a great way to achieve a smart appearance, corporate consistency and high staff morale. When wearing uniforms your staff feel valued and part of a team. Why not go one step further and introduce branded wear into the equation?

Embroidered corporate clothing is a great way to logo a variety of staff uniform items from embroidered shirts and embroidered poloshirts to embroidered jackets. Embroidery can either be bold and eye-catching or a subtle affair depending on your preference, both providing a sophisticated and elegant finish to your uniforms. By branding your uniform, as well as creating a great corporate image, you help your customers easily identify your staff.

Further ideas for branding your uniforms would be printing. Printed workwear is ideal for outerwear such as hi viz jackets – however this can peel and show wear over time. For a lasting logo reflective badges are a great alternative.

As well as providing a great image for your organisation, embroidery and printing mean that you avoid the tax implications of providing unbranded clothing. If you want to do this without any obvious branding, then tax tags are for you. Tax tags are a very discreet way of adding logos to your uniform, much like a levis tag on a pair of jeans.

Whichever branding option you prefer these will all create great benefits to both your company and staff. Branding is a popular subject so do check back for further updates!

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Keltic to demonstrate next generation parking uniforms at Parkex

Parkex, Europe’s largest parking exhibition and conference, is always an exciting time of year for us at Keltic. It’s the time when we showcase our latest parking uniform innovations, and even more importantly when we get to meet all our lovely customers and potential customers!

It’s a great opportunity to come together with people you don’t necessarily see during the year, to consolidate existing relationships and build new ones. We’ll be showcasing both our civil enforcement officer uniform innovations (for on street enforcement) and our parking attendant uniform new additions (for off street staff).

First off, we’ll be demonstrating our new Magnum Strider – we’ll be chucking water, chemicals and all sorts of “nasties” at it, to demonstrate its water-repellant hydrophobic technology. We’ll also have data to show how well the Strider performs in comparison to other leading brands in terms of durability and slip-resistance, with reports and pictures from the Health and Safety Executive.

We’ll also be showcasing our Patrol Range – our flagship range of parking enforcement uniforms, which includes our superb lightweight summer range and our Patrol Anorak and Blouson, the most waterproof and breathable parking jackets on the market, available from stock in 30 colours.

Keltic Clothing Parkex Advert

Keltic Clothing Parkex Advert

The other main innovation we will be unveiling is our brand new Patrol Cap. Parking Review recently heralded the 50 year anniversary of the traffic warden – and whilst the rest of the uniform is unrecognisable, the peaked cap has remained unchanged – until now. The Patrol Cap is the next generation peaked cap – lightweight, breathable, waterproof and comfortable. See it for the first time at Parkex 29-31 March. For a sneak peak see our Parkex Ad for information.

At Keltic, we’re so confident in our garments that we can arrange a FREE TRIAL – see our friendly exhibition staff for details. We’re also offering 10% off all first-time orders placed by 30.04.11 – again, please see our exhibition staff for details.

We’re at stand P90 – opposite the restaurant and near the Parkex café. This year we’re encouraging customers to book appointments with myself or our exhibition team, to make sure we get to see everyone – please contact us to arrange your appointment.

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Not quite the ‘Full Monty’

Here at Keltic, we’ve just launched our new paramedic uniform range on our website. We may have a few glasses of wine to celebrate, but we’ll be sure not to be wearing one of our uniforms when we buy it!

A leading supermarket recently refused to serve a paramedic who attempted to buy wine in his uniform, stating that it was company policy. What happened next was quite unexpected – he took off his ambulance uniform and stripped down to his underwear and asked “now will you serve me?”!

This isn’t the first time that paramedic uniforms have hit the news. There have been regular calls by ambulance unions to provide their members with paramedic stab vests – citing the shocking and increasing number of assaults on their staff.

In other paramedic uniform-related news, we were sad to hear that Random Acts of Reality, a Blog based in London, England, written by an E.M.T working for the London Ambulance Service is no more, with the blogger moving on to pastures outside the ambulance sector – best of luck from all at Keltic!

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How to find the ideal suit for your staff

Choosing a suitable corporate suit

So, your boss has given you the task of buying suits for your team? Sounds simple? Well it does to them – they don’t have to navigate the thousands of websites, hundreds of brochures, not to mention tetchy staff who can’t agree on a style! Here are our top tips for picking the right corporate suits for your working environment.

  1. Think about your staff’s job role and work environment.
    If they are receptionists in a five star hotel, looking impeccable at all times will be the foremost priority, so pick the most beautifully cut and fashionable suit, made out of the finest fabrics your budget will allow.If they are porters in the same hotel, or security guards at company offices, or sales representatives that work outside/in and out of cars, this receptionist suit would look awful in a matter of hours and be ruined in a matter of weeks. So go for a more durable suit. Durable suits are usually lower cost because they’re made from less fine fabric and the cut tends to be more simple and less fashion-led.There are ranges that are a happy medium, but the key thing is – choose a company that makes clear the recommended use for each of their suit ranges. All suits look pretty much the same in a brochure or on a website – a uniform suit supplier worth their salt will listen to what your staff are doing and ask about your work environment – otherwise, your nice new suits could look like old dishcloths in no time!
  2. Think about a style suitable for your staff.
    The key thing is to give choice but not too much choice. Speak with your supplier to narrow down the collection based on question 1 which leaves you a small handful of choices. Find the collection with a choice of jackets, trousers and skirts so your staff can select either a 3 button or 2 button jacket, low waist or high waist trouser depending on their personal choice. This ensures a happy medium while still retaining the smart corporate image.
  3. One size doesn’t fit all.
    Check any range you pick includes all the sizes you need for your staff from stock – or if you have staff outside that range, can the same style be made for those staff, so they don’t feel left out

I hope this article has proved useful in your search for your ideal corporate suit. Watch this space for future information on this subject!

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David Barry talks us through recent trends in security clothing

The world of security clothing may be a million miles from the catwalk, but like every type of work wear it has changed and developed over the years, influenced by a number of factors. This blog post takes a look at what those factors are, where we are now, and what we can expect in the future.

Whereas high street fashion takes its cue from celebrity culture and the catwalks of Paris and Milan, security clothes have previously taken their cue from closer to home – the good old English bobby on the beat. In the hit ITV show Heartbeat, actor Nick Berry modelled the archetypal ’60s police uniform, complete with tunic and traditional helmet.

Uniforms vary from force to force, but generally in the late ’70s and ’80s there was a move away from tunics and helmets towards nato jumpers and uniform caps – and again with the security industry followed suit (pardon the pun!).

During the nineties and noughties there has been a move towards fleeces with epaulettes and radio loops. Interestingly, however, security clothing is only just picking up on this development, and the majority of security guards are still wearing jumpers – or suits.

And that’s the other trend – with the retail world developing so much since the days of Heartbeat, the role of security guards and police has diverged further, and now a security guard in a security suit is common in retail, company offices and government buildings.

However, the more casual police-type look of fleece/jumper with police style polywool trousers, smart trousers with combat pockets to store notebooks and similar equipment still prevails as the most popular security clothing. And the tried and trusted security shirt has remained pretty much unchanged over all this time!

Today, the key point of differentiation for the security guard from the police and other personnel is the outer jacket – in the British weather, for security guards that work outside, or do a mix of inside and outside work, this is the face of their company to the public. There is a trend away from the bog-standard yellow hi vis jackets toward different colours of jackets such as blues, maroons, blacks, many of which fit better with company or client colours, and provide differentiation in a crowded marketplace.

Finally, having gone from head to toe, you have the good old police boots. For many years Magnum boots has been the favoured brand. This is still the case, but the trusty Magnum Classic and Magnum Patrol are making way for new alternatives such as the Magnum stealth and Magnum Strider.

We’ll be regularly blogging about the changing face of security clothing so check back for more updates, or sign up to our newsletter to be kept up to date with new developments.

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