personal branding

Is price really the most important consideration in uniform procurement?

Recently on a visit to my local pathology clinic for a routine blood test, I got talking to the nurse who was on duty about her uniform, as it was a garment that I recognized well.

I asked her if she was happy with the style, which then started a whole discussion around how their uniforms were ordered and supplied.

As it turned out, she wasn’t overly happy, and explained how the process of ordering was remote, there had been no samples for her to try, and so when her uniform arrived, she found it was too tight and short in the arm.

Now it is a fact that many women don’t like their arms showing, and will avoid having to wear anything that is sleeveless or short sleeved if they have aging, exceptionally thin or large arms. A ¾ sleeve is much more flattering and allows the wearer to feel confident and not self-conscious.

When I informed her it was available in a ¾ sleeve, she just looked at me somewhat annoyed and then proceeded to show me how she had altered the garment in order to extend the arms. She had cut around the hemline to add length to each sleeve, thereby changing the whole look of the garment.Was this acceptable? She didn’t know, all she wanted was to feel good in what she had to wear to work.

I am sure there are many women in a range of industries, who are wearing garments that they wouldn’t be seen dead in if they had the choice.

The point I am making is, where in the procurement process do you consider whether your staff will be happy in the garments you decide to implement as standard uniform?

When does price override the emotional pride an employee will feel when they dress in a uniform that actually looks good, performs well and compliments their body shape and proportions?

Considering there are numerous reports and studies that support the notion that what you wear has a direct correlation to not only how you are perceived by others, but also how you perform, how a company can choose a range of garments that will de-motivate staff, and portray a less than acceptable image to their customers is beyond comprehension.

If an employee doesn’t want to be seen in their uniform because of how it looks and fits, what’s the result? They might choose to not wear it at all and replace it with any old shirt or top, or wear it begrudgingly. In both of these scenarios, your brand is left open, compromised and vulnerable to misrepresentation of the values and image you really want to communicate.

Another result is, they might leave, resentful that there is no care and consideration to what they have to wear for work, meaning you lose a valued employee and have to incur the costs of rehiring which everyone knows is substantial.

Are the savings you make on price really worth it in the long run when the staff is reluctant to wear the uniform at all?

Working with a professional who understands style, image and how women in particular actually feel about what they wear can help you design a wardrobe of functional, safe, stylish and practical garments that will accommodate the varying shapes and sizes of your staff, keep them happy, proud to dress for work, and project the corporate image you are seeking to communicate and grow your business.

Your investment in taking time to fully appreciate and evaluate this element of uniform procurement and rebranding will give you a far greater return in the long term with a great looking professional team, positive culture and quality staff that are attracted to a company that cares about its people who are the life and blood of your business.

If you want to explore and evaluate how your company can employ a more effective uniform solution to further benefit your staff and brand, contact me now at julie@corporateapparelsolutions.com.au

7 advantages of adopting a corporate dress code for your office

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With the relaxing of rules surrounding what and what not to wear to work, it is any wonder that people are questioning whether there are in fact, advantages for adopting a dress code for the office at all.

A report out last week on the new dress code filtering through Wall Street suggests that the tie is on the way out, and even jeans and sneakers are allowed.

Having spent my whole career dressing for success and educating others how to do the same, I find this an interesting phenomena and trend.

I call it a trend, because we don’t know for sure if it is going to last, however, I do see the trend emerging for more flexibility in how dress codes are applied.

I certainly feel that there are clear advantages to adopting some form of corporate dress code policy even if the standards are being lowered a little to be more causal. Let me explain.

  1. First Impressions are so important

What you wear can have powerful effects on how other people feel, think and behave towards you. It goes without saying then that you become what you wear and it can also be your visual resume. If you want others to like you trust you and do business with you, best to create the right first impression from the outset. A dress code policy spells out what’s expected of you to create powerful first impressions for your role and the company you work for.

  1. Reputation

Different industries have different identities, and as consumers we learn to expect different codes of conduct, communication styles and acceptable forms of dress from individuals who work in those industries. It allows us to feel comfortable with whom we are doing business.  A dress code policy can help individuals leave lasting impressions too that help build a solid reputation.

For example, we expect lawyers to dress in dark suits, advertising executives to dress more casually, a nurse to dress in appropriate healthcare uniform, and our dentist to be wearing a white tunic.

  1. Trust

When there are variances to normal anticipated and expected dress codes your clients could feel somewhat nervous and cautious meaning it could take more time to build trust and rapport.Dressing appropriately can expedite the relationship you are seeking to create, which can significantly impact your bottom line results.

  1. Credibility

The dress code changes on Wall Street, in what is traditionally a professional and conservative industry is interesting. Removing a tie can open the way to easier conversation, but I am not sure how I would feel about going in to apply for a loan from a banker who was wearing jeans and sneakers. I would be questioning whether he was serious, and properly qualified.

  1. Respect

We all want to feel valued and know that people you meet and do business with have considered how to dress for the occasion; based on the relationship they have with you, where you are meeting and what the purpose of the meeting is. It’s just common etiquette. Everyone you meet should feel like you value and respect their time and reason for meeting.

  1. Equality and inclusiveness

A corporate dress code policy eliminates competition amongst coworkers for who’s wearing the best fashion trends, keeps business as business and ensures that the integrity of your corporate brand is maintained. Having an acceptable, non discriminatory dress code policy that outlines what’s expected of everyone in in relation to appearance promotes equality and feelings of inclusiveness.

There is nothing worse than an office whose workers are more focused on what they wear to work than the job at hand.

  1. Brand recognition

Probably more for a company that adopts a uniformed approach, but even without a uniform, a dress code policy can truly allow your staff to know and appreciate how to dress to reflect the corporate brand, and its values.

PwC has the right attitude, having recently relaxed their dress code policy but with guidelines for their staff to ‘dress in a way that is respectful to the company client and colleagues, and is safe and appropriate for the environment they are in.’

Many might argue that having to follow a corporate dress code restricts their ability to express their personality and sense of style, and inhibits their creativity and ability to communicate.

Wrong!

There are so many choices available to dress well and achieve your personal and professional goals even within a formal dress code policy framework.

My answer is to seek out and explore the benefits of working with a properly trained image consultant who can guide you to understand how to dress to make the most of your personal attributes and create a truly professional look that cultivates success.

Its not that hard and the results might surprise you!

Is your corporate image and presentation affecting your bottom line earnings

Is your corporate image and presentation affecting your bottom line earnings?

Your corporate image and how you present can seriously affect your bottom line. It can also attract new clients, shareholders and future quality employees.

How you present sums up everything about your company, its values, mission and the very reason it exists. It communicates a very clear message about who you are, what you stand for, and what can be expected when we do business with you and your staff.

Customers like to buy from companies that are like them, that share similar standards and self-image. No one likes to downgrade to a product or service they perceive inferior to what they believe they are worth.

In the health care industry in particular, the image your company portrays will help you position your business for continued success in a market that is about to experience even higher levels of competition than it does now.

With consumers entering the aged care market ultimately having the final say in where they would like to be cared for, how your facility and its staff present is the first and most powerful factor that can influence their initial impression.

Your reputation and level of client care is what is will enforce the initial impression and help build the trust and confidence families look for in an aged care facility.

In addition, a positive and professional image will attract investors and quality staff who are looking for high performance careers in a quality establishment.

Many facilities are now projecting a 5 star approach, similar to luxury hotels and resort locations.

Are you living up to the 5 star experience?

Take a look in the mirror through the eyes of your customer.  Does your brand present well? What does your appearance communicate to your customer?   High value, trust, and confidence? Or, low quality, low value, and second-rate service?

Does the current appearance of your corporate image position you positively in the mind of your customer. Even the tiniest flaw can seriously impact the impression your clients have of your business and consequently whether they want to do business with you at all.

Investing in a corporate image makeover, refresh, or revisiting your dress code policy can go a long way to protecting your bottom line. Think of it as an insurance towards sustainable success.

Submit your details for a corporate image overview by clicking here.

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5 tips on how to wear your uniform so that it doesn’t wear you

One of the most common complaints by employees in uniform is that it just doesn’t suit them, Wearing your uniform so that it doesn’t wear you is not that hard. Fitting in to a organisation while standing apart is an important consideration if you want to be noticed for the right reasons. It’s also an element of communicating your personal style.

To avoid feeling like you are just another number in the company or have faded into the too-routine conundrum, it’s worth doing some sartorial introspection and self-evaluation.

Start by considering why you are working for that company. What attracted you to them, was it their vision, values, the appearance of the facility or establishment where you work? Or was it the people?

All these factors will come into play when determining how you are going to wear your uniform. Because there is a difference between you wearing a garment authentically, and the garment wearing you so that you really do just disappear into the background.

Get to the root of why you are there, your passion and purpose for your job and the company you work for.  Even in uniform, true style is all about revealing yourself and letting your light shine.

This may seem like a tall order or it might seem ridiculous but stay with me. As you go through my five steps don’t feel pressured to tick every single one off your list, try a couple and see what amazing changes it can bring you. Being stylish in uniform doesn’t mean having the most expensive garments.

True style means expressing yourself as a authentic and unique being so that you come across as competent, confident, professional and attractive to your clients, management and peers.

It is after all, about helping you succeed.

1. Be the leader

  • It’s not always about what the uniform is like (athough that does help).If you are confident in your personal style awareness, you can wear anything well. Own it. Love it. Live it. More often than not, it’s the unexpected that will get you noticed. Being confident in what you wear shows off  your vibrant personality, which is definitely a good thing.
  • Be inspired. If you have a colleague who always looks amazing in her uniform, take notice of how she wears it, what makes her look so amazing that has you noticing and take noted for yourself.

2. Fit is everything- make the most of your age and shape

Great style always starts with discovering and then mastering the styles that best suit your shape and age. When you realize what style works for your shape and age, embrace it. Then look at your uniform and identify what you can do to wear it in a way that celebrates your personal style attributes.

Invest in alterations to ensure that you look your best in your uniform. When it comes to alterations, a little goes a long way. Taking in the waist or adjusting the hem can make the world of a difference in making you look more polished and pulled together.

Research has shown that your mood can be seriously affected by what you wear, so if you don’t try to look great in your uniform, that’s only going to affect your whole appearance, and how others perceive you, which isn’t going to help you get ahead.

3. Be a Head of the Rest

  • Consider this. Anything around your head, hair, makeup and eyewear, will be noticed first so make them count. These are three things that are worth spending time on to get high-quality results, even if it is for work.
  • Cheap eyewear isn’t just sartorially disappointing. It may end up damaging your eyes too. Take your time in selecting frames that are both chic and fits properly with your face shape.
  • We all can’t afford a blow out everyday, or is it appropriate for the work you do, sometimes you just need to get it out of the way.

You can however, keep it clean and in good condition, and that means maintaining your colour if you have foils or full tint. There’s nothing more ageing that grey roots.

  • Good skin care is paramount. Even the most expert application and the best makeup products cannot conceal bad skin. Your skin is everything. So remember, always remove your makeup at the end of the day and never ever leave the house without sunblock on.
  • As for makeup, choose a feature you love to highlight and stick with that as your signature. For days when you’re hectic, do the basic, you’’ll feel better when you see your reflection and your clients will notice too. Even the smallest amount of mascara, brow colour if you need it and colour on the lips can make all the difference, despite the demands of your job telling you you don’t need it. This is about your self esteem and helping you feel great!

4. Watch your Body Language

Complete your new found corporate style with the attitude to match. Walk, sit and gesture with confidence. No outfit or uniform is complete without the confidence and bravado of the woman wearing it. Even the smartest uniform will go to waste if one looks grouchy or acts like a wallflower. So hold your head high ladies, you now have the outer beauty and style to perfectly match your inner essence.

Take these simple tips from TED on how to subtly convey confidence in your posture everyday.

5 WAYS.. IMAGE

5. Watch your language

In this world of social media, is it any wonder how some people have lost the art of communication and speaking clearly, to the point where I could question whether clients understand you at all sometimes, or vice versa.

The casual insertion of slang and lazy words can often make your conversation jointed, and difficult to follow, meaning your reputation can be tarnished or worse still, lost business purely because you were not clear and understood.

Face to face communication and conversation empowers you to not only establish your credibility and knowledge, but gives you the opportunity to establish rapport with your client and encourage her to like, trust and respect you, important if you are serious about building your personal brand.

Are you a person who uses what I call ‘lazy words’ such as ‘like’ ‘you know’ and ‘okay’ in your conversation? It might be appropriate amongst your friends, but in business, people will judge you on not only how you look but also how you sound. Any inconsistency in these elements can cost you dearly.

If you’re wanting to be perceived as a true professional in a highly competitive industry, minding your language and verbal style of communication can significantly elevate you to the top of the class.

So what must you be mindful of in order to get it right?

  • Make sure you pronounce your words clearly. If you are having to recite complex ingredients, learn how to say them properly and explain what they are, in language that your client can understand.
  • Open your mouth when you speak and take time to think about what you are saying. Refrain from using common words that can become habit and demonstrate that you can’t find alternative words to express your thoughts.
  • Speak kindly to others, give compliments and enunciate your words, don’t cut them short, such as dropping the ‘g’ from words that end in ‘ing’.

Remember, people will give up trying to understand you if it sounds alien. It also makes you sound uneducated and then you run the risk of not being taken seriously.

Corporate Apparel Solutions promise an easy way to dress your staff to create the right first impression!

First impressions really do count!

Companies who understand that clients will make a judgment call as to their level of professionalism care and authenticity based on how their staff dress will be the ones that are more successful.

Research has proven that selecting the right uniform not only raises the value of your products and services in your customers minds; it also tells your staff that you value them too.

This will result in greater loyalty, higher self esteem, confidence and increased levels of professionalism.

It is altruism that how your staff looks and feels speak volumes about your corporate values and defining culture. It will add to the impact your company has on potential clients, shareholders and on your ability to attract future quality employees.

Having a uniform is an extension of your brand image and integrity, and can seriously affect your Company’s success.

At Corporate Apparel Solutions we understand that updating a new branded look for companies with sizeable staff is not without its challenges.

If choosing the right style, colour, design, and appearance isn’t enough, then there is the added complexity of functionality, performance and practicality to consider as well as comfort and fit.

Our experience is that this whole process wastes valuable time and resources, and quite often we see that the best result for the company or your staff is still not achieved.

The long term side effects of this long drawn out procurement process can undermine the positive image you have set out to create in the first place.

The good news is selecting the right apparel program doesn’t have to be difficult.

It’s why I have launched Corporate Apparel Solutions. It’s a simple but supreme system that embraces apparel concept, design, manufacture and physical implementation.

Supported with my extensive experience in Image Management and personal styling, Corporate Apparel Solutions promises to deliver expert image advice, superior style, fashion ability and design, fit, functionality, performance, and fulfillment long after the initial concept is agreed upon.

Working with us will ensure your staff are dressed for success, look and feel confident and competent, and showcase the integrity of your Company by what they wear.

With competition in your industry so high and a business environment that doesn’t bear misrepresentation lightly, you must be able to project an image that is not only attractive, but one that communicates excellence, integrity and a positive and professional identity.

That’s what the right Corporate Apparel Solution can do for you.

For a confidential free assessment, call Julie now on 0433114841.

Corporate Apparel Solutions
julie@corporateapparelsolutions.com.au

portrait of vehicle sales team inside car showroom

Choosing the right uniform can lead to greater brand success

Companies that disregard the impact of style and colouring choosing the right uniform just might find they are missing out on significant business, instead of enjoying greater brand success.

Over the years, research has proven that there are strong psychological links to what an individual feel, thinks and acts when they dress a certain way and also in reverse, how they feel, think and act towards someone else who dresses a certain way.

In business, this is critical. Why?

First impressions are the most powerful of all, and can directly influence how quickly a person is able to build rapport and trust with others, thereby encouraging the relationship to move forward.

If you meet someone for the first time and your impression is favourable, for example, they are clean, well groomed, and look like who their name badge says they are, then all is fine.

If however, you have the tiniest doubt that you may not like them, feel uncomfortable, and that they lack credibility because of how they present, then its going to take a lot longer for them to win your respect and confidence.

A uniform is the essential nonverbal, conscious statement that your staff have the skills and knowledge to perform and care.

Now take this theory into aged care, where your clients need to not only feel attracted to your company facilities, they also need to be comfortable with how your staff present and communicate, and this is where the problem lies.

If your staff feel indifferent towards the uniform they are wearing for whatever reason, then they will not wear it well and their level of service can be compromised, again affecting your brand success.  Individuals who know they look good, feel good, and from a self esteem perspective, this does a lot to how they communicate, verbally and non verbally.

“It’s about self esteem – if you feel awkward because something doesn’t fit properly then you’re less likely to be assertive” study from Nursing Times

It might be subtle, but if a woman in her mature years feels that her changing body shape is far from being complimented by what she wears at work, then the chances of her bothering with her personal grooming will also decline.

It’s a similar argument with the colour that she might have to wear. Colour is vitally important to how a person feels, so if someone is wearing a colour that is not complimentary to their skin-tone, they can instantly look older , tired, sick and less intelligent.

Colour affects mood too, so taking time to consider the impact a colour will have on your staff, as well as the clients you serve can go a long way to how you are perceived.

So, imagine that you have a prospective client attend one of your facilities to meet the resident manager or head of staff who is not feeling overly attractive in their uniform, because the style is totally non-flattering and the colour is draining and uninviting. What messages might their body language convey to the client?

One of professionalism, care, pride in the company and what it stands for? Or might the impression they give be one of complacency, lack of attention to detail, lack of care for the way they look?  If it’s the latter, that’s a sure way to lose business from the very clients you need to attract.

Then there’s the matter of attracting and keeping the right staff.

Presenting as a company that truly values its staff with current, stylish, purpose driven and fashion forward uniforms is the best way to stand out as a leader in your field who is committed to excellence.

There’s a difference to applying for a job because its just a job or applying for a position in a company that has strong moral ethics, values and clearly has its staff interests at heart. Individuals looking for good positions apply to companies that have a strong identity that is represented first and foremost through how the staff dress.

“To me your uniform reflects the pride you have in your job … you don’t have pride in yourself, you don’t have pride in your job, therefore you are not going to be as willing to provide good care”  Nursing times study

The right uniform a company chooses helps to portray a competent and trustworthy image and commands a certain level of respect as they are often associated with the type of company you are, for example “prestige” . This contributes to brand success.

Attracting the right clients, having the right staff, and projecting the right image all go hand in hand to creating brand success.

For a confidential image assessment for your company’s needs, contact Julie at Corporate Apparel Solutions on 0433 114 841.

 

Julie Hyne
Stylist and Image Professional
Founder: Julie Hyne Corporate Apparel Solutions
Julie@corporateapparelsolutions.com.au