Today, curiosity is one of our core values. We dig deep to uncover the underlying reasons why a challenge or issue is happening, or why a client wants a particular solution. But that wasn’t always the case. There was a time when we gave the customer what they asked for without asking, “Why?”—and it cost both us and our clients.
Success can turn to failure when you don’t ask, “Why?”
A few years ago, a client was upgrading some of their locations to a new, modern restaurant environment. As part of the upgrade, we produced some stylish uniforms that fit the vibe and feel of the remodeled locations. The employees loved the gear. The client was happy. All was well in the world.
Then the client placed a large order for more of the new uniforms. We didn’t ask, “Why?” We just filled the order, as our client requested. What we didn’t know is that they had decided to roll out the same uniforms to the rest of their stores. This included all the existing stores that hadn’t yet been remodeled. It seemed like a no-brainer to the client. Everyone loved the new uniform so far, so why not share it with all the employees? But it wasn’t as simple as that.
The same uniform that was received with joy in one restaurant, was seen as too modern and didn’t fit the older workforce at some of the more established locations. Pretty soon it started creating hiring challenges. The corporate office was receiving negative feedback. That hurt our sales and our client’s employee morale.
A missed opportunity to share our expertise
When we noticed the change, we immediately asked, “Why?” We recognized that our role as a consultant is to ask better questions, to dig deeper, to find out why the customer is requesting something. We missed the opportunity to share our expertise before the misstep happened by not asking, “Why?” upfront. It doesn’t serve either of us to just take requests at face value and roll with it. We know a lot about handling employee uniform programs, most of it from the wise and unforgiving educator—experience.
Ask 5 Whys
I don’t know who said it, but it’s been repeated often enough that it’s worth including here: Ask 5 Whys. Each answer allows you to dig a little deeper, to find ground truth before you move forward with a decision. It uncovers biases and limited perspectives. It sheds light on your motives. Here is an example:
- Why do you want new employee uniforms? Because I want all my employees to look more professional and put together.
- Why do you want them to look that way? Because it makes it a better experience for the customer.
- Why is that important? Because we care about our customers and want to serve them well.
- Why is that important? Because it demonstrates that we care about them, so we show up as a team.
- Why does that matter? Because people are important and they are the reason we exist as a business.
It’s a simple exercise but it demonstrates why a new uniform program is needed and how it directly relates to your service to your patrons. I hope you find asking, “Why?” as valuable as we have. I promise it will get you to think more deeply about the reason behind a desire or initiative.
Black is a tried and true apparel option. Most everyone looks good in black, almost all imprint colors look great on it, and it appeals to a wide audience of users. On the other hand, it is also a color that can sometimes come across as too harsh, or boring.
An up-and-coming trend is replacing black with alternative dark shades. One such option is black heather. This colorway (shown above, middle) lightens up the black color, and provides additional contrast. This is a really popular option with colleges, restaurant retail, and athletic programs.
Another great substitute is classic navy blue. A rich apparel color can bring out the colors in your design, and can even feel refreshing.
Some additional colors that are currently popular are: charcoal, athletic heather and heather brown.
It is common knowledge in this industry that white ink requires two layers in order to be bright and vibrant, but why?
Light colored plastisol inks are in-between transparent and opaque when applied correctly to dark garments. In order for the ink to cure at the proper temperature, a base layer must be applied, flashed by a heating unit, and then printed one more time with the same layer.
Imagine you are painting a wall which is black. Any white paint is going to require you to put a base layer down, then wait for it to dry, and then apply your second coat. With the print flash print method for T-shirts, we are able to add that second coat in a quick and effective manner, to ensure our prints come out clean, crisp, and bright for the world to see.
Bet you didn’t know Paul Bunyan was a style icon way before his time. From oversized prints to tonal patterns, plaids are a fashion force.
The pattern is showing up in traditional places like shirts and blankets, but also on new items like caps, accessories, and bags. It connotes warmth, nostalgia and time-tested. Not only worn by hipsters and loggers, a plaid pattern can add a modern vibe to your corporate outfitting. It makes a promotion or event feel more chill; less serious. These aren’t grandpa’s plaids either.
Modern versions are trimmer, have extras like pockets and darts, and are meant to be worn out, not tucked in. Keep your branding simple. A back shoulder deco, a woven label on the front pocket, and sleeve imprint are all appropriate ways to use the plaid to great advantage. To find out what plaid can do for you, contact us today.