What Your Staff’s Attire Says About Your BusinessYour employees are your brand ambassadors. Does their appearance reflect the quality of your professionalism?
First impressions can make or break a small business. When a customer walks into your workplace, you’ll want to present your business in the best possible light, right down to the wardrobe of your team.
But what exactly does your staff’s attire say about your business? A whole lot. We asked business owners about how their uniforms (or lack thereof) convey their ventures’ mission.
We beat the competition
Do you think your business surpasses its competitors? A sleek, clean dress code is one way to distinguish your business from rivals and demonstrate your confidence to customers.
Sam Williamson uses smart, rugby-inspired uniforms to discern his moving and removals company, Fife Man and Van, from similar businesses in the area.
“As a removals company, most of the businesses in our industry are run by scruffy guys wearing T-shirts and jeans. We wanted to differentiate ourselves from our competitors by showing our professionalism through the way we dressed, so we decided to invest in matching uniforms. Our line of work requires physical activity and flexibility, so it was important that our uniforms found the right balance between smart and comfortable,” he says.
The sporty uniforms reflect the company’s Scottish heritage and set it apart from its competitors.
We’re trustworthy and professional
While casual restaurants and creative firms can get away with easygoing, expressive clothing, more serious businesses need to convey their professionalism through formal garments.
Wendi A. Henderhan, owner and founder of Henderhan Law Offices, wants to build trust with clients who come to them with legal issues relating to bankruptcy and estate planning.
“The staff’s attire needs to be business professional so when current and prospective clients enter the door of our law firm, they know that their case will be taken seriously,” she says. “We are in a serious line of work and the attorneys and other staff members need to dress professionally.”
Likewise, iCare Phone Repair, a smartphone and tablet repair company with eight locations in Washington and Michigan, decided to adopt a standard uniform to build trust with customers who are handing over their phones.
“Since we provide repair services, we want to exude professionalism at our retail locations,” says the company’s digital content specialist, Andrea Barnes. “Our dress code consists of a dress shirt with our logo, belt, slacks and shoes. We feel that looking professional encourages trust from our customers and [conveys] that we are not an ordinary mom-and-pop store, but a franchising company with a system for training and maintaining employees.”
We have values
Just as clothing reflects the wearer’s personality, your business attire should communicate your company’s core values.
A luxury clothing boutique, for example, prides itself on style, so retail staff should strive to dress in couture garments, while a highly trafficked department store can convey its dedication to customer service by outfitting the staff in bright, matching collared shirts, which are easily identified by shoppers.
Pete Ybarra decided to outfit the staff of his removal business, The Junkluggers, in one color that reflects his business’s essential value.
“The Junkluggers has been shaped over the years by our main brand color: blindingly bright green. It’s splashed on everything from walls to trucks to our attire,” he says.
Why the lurid green hue? “We’re an eco-friendly junk removal business with a strong passion for the environment,” he says. “We donate or recycle nearly 100 percent of what we haul. So it only makes sense that our brand and our employees (almost literally) radiate green.”
Creative companies, especially startups, can use inventive clothing to showcase their innovative culture and offerings.
Allowing your staff members to express their personalities through their own wardrobe choices tells customers that your team is made up of individuals with their own attitudes and ideas.
Kornel Kurtz, CEO and founder of internet marketing and web design company WebTek, lets his staff wear almost whatever they like.
“We have pretty much an anything-goes policy,” he says. “The clothing employees wear allows them to show their personality and creative side that our customers like to see. [It also shows] that we are approachable.”
By letting staff showcase who they are through their clothing, customers get a sense that they’re getting a service tailored to their own unique needs.