Considerations for Selecting a School Uniform Supplier
Updated: May 26
Choosing the right school uniform provider is a big decision for schools. They have to weigh their students' comfort, their brand's management, and the cost to their parents. A bad decision will impact hundreds of people. Naturally, making the right choice when selecting a school uniform supplier is essential. And with the market brimming with options to choose from, making the right choice is not an easy decision. This article will provide some guidance on what factors to weigh when deciding.
There are typically two ways schools handle uniform buying — the first is to set a dress code and direct parents to a retailer (e.g., Old Navy, French Toast). The other is for the school to contract directly with a provider that creates a specific uniform for that school. The latter allows additional customization and cohesive brand management, whereas the former offers more pricing flexibility. If you are looking for what factors to weigh when making the decision, consider the following:
Finding a School Uniform Supplier
1) Samples, Samples, and Samples
When selecting a uniform supplier, make sure to get samples. Clothing can look and feel very different online or on paper versus in person. In particular, maroon can be a deep red, a brown red, or a reddish red. Pants can be itchy or soft. You want to ensure you are ordering what you think you are ordering. When going with a retail provider, you can visit their store. When going with a customized provider, make sure you ask for samples. Remember, any supplier with a no-sample policy will likely have below-satisfactory quality, so you are better off switching to another one.
Flexibility is key when selecting a uniform supplier; it covers more than you think. Schools should choose a provider that is flexible in quantity and pricing and allows fundraising options to its customers. Typically, smaller vendors are more on board with catering to specific requirements as they are more nimble and more easily able to handle customization. Vendors allowing schools to fundraise through their uniforms are particularly attractive as they help the school manage its finances and bring more benefits. Make sure that your chosen supplier is willing to accommodate your needs, and be sure to ask them about pricing and payment options beforehand.
3) More than just a Uniform...Breadth of Products
While there is a lot that makes up a perfect vendor, selecting one with a diverse product range can be very important. Your school likely requires more than just student uniforms. They may need spirit wear, staff uniforms, team uniforms, etc. Having a supplier that offers all of these items allows your school to control its brand and color scheme. It also makes ordering easier for you and your parents and can be less costly as you can get deeper discounts by consolidating your spending. Before placing your order, ask your supplier about the other services or products that they can provide.
4) E-Commerce Support
Schools should choose a uniform supplier with an active online presence. In the rising age of technology and the recent need for contactless delivery, e-commerce services are increasingly important. Online buying provides many benefits, such as no need for the school to manage inventory and for parents to order at their convenience. So, when it comes to picking out your uniform vendor, leaning towards one that operates online is a smart move.
5) Company Reputation
While we agree that small or new companies can be worth the chance, there is no denying that connecting with a supplier with a long history in the space is less risky. These suppliers have years of experience in the market, and they tend to know all the tips and tricks of the trade. What this means for you is a top-notch service and a great product. There’s no hiding that a company’s years are a telltale sign of its success.
How could we forget the uniform price is of the utmost importance? Not only do schools need to ensure that the price they pay for uniforms does not exceed their budget, but they also need to ensure that parents and guardians are not under financial burden. Suppliers that provide discounts to longtime customers or on bulk orders are always favorable. Ideally, schools should choose suppliers that combine quality clothing with affordable prices.
While all of the factors we have outlined are important, few match the ranks of the quality of your school uniform. On average, children are going to be spending five to six hours a day wearing these clothes, and it is essential that they are comfortable. Not only that, but uniforms should also be durable and designed to put up with daily wear and tear so that parents don’t have to spend on a new one every month. Key points of a good uniform are comfort, softness, durability, and a good visual sense. Remember, it is a terrible idea to compromise on your school’s uniform quality to save a few bucks. Quality should be at the front of your mind.
If you are looking for school uniform providers, be sure to keep these criterion top of mind. If you consider other criteria, we would love to hear from you. Send us a note here or on our Facebook page.