Guide to sourcing nursery uniforms that are durable and sustainableSponsored
Thursday, November 3, 2022
SPONSORED CONTENT A nursery uniform is a great way to reflect the values of a setting and deliver many other benefits as well, says Clothes 2 Order's Simon Turner.
Uniforms for early years staff teams can offer a wealth of benefits for a nursery business and its people, from showing professionalism and giving a sense of identity to staff, to making a team instantly recognisable to children and parents in a setting.
A uniform can also act as a way of advertising a brand in the local area, whether smart, embroidered jackets for staff, or hi-vis vests printed with a logo for children on trips out and about.
Meanwhile, durability and sustainability are vital to a successful nursery uniform.
‘Working in a setting can get messy, and staff need appropriate clothing,’ says Simon Turner, marketing director at Clothes 2 Order. ‘They must have practical clothing that's going to wash well, wear well, and look good over time.
‘Furthermore, operators can reflect their values in a uniform. So, if sustainability is important to you as a nursery, there are lots of sustainable options for workwear and uniforms. You can make sure you're choosing items that have been ethically and sustainably made, and printed or embroidered with your logo in an ethical and sustainable way.’
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
As in the wider fashion industry, where it is better to buy fewer, more durable and ethically made items than invest in fast fashion, with uniforms it is important to consider how long items will last and how they have been manufactured.
Textiles currently contribute to 20 per cent of the world’s water pollution and 10 per cent of global carbon emissions, so it is vital that your uniform supplier can provide detailed information about production.
‘Not only is going for the lowest cost workwear you can source often bad for the environment, but it can also be a false economy,’ says Turner. ‘It can become a “buy cheap, buy twice” scenario.
‘If a durable, sustainable item costs twice as much but lasts three times longer, it will be a better investment for your business. Consider cost per wear, not just the initial purchase price.’
Materials that last longer, such as ringspun cotton, can avoid the need for regular replacements, while opting for organic cotton will reduce the impact on the environment during the manufacturing process.
‘Ask your supplier about eco-friendly printing techniques and other solutions that can help you be more sustainable,’ advises Turner.
‘Expert advice is invaluable to help you understand how and where your products are personalised. Are the inks in the prints eco-friendly? Have they been produced in the UK, reducing the carbon footprint of the items? Look for Living Wage accreditation to be sure your personalised clothing is being made in the right way by people who care.’
Case study: Little Angels Nurseries
All four Little Angels Nurseries settings in north-west England order uniforms through Clothes 2 Order for a total of around 100 staff members.
Amanda Brown, nursery manager at Little Angels in Warrington, says the group had previously had trouble with other suppliers.
‘Other companies were difficult to get hold of, or couldn’t supply the amount we needed,’ she explains. ‘Sometimes, the embroidery or colours of our logo had to be changed because they found it too big or difficult to reproduce. We were often waiting for people to get back to us with samples. We’re a busy nursery and didn’t have time to keep chasing and following up.’
In contrast, representatives from Clothes 2 Order came to visit the group personally to work on the design, consult with staff and answer any questions.
‘They worked with us every step of the way,’ Brown says. ‘We wanted to work with a company that was reliable and helpful, and of course, the fact it’s sustainable is great too.’
The group is now set up with an easy-to-access portal to manage their orders. As Clothes 2 Order is based in Manchester, everything is locally sourced and there are no long shipping times for delivery. There is no minimum order, allowing small groups to order easily and replacements to be delivered in a hurry when needed.
‘It’s very straightforward,’ Brown explains. ‘All the size and style options are there, and I just log in and order what I want, and it is delivered within days.’
She says the products are all of high quality. ‘It all washes very well. Obviously, we get very messy at work, so everything has to be washed every single time we wear it. The colour holds really well and the material still feels excellent.’
She says it helps everyone at the nursery to have a uniform. ‘It really helps the children to make that connection to staff. Obviously, from a safety perspective, when parents bring their child in, it is good for them to know who works here. For the staff, it gives them a sense of belonging, a pride in what they do and a feeling of working together as a team.’
Find out more about Clothes 2 Order here