Ady takes a look at hi-vis workwear, offering his top recommendation for hi-vis waistcoats and how to decorate them
One of the topics I find hardest to talk about is high-visibility workwear. On the surface, the products all look the same with their bright colours and reflective tapes, but when you start looking at the different brands, the fabrics they use and how well they perform when you are trying to apply a printed or embroidered logo, you soon realise that this product sector is a minefield.
In our shop we see countless reps offering hi-vis waistcoats cheaper than the next sales rep. When we looked at changing over our basic waistcoat to another leading basic brand, the cost difference of 10p per unit over 12 months would have saved us around £900 a year, which is not to be sniffed at. However, there is a line of quality that you don’t want to cross, so always make sure that what you are buying is genuinely certified.
In our experience, some of the best basic waistcoats that we have seen and that take a transfer print better than their competitors are those from Leo Workwear. These guys have a huge range of colours and contrast colour combinations, which is so helpful when trying to match a company‘s branding requirements. Leo is definitely not the cheapest, but its products are worth the little extra. TrimFree Transfer from Xpres works well on Leo waistcoats and rarely gives you those odd, dodgy prints where you either have to throw the waistcoat away or try and rework it, wasting more time and money.
Just about every brand of workwear now has a high-visibility range, but a lot of the big brands now leave the basic, entry level waistcoats out of their catalogues and focus instead on mid-range hi-vis styles, starting at executive waistcoats with multi-pockets and moving through to mid-layers and jackets.
Brands such as Pulsar, StandSafe, Snickers and Dickies, however, work hard to offer the end-user a full range of matching products from trousers and jackets to polo shirts and sweatshirts. Pulsar, for example, has been advancing its products in leaps and bounds, never compromising on quality and using 3M Scotchlite reflective tapes, breathable fabrics and built-in SPF ratings of 50+.
I know when quoting for a batch of hi-vis waistcoats, in many cases the customer is looking for an almost disposable item that is low cost and they don‘t want to be upsold a better product, but do always make sure that the garments are fully certified.
Adrian Burton of South East Workwear runs the extremely popular AskAdy site, which hosts independent reviews of workwear garments. He’s one of the first people to be sent new products launching both in the UK and across Europe.
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