With the Uniform Buyers’ Network just weeks away on 6th April 2022, we joined Louise Johnson, Retail Corporate Wardrobe Manager, Royal Bank Scotland to discuss the procurement, design and collaboration required in the buying process for procurers across the world.
How much experience do you have in procuring professional clothing?
I’ve been involved in procuring uniforms within the Professional Clothing industry for over 22 years, working with many suppliers in that time, to design and supply branch uniforms across our multiple bank of brands within the NatWest Group. It’s been interesting to see how the marketplace has changed over that time, especially in the ‘corporate’ clothing category, which now provides buyers with a good choice of global suppliers to work with.
How did you get to be involved as the Associates of the Uniform Buyers’ Network?
I am a proud founder member of the Uniform Buyers Network, which naturally developed over time, following the formation of the PCIAW®. We soon found that more and more buyers were looking to come together to network and learn more about our clothing industry at the Summits, so holding our buyer dedicated events was the next logical step.
Whilst buyers come from various backgrounds and industries, such as Retail, Finance, Leisure or Travel, we do all have common clothing needs which unite us. This includes the procurement of sustainable good quality clothing, to be fit to perform for the purpose of the role intended and ultimately we all have garment end of life responsibilities.
How much emphasis do you put on the design process for corporate branding?
Our uniform designs are the result of much collaboration between colleague representatives, brand and marketing, supply chain procurement and our supplier and design team all working together. It starts with a design brief being given to the supplier, and the production of design boards for discussion, ahead of reviewing design concepts before wearer trials and final design approvals. Our colleagues are very excited to be involved in any uniform designs discussions and will usually lead the direction the designs end up taking, after all, they are the final end wearers and our brand ambassadors.
What do you hope to learn from the Uniform Buyers’ Network event?
For me, it’ll be a great opportunity to meet up with other buyers, both old and new, and to maybe also hear from some of our invited speakers, on topics of common interest to the buyer, and I generally never fail to learn something new at these events and find them a good investment in my time.
Don’t miss Buying Uniforms in the Age of Net Zero, the definitive networking webinar for procurers of professional clothing!