Practice what you preach!
I admit that there are days that I want to pull on a pair of comfy pants and a cozy fleece to go to work. There are days that I DO show up for work in those clothes. But it is not the "norm" for me, nor should it be for any business owner in our industry.
We are in the business of branding, making people look pulled together with our decorated apparel. Building our customers' confidence starts with their first impression of us and their perception of us and how we put our skills to work for ourselves.
One way to pull your look together is to use accessories. According to Toni Cunningham, the managing editor of The Women's Book, "Accessories can make or break an outfit. As you update your wardrobe for the [next] season, don't forget to update your accessory collection, too." I am not saying you have to be dripping in diamonds and pearls. If you have a collection of great earrings or necklaces, wear them to work. Note: I have broken or ruined more than a few bracelets over the years on the embroidery machines and at the hooping station. My advice is to leave those at home. Develop a signature style by always wearing a scarf when you are at work. For the guys, wear a specific style or print of ties when you wear dress shirts. Men and women can build personal style with great shoes.
If you know someone that always looks "pulled together," it is likely that they have taken the time to get the whole thing right, down to the details, like their accessories. They make it look easy, but for most of us, it is NOT easy. It takes time, thought and effort to get yourself together. The good news that once you find a look that does work, you can replicate it in different colors and minimize the effort it requires to achieve that look day after day.
Go look in the mirror at yourself, right now. If a customer saw you this very moment, would they think you were the answer to their needs to provide them with fantastic branded apparel? I get that you may be running a huge order right now, that you look harried and threads are hanging off your shoulder. I get that there are days of pulling squeegees and I certainly would not advocate wearing your best duds if that is what you are doing today. But you do not have to look like a cast off from a biker gang either, right?
We are in the business of helping people look great and pulled together. Commit to mastering this skill for yourself and even for your staff. The time, effort and expense in accomplishing this will be well-spent, as it will help lay a solid foundation for building long-term customer relationships. Style is personal - I encourage you to discover and develop your own personal style. Share your style journey with us by sending us pics or by posting it in the comments below!