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Workers are making informed choices on protective workwear
15
Jul '08
Now that it takes over $100 to fill up a full size pickup, hardworking American families are closely scrutinizing their budgets to buy fuel to get to the jobsite.

This is having a major impact on the apparel industry, including non-luxury brands that are simple necessities, like basic durable and protective workwear.

"When a guy needs a sturdy work jacket or flame resistant coveralls, it's like buying a tool," says JERRY MEYER, CEO of Walls Workwear, the value-priced brand leader in this niche part of the apparel industry. "He has to have it, but now price is far more of an issue."

That's why value priced quality brands like Walls are actually seeing a spike in demand, because paying $90 for outerwear doesn't make sense when similar quality and features are available for $45 and the extra money is desperately needed at the gas pump.

The trend towards brand flexibility is showing up across-the-board in the apparel industry, which is highly unusual for male buying behavior.

While it's estimated that women purchase over 70% of men's apparel, and their guys usually stick to their known brands, budget pressure is making many more flexible about their clothing choices.

"A married guy may not know the price of bread and milk, but he sure knows what gas costs," says Meyer. "As long as his work clothes fit, last and are comfortable, he may try different brands in order to have the extra cash to put in his vehicle."

An increasing number of workers also need specific apparel that must meet expanding OSHA safety requirements in order to be allowed on jobsites, so it's not always enough to sling on an old pair of jeans before heading out the door.

"It used to be enough to show up with a hardhat and a tool belt, but it's more complicated now in many workplaces," says HUGH HOAGLAND, one of the world's top experts in safety apparel, and lead technical advisor to Walls and many other companies.

"Flame resistant and workwear can be expensive, but Walls has invested heavily in newer technology and streamlined their production so they can offer the best priced safety apparel that also meets tough government regulations. This really benefits working consumers."

Walls Workwear


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