In 2016, Ian and Jennifer Paradis purchased Signatures Apparel and began strategizing to transform the company into a national uniforming company using a customer-focused, hassle-free business model.
Signatures Apparel partnered with The Brand Leader to design a branded website that would reflect their vision and better position their brand as a simple, user-friendly solution for corporate apparel.
Discovering a Niche Market
Ian Paradis and his wife, Jennifer, bought Signatures Apparel in May of 2016 and spent the remainder of that year figuring out exactly what they wanted to do with the business, and where they wanted to take it.
“We knew we wanted to move into the uniforming space,” Ian recalled, “but we soon realized that it’s full of fragmented mom-and-pop type businesses. There’s not much consistency or reliability in this industry, so we saw an opportunity to disrupt an antiquated industry.”
Signatures Apparel focused its energy on its strategy and brand promises in order to improve the customer experience.
“We wanted to do things differently. We decided to streamline the uniforming process from onboarding to fulfillment,” Ian said. “We needed a partner to help us explain our brand, demonstrating how we differentiate ourselves from all the eclectic and fragmented options in the market.”
The company deployed a CRM solution to better track and manage orders. They then began to look for marketing consulting, SEO, and a website built and branded to support their new ordering and fulfillment process, which led them to The Brand Leader.
“At first, we elected to go with a turnkey solution provided through the SCMA for our website,” said Ian. “But that meant giving up on several customized features, and more of a cookie cutter approach—not very warm, and no customization. Our accounting firm had used The Brand Leader for marketing work, and recommended that we at least meet. We noticed immediately that dealing with Geoff and his team felt much more personal and welcoming. I felt like I had an entire team in my corner. The cost for the initial website build was a little higher, but I looked at the quality and it was clearly better.”
The Ongoing Relationship:
Listening and Creating a User-Friendly Brand
“Our old website was really just a static page. To reflect our brand, and support where we wanted to go with our business, we needed more functionality. We wanted a professional, corporate look that clearly explained our business model and value propositions to potential customers,” said Ian. “The Brand Leader team came in and listened to our business strategy. They did an amazing job interviewing us, capturing our voice and our vision for how we wanted to position ourselves in the marketplace, and creating a custom website to help us realize that vision.”
The Brand Leader team designed a simplified, user-friendly website that better represented the Signatures Apparel brand.
“Our business is really a program more than a product, and The Brand Leader team quickly grasped that, creating a brand voice that both resonated with customers and reflected that critical distinction. Embroidery is a value-added, but service is our core,” said Ian. “The Brand Leader built us a professional looking site that walks potential customers through each step of our process and includes an online store and customer portal. Now, big companies can have their employees go to our site directly and choose their size, style, and color. It’s an ideal solution for businesses with a distributed workforce.”
In addition to outlining the process, The Brand Leader also delved deep into the Pain Points of traditional apparel rental or purchase contracts.
“The Pain Points are my absolute favorite part of our new website,” said Ian. “They perfectly encapsulated how and why we’re a better apparel provider, and they feel progressive and dynamic. Both the idea and the execution have made us seem more modern and relevant. We have an entire campaign designed around these pain points—and how we can remove them for busy managers who just want to dress their team.”
Poised for Growth
“Another factor that affected my choice was a proven ability to position clients for growth,” said Ian. “Even though we were just starting out, I knew I wanted to look like a national presence. I checked out the work that The Brand Leader had done for similar companies and knew I’d made the right decision. I saw Clear Touch, for example. Here was a rapidly-growing, small to medium-sized company that made the investment, created a brand and site that looked national, and then became national.”
Not long after the new website was launched, Signatures Apparel landed a big customer.
“I’m not going to say the website alone got us this customer, but it certainly contributed,” said Ian.
Ian and the team at Signature Apparel are developing more brand awareness through social media and face-to-face interactions such as Lunch and Learns and trade shows.
“I’m always proud to send the people I interact with back to our online store. They created a gorgeous, well-branded website that did exactly what I needed it to do. That’s difficult, especially in my market,” said Ian. “We wanted them not only to understand our process thoroughly but also to design vivid, powerful graphics that are in line with our image and create the functionality we needed. The tech requirements alone on a project like this are pretty epic.”
“We’re pretty tedious and thorough, so much of the homework for how to structure the site had already been done before we met with The Brand Leader,” said Ian. “I think that minimized any potential obstacles upfront, and their team did a fantastic job of capturing what we wanted. I always felt like their communication style was professional but not formal. We could talk to them and expect to get transparency and real answers.”
While the process on the front end was fairly smooth, every website launch encounters complications.
“The launch took slightly longer than we’d initially hoped, but for good reasons and several additional ideas and decisions that we collaboratively discussed and agreed were important things to include. The end result was exactly what we were going for,” said Ian. “Throughout the process, the brand manager was open about where we were, established a great dialogue back and forth through their online client portal, and was quick to make edits and tweak design and copy. The entire team was responsive and quick to solve any issues that came up.”
Looking to the Future
While the main objective of this initial partnership was a new website, Signature Apparel is looking to expand their marketing efforts in 2019 and beyond.
“I’m intrigued by developing a social and Internet marketing presence and by SEO, but I’m the kind of person who wants to understand something before I do it,” said Ian. “I think to the average person, SEO feels a little like VooDoo, like magic, and they feel apprehensive about spending money for no ROI. When I’m ready to educate myself and create a strategy for web content management, The Brand Leader will be the first people I go to—to show me how they work, and what they do for continued online content generation.”