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December 05 2018
By James Rudman

Murray Uniforms gears up for
coach and bus industry

Murray Uniforms is bringing bespoke ‘fit-for-purpose’ design and research into ensuring work clothing benefits employees and businesses, and wants to build its coach and bus industry presence

‘You are what you wear’ is a popular clothing-related phrase.

Entrance to Murray Uniforms’ Coventry headquarters

For Murray Uniforms, what employees wear for work, how that impacts on how they feel and perform, and potential benefits for employers is vitally important.

The Coventry-based company, which bespoke designs and produces clothing ranges for clients, is continually researching how clothing impacts on people individually as well as for the brand.

Business ‘drivers’

Customers approaching Murray already have a great brand with fantastic people that they are looking to make even better, says Natasha Hickling, Murray’s Head of Marketing and Brand.

“We know through market research studies that happy staff are 12.5% more productive. You apply that to your bottom line and you have a significant amount of money there.”

Murray, whose recently-unveiled new brand is ‘What you wear matters – we know why’, believes that getting it right for a client firm and its staff on uniforms is vital.

“We try to get companies to understand that if you put people in a good uniform, it will make them feel good about themselves, make them work a bit better, and they will feel part of the team and feel more connection with the business,” says Natasha.

“But we work with a lot of companies who already have uniforms that we are looking for a uniform refresh. We have got those who don’t have uniforms and want to put their staff into uniform.”

Although Murray began selling uniforms in 1975, it has 100 years’ experience in tailoring and textiles. The company’s client base has grown into many industries, including retail and transport. As it provides bespoke designs for all demographics when tailoring for a customer’s workforce and the uniforms are made in the Far East, Natasha says clients – who include Jaguar Land Rover and Carpetright – normally have to employ at least 1,000 people to make it cost effective.

Coach and bus sector connection

Murray has started giving the coach and bus industry more attention as it targets expansion into different markets.

From left: Lee Ormiston, Merv Greenham, David McKenzie and Peter Blackwood at Lothian Buses’ uniform launch

It has just produced a bespoke clothing range for Lothian Buses’ 1,900 staff, including trousers, skirts, shirts, ties, pullovers, sweaters and also specially-tailored jackets to enable drivers to move easily. The uniforms’ rollout is nearly complete and Lothian Buses’ staff members wearing them have been filmed for Murray’s own promotions, marketing and website.

“Our brand essence is really about real people doing real work in real uniforms,” explains Natasha.

The project from concept to completion took 18 months and involved survey work and uniform testing with Lothian Buses’ staff, as happens with each client. A survey of staff showed a 48% increase in positivity towards the uniforms after the new range was launched.

“It is exciting to work with customers like that because you get to evolve and develop and it is a continual partnership approach,” says Natasha, who adds that Lothian Buses did a catwalk event to launch its new uniforms using staff members as models.

A range of uniform items have been produced for Transdev, with differences between each depot to emphasise the individual identity of each location and a design to reflect the company’s informal and friendly customer service style, she says. These items include bespoke shirts, gilets, soft shell jackets and rucksacks in each bus company’s livery, a driver’s trousers with waist ease, waistcoats  for their premium brands and a travel shop uniform.

Learning experiences

“One of the things that is really important to us is to really get to know the sector that we are working in and understand what our customers’ challenges are,” says Natasha about Murray making its EuroBusExpo exhibiting debut this year.

“It is all part of that whole learning journey to get to know the industry better and bring what we do into it, but also take learnings from the companies that are there and understand more about the sector’s size and diversity.

“Everything for us centres around the design and the bespoke element. Uniforms will be made to fit-for-purpose – that is not just for the role but also for the body as well.”

Recycling

Murray is committed to recycling old uniforms. It works with a number of recycling partners who recycle garments.

 “We are aiming to reduce the amount of unwanted uniforms from our customers that go into landfill by 25% in the next three years,” Natasha says.

Prospects

Looking ahead, Natasha “absolutely” sees opportunities for Murray in the coach and bus industry.

“While companies are putting their staff in uniform and are still brand conscious and care about their people, there will always be an opportunity for us.”

FIND OUT MORE

www.Murrayuniforms.com

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Murray Uniforms continues the Bass family’s connection with clothing that has spanned five generations and exactly 100 years. What started as a gentleman’s outfitters in Northampton was turned into a business supplying uniforms by current Sales Director Andy Bass’s father Mike from a Rugby shop in 1976.

Subsequently relocating to Warwick Street, Coventry, it now operates from a 26,000sq.ft. headquarters site in the city, where 100 staff work for the Elmdene Group, which Murray is a part of, with the Managing Director being Mike’s grandson Mark. These staff include clothes and logo designers, sewing and embroidery specialists, project management development, marketing and administration team members, and operatives in the warehouse, where a new racking system allows bespoke-designed clothes to be delivered from the Far East on hanging frames in wrapping to avoid creasing and unnecessary handling before distribution.



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