For just a fraction more than we were paying for our previous standard stock range, JSD has given us a fully bespoke uniform collection plus a bespoke service that really enhances our brand and helps build customer loyalty.”
Permanent TSB is a major Irish bank with a history dating back to the 1800s, that now enjoys majority state ownership. With branches right across the Emerald Isle, its counter staff are at the frontline. For the bank’s one million+ customers, they are the public face of Permanent TSB – and need to be seen as capable and confident. It follows that the employees’ appearance must be on brand, smart and professional – on message for this leading provider of personal financial services in Ireland.
The bank had not renewed the design of its corporate wear for some years and so the entirely stock supported uniforms hadn’t kept pace with recent PTSB brand development. In mid 2014, the HR and purchasing team at PTSB started to consult with Jermyn Street Design (JSD) as part of a wider tendering
process. They were encouraged to compare the positive impact of bespoke design corporate workwear, set against their existing off-the-peg stock items that were not a true representation of the Bank’s brand.
To win the contract, JSD produced a series of design options for a bespoke ladies’ and men’s wardrobe collection: mix and match pieces that would give branch staff a choice of versatile options and allow them to personalize their stylish new workwear.
As the starting point, JSD in-house designer Rebecca Rhoades took the blue, orange and white from the PTSB logo and brand guidelines, and moved the look away from the predominant purple of the previous uniform.
“For the ladies’ range, we created a very smart collarless jacket,” she explains. “We took our inspiration from a jacket that the client liked – by a top high street designer brand – and echoed that shape in a corporatewear fit and styling. On the front desks, there is always a need for counter staff to look smart, even when they are not wearing a jacket. The client did not want knitwear, and so we designed a waistcoat, to wear alone or under the jacket.”
Within this wardrobe collection, JSD created a choice of a tie-neck blouse in a soft wash and wear fabric, or a smart medium blue twill shirt; a straight pencil skirt or straight leg classic trouser. And for the first time, female employees were given the opportunity to opt for a dress, with a front seam and pleats to make it very flattering to the figure.
“The fabric is a poly-wool-Lycra to ensure easy movement in an environment where there is a lot of sitting,” continues Becky Rhoades. “The French navy we specified is brighter than a standard corporatewear blue, selected because it works better with the orange accents.”
For the men’s range, JSD designed a very stylish three-piece suit, with a classic two-button jacket; again, the waistcoat can be worn alone or with the jacket. There is a choice of short or long sleeved shirts, in a chambray blue.
“We used a tried and tested fabric that JSD had developed especially for a leading brand, where – similar to PTSB – durability and style were key. We advise that the jackets are dry cleaned but the rest of the corporate wear is machine washable,” explains Jermyn Street Design Sales Director, Ann Dowdeswell.
She led client negotiations with the PTSB HR and Purchasing teams in Ireland, for what is the first bank contract for JSD for many years. Once design concepts had been approved, the JSD in-house sample team got to work.
“JSD hired mannequins and also used some of the Bank’s own staff for a fashion show in Dublin in front of the Bank’s Board of Directors, who signed off the new designs,” continues Ann Dowdeswell.
“The size range is standard and JSD has the uniforms manufactured in Asia, to hit keen price points for the client. Because this is a wardrobe look, each staff member selects what he or she wishes to wear from the range. JSD takes their orders and manufactures accordingly. We offer PTSB a fully managed service: stock is held by in our warehouses in the UK and shipped across to the client in Ireland, as and when they order.
“We have moved them from a stock situation, which was not at all brand focused, to a bespoke uniform that is entirely on brand, that helps build customer recognition, and which their employees really enjoy wearing.”