FR: Generally, the industry tends to have large or small suppliers. The large suppliers are often seen more as logistics companies that focus on being able to deliver large quantities of uniform garments at a low price. These companies either design and distribute their own product, use a third party, or do a combination of both. The anecdotal trade-off is a lack of design, style and comfort, as the focus is on delivery at scale and low price point.
At the other end of the spectrum, there are some niche players. These companies tend to design bespoke uniforms for smaller businesses at a much higher cost but are challenged when it comes to delivering at scale. Cargo Crew aims to be in the middle, being able to service larger brands that look at uniform value – design, style, quality, comfort and price – all the way down to your corner cafe.
As a design-led, brand-based company that specialises in contemporary uniforms, and exceptional client service, with wholesale prices for all customers and no minimums, Cargo Crew has been disrupting the uniform industry for many years. We work directly with our clients to deliver value, there are no resellers or other parties distributing our range.
From day one, we have focused on creating a brand whilst delivering designs businesses and their teams can get excited about. We have a strong digital footprint, which has allowed us to reach new markets, and we have shipped to over 80 countries.
IR: Tell me about your retail showroom and culture hub.
FR: It’s like a fashion store with a coffee hub and industrial kitchen. It’s an extension of our brand where the aesthetic you see and feel (virtually) from the website is replicated in the showroom. We have a full range of stock in the showroom and you can completely immerse yourself in curating the right uniform range for your business. When you’re finished, you can even take what you picked away with you, as our fully stocked warehouse is also onsite.
IR: What are some of the great retailers you’ve worked with and what kinds of products have you created with and for them?
FR: We have been thrilled to work with incredible retailers over the years and support their visual language and customer experience. Our current retail clients include Luxottica, The Good Guys, Petstock, Pecan Lighting, Nando’s Amart Furniture.
IR: You come from a fashion design background. How have those skills and knowledge helped inform what you create now at Cargo Crew?
FR: As a creative designer myself, along with a large amount of our team at Cargo Crew also coming from varied creative and design backgrounds, we apply our passion and eye for design to everything we do. The varied collective experience allows us to focus on our mission of designing and creating modern uniforms that staff want to wear. Through our combined skills, we are also able to translate broad fashion, lifestyle and marketing trends into products and brand campaigns that are inspiring yet relatable for our clients and markets.
I also like to take my creative background to the broader business, challenge traditional thinking and approaches. I think nothing is impossible if you’re prepared to try hard enough. As a result, create a business that truly owns its mission, vision and values and is genuinely unique.
IR: What are some of the important design and textile elements that make an effective uniform for a business?
FR: One of the key benefits of creating a cohesive uniform look for any business is to unite the team so they are easily identifiable to customers, whilst also delivering a strong brand message that helps to build comradery amongst the team members.
From a practical perspective, creating a uniform that is built for work really begins with fabric development. At Cargo Crew we have an ongoing focus on R&D around fabric quality and are always looking for ways to deliver value and longevity to our clients. As an example, we knew that fading aprons was a huge pain point for our clients, so we made it our mission to develop an exclusive fabric that we produce called Fight The Fade, which was specifically created to withstand repeat washing and still look great wash after wash.
Other general considerations relating to textiles, includes understanding the fabric compositions, and fabric weights as these ultimately impact whether a fabric is breathable, comfortable and durable. These are all factors that are valuable to consider in the uniform selection process.
Other elements that can be beneficial for a business to consider could also include considering the fabric design. For example, the most suitable fabric design is a check pattern, as it helps to hide stains which can occur during work shifts, or a dark colour palette is helpful in the working environment.
IR: What are your plans for Cargo Crew in the next 12 months?
FR: We have ambitious plans for Cargo Crew over the next 12 months, in particular continuing to drive The Modern Uniform agenda. With an ongoing focus on new product design and deeper industry specialisation, such as our move into chefwear, the Cargo Crew range will continue to evolve to meet our customer needs, whilst leading from the front from a design and innovation perspective.
Having recently built our new digital platform, we are continuing to push the boundaries on how we present our brand in the market and service our customers. With the upgrade to our platform, we have elevated our digital experience to bring a best-in-market platform that reflects the quality and personality of our product and brand. Our customers can browse our range, dive into product detail, whilst also immersing themselves in our full offering, further supporting them in their uniform purchasing process.
With our newly created platform now firmly established, this year we will be launching our .com site with a firm focus on the USA market which has been a growing market for us over recent years.