In 2019, Total Uniform Solutions (T.U.S) won the national contract to supply Optus with their retail uniforms. Since then our involvement has expanded to their franchise stores, corporate office uniforms and promotional apparel and merchandise.
But this story isn’t about winning the work. It’s about shoes. Custom shoes in fact.
And for those who think it’s a little strange for a uniform company to be designing and manufacturing shoes, you’d be right. It’s very unusual. But we are no ordinary uniform company!
Actually, shoes were never part of the original discussions with Optus. Occasionally we are asked for our input on the footwear of large uniform rollouts to tie together the overall “look”, but this time we saw an opportunity to radically change the look of the uniform with footwear, so we set to work to explore what was possible. We developed prototypes for an Optus Roadshow and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
“T.U.S had the idea to offer a customised shoe to reflect the spirit of OPTUS. We knew that standing all day can get uncomfortable for retail staff, so we designed the shoe with that in mind.” said Dean Templeman who founded Total Uniform Solutions. “The construction of the shoe was designed to support the foot and we choose a premium insole to improve the comfortability of the shoes. For our production team, this was actually more important than how the shoes looked! ”
Every part of the Optus shoes were customised, from the on-trend shape and style, premium material and the colours down to how the brand was incorporated. We ended up developing two styles – a canvas and a leather shoe – to give variety to the uniform look.
Inspired by the on-trend white sneaker look, we evolved and tested our designs over several samples before they went into bulk production.
The branding elements were infused into the shoes in a number of ways. The Optus colours feature in the custom piping, side profile embroidery and the heel badge. We also had the Optus branding custom printed into the insole. To add a more playful touch, we developed a bonus pack of coloured laces to accompany every pair which staff members could use to give more personality to their footwear.
One of the main benefits of custom footwear in any uniform program is having the ability to infuse your brand into your uniform from head-to-toe. When custom kicks have a “cool factor” the exclusivity of them is also appealing to staff. By owning a pair of branded sneakers, staff feel part of the brand. Custom sneakers are also a conversation starter – something different that customers will remember.
"When custom kicks have a “cool factor” the exclusivity of them is also appealing to staff. By owning a pair of branded sneakers, staff feel part of the brand".
Optus footwear is not a compulsory uniform item, and staff are asked to order them personally if they wish to own a pair. We’ve had overwhelming interest from the retail workforce across the country. Everyone seems to want a pair!
The team at T.U.S loved every minute of this fun (and different) project. We are impressed that Optus genuinely cared enough about their staff, and their brand, to spend so much time getting these products right. If you are interested in taking your corporate uniform to the next level by introducing branded sneakers, say goodbye to boring and get in touch.