Earlier this month we headed to the P&P LIVE! 2020 event which was hosted at the NEC in Birmingham. Here, our group sales director Simon Ward, gives his thoughts on this year’s event and why Grahame Gardner and GFORCE Sportswear return time after time! 

Q1. Tell us why the P&P LIVE! is such an important event in your events calendar?

P&P LIVE has developed into an integral part of our year for both Grahame Gardner and GFORCE Sportswear. To have a large show like this in January gets the year off to a great start. P&P provides an opportunity to meet with many of our current customers whilst also introducing our ranges to potential new clients that may be entering the industry, or looking to branch out into new areas.


Q2. Who attends the event? 

The visitors to the show are so varied in terms of their background, from workwear and embroidery companies to school suppliers and sportswear, you never know what the next person may be interested in. The majority of the visitors are from smaller businesses and the event provides a great opportunity to meet with customers and potential customers that we just wouldn’t get to see otherwise. As well as them learning about our business and the garments we offer, we also listen to them and use P&P LIVE! as a tool for developing our own ranges and where we should market them to.


Q3. What were Grahame Gardner and GFORCE Sportswear showcasing this time and what response did you get? 

Once again, we showcased ranges from both Grahame Gardner and GFORCE, which covered healthcare clothing, workwear and corporate leisurewear, all the way through to premium level bespoke sports kits. Within the Grahame Gardner section of our stand, we concentrated on our Advance range of dye sublimated workwear, allowing even smaller sized businesses the chance to show off their corporate branding and colours through their staff uniform. We also used the event to launch new, improved pricing for the Gg range. Naturally this was well received and means that the renowned Grahame Gardner quality is now available at an even more attractive price.


On the sportswear side of things, the new GFORCE Signature range was a big hit. This allows organisations to have their own brand of sports kit with their name where the makers mark would usually be, including all the internal neck tape and garment labels.


As brand awareness and corporate identity continue to take on more importance, we are trying to offer something unique in the marketplace and for both Grahame Gardner and GFORCE the future is about making the wearers brand the most important aspect of the garment.


Q4. What was the best thing about the show this year?

It is always a lively event in an industry that is keen to innovate and develop. This ties in with our own strategy and it is a real pleasure to talk about new developments within our ranges and the wider market. This year we once again took part in the fashion show and it was great to see our garments on stage. We decided to showcase a progression in uniform, starting with our standard tunics and trousers and then moving onto a more modern scrub style, finally finishing with the Advance dye sublimated uniform. It definitely created interest for us.


Q5. Were there any latest trends that you noticed on show at the event? 

There is definitely a move to ‘liven up’ the workwear market, with garments that were once considered purely functional now taking on a new and improved appearance, making use of flashes of colour, multiple fabrics and different fits. Those of us dealing with clothing on a daily basis know that a uniform can, and should be, much more than just a protective garment. Wearing a uniform can offer real benefits to both the wearer and the business - pride in appearance, brand promotion and customer confidence can all be enhanced if a uniform is chosen correctly.


Q6. Have you come away with anything that you will be adopting moving forward? 

The feedback to our stand was really positive and we are convinced that the concentration on client branding is a great opportunity. We will be looking at developing these ideas further as we progress through 2020 and who know what we could be launching at the 2021 event!