Edwards Garment: The Evolution of a Brand Redefining the Ultimate Uniform Experience

When you’ve been in the uniform space as long as Edwards Garment has, you know a thing or two about what makes a good product. As a company with a longstanding reputation, Edwards has largely defined itself as a valuable partner for uniform programs. But these days, things look a bit different. It’s no longer just about providing uniforms. Today, uniform programs are so much more than a starched button-up and formal slacks. They are more than just apparel — they are promotional wearables that make employees feel comfortable. They are fashion-forward. And when you’re Edwards Garment, they can even be custom.

Over the years, Edwards has worked to evolve to meet the needs of today’s uniform programs. And while the value of experience goes a long way, the company now has a new face, a new vision, and it’s poised to take the classic elements to modern levels.

The Evolution of a Brand

Historically, Edwards was a uniform supplier that dealt on the industrial level. If you go way back to 1867 at its humble beginnings in Kalamazoo, Michigan, it wasn’t even called “Edwards.” As the years progressed, the company saw several iterations of itself play out, from being a primary presence at Woolworths to maturing into the promotional space.

Not only has the name changed, but so has the focus, both internally and externally. According to current President and CEO Jose Gomez, that evolution has been key to the company’s current success. “I think we have historically underinvested and undersold the company,” he believes. “Our messaging previously was, yes we do that and also that. Now we want to turn that more into we do things people don’t do; we are unique and original.”

Today’s Edwards looks different than even just a decade ago. The company set its sights on being a player in the customer uniform and promotional space, says Brett Garran, Edwards Vice President of Sales. But it didn’t happen overnight. “In terms of Edwards, we weren’t historically known as a custom company,” he explains. Then, some big changes started to happen.

In 2019, Edwards Garment acquired Bishop Custom Clothing. “When we purchased Bishop, it gave us the ability to expand the breadth of offering,” says Garran. “When we could offer people a solution that came from our shelves in addition to something custom, [we realized] we can offer the ultimate uniform experience by providing customers that option: off the shelf, or if they’re willing to invest, we could also provide them something 100% custom made to order.”

A huge part of making that transition successful has been Norm Bishop, the founder of Bishop Custom Clothing. “Edwards Garment Company and Bishop Custom Clothing were two very different companies back in 2019, which is why Edwards saw an opportunity to acquire a ‘built from the ground up’ custom clothing company that was already involved in the uniform and promotional space,” Bishop says. Fast-forward to today, and things are really starting to mesh. Bishop Custom Clothing is now known as EdwardsX, with the two brands working seamlessly to provide the ultimate customer experience. “Collectively we didn’t want to be perceived as two companies because we are not, so it made a lot of sense to rebrand to EdwardsX as the exclusive custom design arm of the Edwards Garment Company,” Bishop notes. “The ‘X’ in EdwardsX stands for exclusive custom clothing, but as the brand evolves, we want to become less ‘exclusive’ and more accessible, and we are working on ways to do that.”

The third component of the new face of Edwards Garment is the Point Grey brand, a contemporary line of business attire that’s the ultimate in comfort and fashion. “Point Grey is a line that once you wear it, you don’t want to wear anything else,” Bishop adds. “It had to have amazing four-way stretch, contemporary styling, and an impressive sustainability story, and we delivered on all fronts.”

When partnering with Edwards, customers can be sure that they gain the ability to bring their brand to life, receive expertise on every size of program from small to large, a national sales force that works closely with you along the way, and a partner that prioritizes sustainability.

The Ultimate Uniform Program Partner

The new Edwards isn’t just three different brands, however. It’s so much more. In order to be the ultimate uniform program partner, Gomez notes that there are a few other components that had to also be put in place.

First, he notes the renewed emphasis on what the markets it serves want when it comes to uniforms. To do that successfully, some internal pieces had to fall into place. “Our branding work really started around 2012,” Gomez says. “We hired people, updated our marketing department … Where we are right now is very much continuously improving the model, time, and resources. We understand that in the current markets we serve, it’s important that people hear from us who Edwards is as a brand, who are the people behind the product, and how we want to be differentiated from competitors.”

That emphasizes the second major piece of the puzzle: the people behind the Edwards brand. “The other part of the branding is the people behind the brand,” Gomez points out. “That’s becoming a much more common talking point from all brands and industries.” He notes that the family feel created among Edwards employees carries out to its external services.

Combine that with the work that’s gone into EdwardsX and Point Grey, and you have the complete package. Now, customers can go to Edwards to fulfill nearly every uniform need, whether it’s off-the-shelf styles, or creating a completely custom program. And Edwards is willing to meet the challenge. “Not every person has the DNA or the want to add complexity to the process,” Garran explains. “None of it is easy, for anyone, whether they’re selling pens or mugs, to convince someone to purchase. It all boils down to having the right customer approach, the right end-user to present the idea.”

For Garran, collaboration is key to making relationships, and ultimately uniform programs, successful. “That’s the answer, the collaborative effort, but it has to align perfectly and be consistent year after year,” he says. “It comes down to having the right customer selling the right concept to the right end-user. … We have that in our book of business.”

Edwards has certainly stepped up to the plate, though Garran notes that some changes are still in the works. He equates it to changing the course of a huge ship — it takes time. Even so, for those customers looking for the ultimate uniform experience, Edwards is ready to work with you.

Meet Us at PPAI

The perfect time to connect with the company and get started is now. Edwards Garment will be exhibiting at the 2024 PPAI Expo, taking place Jan. 16 – 18 in Las Vegas. Stop by booth 3526/3527 to meet the team and talk about your needs. Plus, enter for a chance to win a Visa gift card, with winners having the possibility of receiving $500, $300, or $200.

Now is the time to discover how Edwards Garment can be your number-one uniform partner. The synergies of these brands (Edwards, EdwardsX, and Point Grey), as well as the company’s product and service innovation, allows Edwards Garment to create the perfect uniform program.