I live and work in horse country. As a main-house manager on a large equestrian estate, I’ll have to admit that some of my duties are unique, but, for the most part, my responsibilities lie within the framework of the requisites of those of a normal house manager.
I am excited today to talk with you about uniforms, insignias, and pride. In the sixth grade, I discovered the power of feeling a part of a team. In my case, it was as a new member of my school marching band. The invaluable lesson I learned was that putting on a uniform…even wearing a name tag…was a huge boost to my feeling of self-worth, value, and pride.
Today, I have found that this same feeling of “team,” wearing a matching uniform and sporting a name tag with a particular position identified, makes all the difference in the pride and effort expended by staff. In addition to building team spirit, uniforms help guests, friends, and family identify who’s working on the property and what they do.
Your HM, Butler and Executive or Personal assistants may wear a matching jacket or branded casual suit. Housekeeping should wear clothing that doesn’t restrict movement and is easily cleaned; perhaps with a smock or apron that can be easily switched out if soiled. Groundsmen and Hands need more durable clothing and outerwear to protect from the elements.
We’re all indoor / outdoor here and wear jeans and polos for the most part. I can easily put on my jacket when a guest arrives to upscale the look.
It is important to choose uniforms that promote a comfortable, professional, and efficient execution of duties. Below are general guidelines when considering uniforms for your staff.
- Location and Climate
- Interior or Exterior roles
- Maintenance: Washable or dry-clean
- Characteristics of Environment: Formal, Relaxed
- Name Tags: A given name or logo of the Estate
Details and logistics can be further developed, as you consider uniformed staff. For instance, number of uniforms required, how often they are replenished, and fabrics/colors of the uniforms, depending upon position levels.
- Create a budget
- List staff position names and number of staff in each position
- Your logo is your brand. The logos, names, colors to use, or color palate should be consistent, whether it is for an estate, yacht, private plane, or anything that represents your brand.
Note: Themes or styles should be considered: Classic, formal, casual, traditional, contemporary, country, or a particular ethnic style that represents your principal. There are uniform companies with which you may establish a contract for fulfillment and delivery. They can help by offering catalogs of available styles.
Once you have identified what is wanted and needed in the way of uniforms, order samples and have prototypes created for approval. High-end uniform companies employ expert pattern makers and seamstresses to produce custom-made items.
In addition to image apparel, uniform supplies offer many other personalize household items such as:
- Embossed leather folders, letter boxes, pens, and personalized stationery
- High-end monogrammed amenities, including towels and terry-cloth robes
- Appliquéd house flags
- Blazer crests
- Custom beverage service napkins and barware
- Outdoor umbrellas and patio mats in designer colors, with house monogram, and many other custom household items
On our estate, we have ‘Guest Vendor’ name tags with our brand that we fill in with the vendor’s first name so that people know who they are. This is especially helpful for our event staff and service vendors who the family may not know.
There are almost limitless possibilities in presenting your brand in apparel or accessories. Do your research and find the perfect fit for your needs. Good luck!
* I couldn’t post a photo of our actual staff, but thought this picture of Brittany Chambers from CBC Equine Therapy was a great example of what we wear on the farm.