Why Provide Pre-Tied Instead of Self-Tied Bow Ties for Your Staff?

Pre-tied bow ties are often confused with clip-on bow ties; for that very reason, many business owners consider them a substandard article of clothing, insisting instead that their staff should use self-tied bow ties.

Unfortunately, that’s quite a short-sighted decision. Self-tied bow ties do have their advantages, but there’s a reason they are worn more by guests at cocktail parties than by the people serving their food. Here are just a few important reasons why pre-tied bow ties will be better for your staff.

Ease of Use

Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, pre-tied bow ties are very easy to get on and off – all you need to do is fasten a piece of elastic around your neck and make sure the bow itself is centred underneath your chin. Not many people know how to tie a self-tied bow tie, and there’s really no point in having to go through lessons for each new staff member. A pre-tied bow tie is easy to slip on and off, and they can be fitted to different neck sizes in a flash simply by adjusting the elastic.

Perfect Every Time

The clothes that your staff wear are going to either positively or negatively affect your business. With a self-tied bow tie, you’ll find it hard to achieve a sense of uniformity since everyone will tie theirs a little bit differently. Some people might even get a little sloppy, and it’s not uncommon for a self-tied bow tie to noticeably loosen, especially when worn for long shifts. When you opt for a pre-tied style for your custom bow ties, everything is going to be perfect whenever the bow tie is worn.

Improved Safety

Your staff probably don’t work in an environment in which anyone is likely to reach out and grab their bow-tie in order to cause bodily harm, but it’s still worth remembering that pre-tied bow ties are a lot safer since they cannot form a choking hazard. Additionally, your staff may be working with younger children; if they reach up and grab a self-tied bow tie, it can be quite uncomfortable for your staff member to get themselves free.

Look Good with Travel Accessories

Summer is nearly here! Let’s hope we get a good one this year, so we can all get out and about and enjoy the sun. Are you planning a trip this year? Perhaps you are taking a holiday abroad or maybe at home? Or, it could be that you want to do some travelling, and need advice on what to take with you? Whatever you are planning, you need to look good, so here’s a few things we think you need that will help you look great while travelling!

The Right Clothes – this one isn’t just about looking good, but also wearing the right stuff. You want clothes that are right for the weather where you plan to go, so check ahead as to what you can expect. You also want to be comfortable, so make sure you buy your wardrobe in advance and try everything on before you go!

Sunglasses – of course we had to include this one, as nobody goes on holiday without a cool pair of shades! If you wear prescription glasses, head down to your optician and see what they can do for you – there are some really cool designer frames to be found in even the high-street discount shops!

Backpack – an essential, wherever you are heading, but the backpack need not be boring and staid – there are some excellent designs out there that look the part. Check out the great review of top 10 travel backpacks we found at Best Reviewer, a website offering reviews of a wide variety of items, including many travel items and gadgets. They give you a full run-down of the top ten in each category, along with pros and cons, a summary and an idea of what you should be paying, and they have some great reviews of stuff that might be good for your travels.

Yoga Mat – even if you don’t practise yoga, one of these very light, very cheap and extremely useful items looks great rolled up and hanging from the backpack, and is a great way of ensuring you have somewhere clean to sit wherever you might be. There’s a review of these are Best Reviewer, too, so you might want to take a look at that one as well as the backpacks.

That’s just a few ideas, and we’re sure you have many more, for things to help you look good on holiday, and they are all very practical too! If you check out Best Reviewer you will also find a whole load of other items that are travel-related, and you might find some of them very neat indeed. For example, travel speakers which can be used wirelessly to give great sound, and are very small, and even travel telescopes, for enjoying the night sky wherever you might be in the world.

Have a look at the reviews and you’ll see what we mean; there’s so much to choose from and you can get fully equipped for your trip away at very little cost.

Things You Should Do When Starting an Online Store

Starting an online store is ridiculously easy. Seriously, if somebody tries to charge you thousands for installing an eCommerce solution, just smack them. The hard part is getting search engines to care (ranking), getting customers to actually buy things (conversion), and keeping them coming back again (retention).

Here are 8 things you should do or consider when starting your own online store; but most are neither quick, nor easy – eCommerce is tough!

Choose Your System Carefully

Steer clear of specialized custom solutions built on obscure and old code – choose a system that’s popular, well supported, with a good community behind it, and which produces stunning looking shops. If you want to avoid any contact with code, a hosted platform like Shopify is a cinch to get up and running.

Optimize, Optimize & Optimize

Slow page load times mean loss of customers. If you’ve gone for a hosted solution when starting an online store, there’s not much you can do on this front and probably won’t need to – but when you’ve set up shop using WordPress or another self-hosted system, optimizing the page load speed is absolutely essential.

Be Unique

At the very least rewrite all the product descriptions, and put your own spin on them; ideally, take your own product images. If you’re retaking product images anyway, take some from every angle and use this jQuery plugin to make a 360 view that can be rotated.

Check Out The Competition

This doesn’t just apply to eCommerce of course, but any website. Search a keyword you’re hoping to establish yourself in, and compare the results. If the pages are badly designed and outdated, congratulations – you’re in with a good chance of success selling in that niche, but you should still consider how you would be better if someone else decided to enter the space.

If they’re beautifully designed and clearly doing well, think long and hard about whether you can genuinely compete with them. What can you offer that they don’t already achieve?

Pay Special Attention To SEO

Bloggers have it easy – they can develop a persona, write hundreds of words a day of unique content, and if it’s good enough, they will come. eCommerce isn’t like that unfortunately – it’s particularly vulnerable to SEO problems, and many online stores have found themselves struggling in the relegation zone after the last few years of Google algorithm changes. Why?

  • Product descriptions tend to be short, leading to a small amount of actual on-page content – which can be considered “low quality” by search engines. Read more below on how to expand page content.
  • Product variants such as size or colour can generate unique URLs with effectively duplicate content. These should all be canonical(ised?) back to the main product page.
  • Products in multiple categories create duplicate URLs; again, ensure you’re using rel-canonical.
  • Product categories often span multiple pages and thousands of products – make sure all the items are indexed with correct use of rel=next and rel=prev tags.

Expand Page Content With Customer Input

Simply having a product image and short paragraph of description text is not enough anymore – but you will have a powerful resource that probably lies untapped – customers. Don’t underestimate peoples desire to share their opinions and actions shots of the product – especially if you offer prizes to the best submissions each month.

Black Milk Clothing, an online clothing business hosted at Shopify, is a great example of this. Each product has a distinct hashtag assigned, and the products themselves are incredibly “shareable” – you want to show them off.

When users share a photo and tag it on Instagram, it’ll appear on the product page. Why limit yourself to one product photo when you can have 20?

Implement Structured Data & Videos

Structured data or “rich snippets“, is special code added to a page to describe the kind of content – this might include videos, or average customer reviews. Include this markup on your page, and Google may use it (no guarantee) when the page appears in the search results.

Don’t just be another search result – stand out from the crowd!

Get a Social Presence

A little cliché perhaps – but everyone and their dog has a Facebook, and your store should too. It’s another direct marketing tool that you can and should use: interacting with customers, answering questions in an open and public way, offering sneak peaks into future products that will go on sale soon, and giving discounts.

Also consider pinning your best items to Pinterest, which is increasingly being used to drive sales.

It should also go without saying that a set of social share buttons on every page is basically essential at this point in time. Oh, and our free guide to marketing through social media is a probably a thing you should download, too.

No doubt about it – starting an online store that’s successful is tougher than ever, but these tips should help you somewhat on the path to sales success.

Update: men’s fashion

The lion’s share

Move, over football: rugby is rising up the style ranks. Ahead of the British & Irish Lions 2017 tour to New Zealand this summer, the official Lions outfitter Thomas Pink has unveiled a collection fronted by the former Irish centre Brian O’Driscoll. From smart shirts and blazers to socks and boxers, the limited-edition line takes its cue from what the squad will be wearing off the pitch. Check out the polo shirts, available in four colourways, each representing Ireland, England, Scotland or Wales (€110). The man of the match award goes to this burgundy velvet dinner jacket, which boasts a newsprint-style silky lining featuring Lions trivia and quotes from BOD himself.

€160 each; 

Poetic licence
It might be based in London, but the bag brand Stighlorgan is keen to hold onto its Irish roots. For each collection, Dublin-born poet Davin Gaffney supplies lyrical inspiration, then the designers, Christian Bourke and Yvonne Li, take over. This season, Gaffney’s ode to the planet Pluto has inspired a range that promises sleek sophistication at less than astronomical prices.

Making an entrance
Stella McCartney debuted a collection for men this season, and in Ireland, it’s available exclusively at Brown Thomas, Dublin. Expertly cut tees, shirts and jackets come in organic cotton, sustainable viscose and recycled nylon, all topped off with quirky touches such as pop motifs and contrasting embroidery.

Embroidered bomber jacket, €1,450, and swallow appliqué shirt, €575, STELLA McCARTNEY; brownthomas.com