What is the process and how long does it take?
The when is easy…
as early as possible in the term before the last term at the school. So, assuming they leave in July then shortly after starting back to school following the Christmas period. If you start the process of actually ordering then you should have a fairly relaxed time of it.
It is probably best to have created your shortlist of two or three possible suppliers before that. The half-term before Christmas is a great time to be looking at websites, talking to companies, and getting quotes. Also, if this is your first time buying the hoodies for school leavers take the opportunity, if it is possible, of talking to last year’s experienced hoodies organiser to find out what went well and what didn’t.
Why so early I hear you ask? Because the later you leave it, assuming you are the ‘fortunate’ person to be managing the process, the more stressful it gets. The more pressure you will be under and the fewer suppliers able to meet your requirements without charging you a premium.
You have probably got the task of organising the hoodies purchase because you are either well organised or have shown signs of being well organised. Well, collecting input from lots of people and changing your records when they realise that they made a mistake is likely to test the best organised amongst us. You know that getting input from 50, 100 or 250 kids is going to be like herding cats. When you factor in the parental input necessary then things get even more complicated and drawn out.
While ordering the leavers hoodies before Christmas does happen a fair bit the majority of orders are definitely placed from January through to April. With a few stragglers placing their orders in May and, in some cases paying a premium for leaving it to the busiest time for the garment companies.
How to buy leavers hoodies
I want to tell you two stories…
First, Almost a Disaster…
Max got the job of organising the leavers hoodies for Year 6. It wasn’t going to be a big deal it wouldn’t take much effort and it wouldn’t be a hassle. Unfortunately for Max last year’s organiser wasn’t contactable to discuss the project. So this was going to be ‘from scratch’.
So, wary of running out of time, Max started the process in mid-February – plenty of time until the last week of term in mid-July. The first task was to find a suitable supplier. Max spent a couple of weeks researching on-line and came up with a short-list of 5 possible suppliers. The selection criteria had been primarily based on Cost per hoodie advertised on the sites but Max had taken account of how professional the websites had looked too. At this stage, Max didn’t feel the need to talk to the prospective suppliers.
Having identified prices, for what Max assumed would be acceptable to the parents of year 6, an email was sent to all the parents. By mid-March still only a handful of replies had come back to Max. Still plenty of time. No worries. By the end of March Max realised from the roughly 50% responses received that the hoodies chosen weren’t what was wanted. Oops, back to the websites.
By Easter Max had identified the best supplier for the hoodies required. Rather than pay the little extra for a customised shop which one supplier offered, conscious of the pennies and the parents’ wishes to keep costs down, Max sent out another email to the parents looking for confirmation of Size, Colour, and Personalisation required on each hoodie.
Again, it took a while for the responses to come back to Max. After 3 weeks though, 95% of the parents had replied, following a couple of chaser emails. Now Max realised that the other 5% were going to need some ‘manual intervention’. Each family was called. The majority responded within the requested couple of days following the conversation with Max. However, the hardcore took a further week and a half.
Finally, Max had the details for all of the hoodies required. The order was raised with the hoodie supplier. Well almost. Now, because it was well into May things got a little hairy with the chosen company. They didn’t actually print and embroider the garments in-house – and their subcontracted supplier was now full for orders for the targeted delivery date of 10 days before the end of term.
But it was sorted in the end. Max got the hoodies delivered on the last Friday of term. The ones for kids who had already left the school a little early, because it was important to get away for the family holiday, were delivered by hand, by Max, through the rest of the summer.
Phew – looking back Max realised that the no-sweat, no hassle expectation had been a traumatic nearly 5 months. With the hoodies occupying plenty of sleep hours as well as all of the waking ones.
Second, Smoothly does it…
Min was happy to get the job of organising the leavers hoodies for year 6. Last year’s organiser Max had spent an hour plus talking through the issues faced and making suggestions about how it might go more smoothly. It sounded to Min like Max had narrowly averted a disaster.
By Christmas Min had spoken to three potential suppliers identified by her online research. Her primary selection criteria had been quality of service, support, and then price of the hoodies. Garment samples for the hoodies Min was going to buy were in School and parents were invited in to have a look and feel. Feedback in the first week of January was very positive. Min had also laid out, in the email inviting the parents to see the sample hoodies, the timing of each step so that the parents could see what was going to be needed and by when.
By the end of January all the parents, except the hard-core, had replied. Min contacted the intransigents and chased the necessary information out of them by mid-February. Unlike Max, Min had gone for the ‘School Shop’ approach offered by one of her potential suppliers. The company created a simple website with the chosen two garment options, allowing selection of colours and sizes by the parents. Each of the parents then ordered their child’s hoodie (or more than one in a couple of cases). They specified the name to be printed onto the chest of the hoodie. And they paid!
Max had explained to Min how much hassle it had been collecting the money for the hoodies. It had been almost as bad as getting the parents choices for size, colour, and personalisation.
Min knew that without the input of Max the ‘School Shop’ might not have been the preferred choice for the process. Max had made it clear how much hassle the process had been without using that option and Min had not hesitated.
The hoodies were delivered on-time, two weeks before the end of term. All the kids took them home and wore them on the last day of school.
After everything was sorted Min compared this year’s price for the hoodies with those Max had bought last year and there were a couple of pennies different. Min’s were just a little cheaper!
Hoodies for your leavers
Well, the two stories above show there are at least two options. One, do everything yourself and two, enlist the experts at the chosen suppliers to help you make the process easier. There are various ways that a good supplier can help depending on what support you need.
- Providing a School Hoodies Shop for you to point your parents to for the selection and ordering.
- Providing online forms to collect the information necessary while you manage the payments side of things
- Providing offline forms for your use
In all cases you will need to
- specify the rules for what is to be allowed on the hoodie
- provide the school crest and any other image required
- provide the full list of names if there is going to be a name design on the back
Most suppliers will do a single drop delivery to the school. However, if there is a driving reason why home deliveries are needed then there will usually be an additional charge and the School Hoodie Shop is probably the only option for ordering.
If you would like to order your leavers hoodies from us we would love to hear from you. Either
- use the navigation to find the hoodies you are interested in and request a quote by clicking on the Quick Quote button available on each product page, or
- if you are expecting to order more than 100+ hoodies and would be interested in having a Hoodies Shop created for your School Leavers then please complete the form on SETTING UP A SCHOOL LEAVERS HOODIES SHOP
Please note: We do realise that, for many reasons, it is not always possible for the order for leavers hoodies to be placed as early as shown above.
However, unlike many other businesses who sell leavers hoodies, we do all of the decoration and personalisation work in-house. This means that we can be more flexible than many businesses when it comes to shorter deadlines.
It is always worth asking us to see if we can deliver your order to meet your short deadline requirements.