Ladies, if you work in an office or a similar environment where smart clothing is de rigeur, finding suitable work clothes is fairly easy. If you work in an industry where your work clothes need to be tough, waterproof and safety orientated, your choice is limited – often resulting in wearing menswear or unisex that isn’t always flattering or comfortable. Mad4Tools – a shop renowned for its quality tools and workwear, has just expanded into womenswear launching a new range of high quality workwear that is not only stylish and feminine, but has paid attention to the cut of the garment as well as featuring safety requirements of the highest standard. I spoke to Mad4Tools director, Paul Swain, to find out more … welcome Paul…
Hi! I am Paul Swain, director of Mad4tools.com; passionate about providing an online one stop shop for quality tools, equipment and workwear for all.
Mad4Tools are an online tools and equipment store launched in 2012. What gave you the idea to expand into women’s workwear for 2015?
When we first launched our website we did offer some standard workwear and safety boots for women although it was largely just men’s clothing described as womens (not by us, I’d hasten to add). Though we did receive interest in the womenswear we felt that, after having had several conversations with regular customers and contacts in the industry, there is a gap in the market place for more stylish and fitting workwear much like what is available for men. After speaking with our suppliers about this last year, it was confirmed that for winter 2014/15, Scruffs would launch a brand new stylish and fitted range of safety boots and clothing as a starter into the womens market.
Your womenswear collection is supplied & designed by Scruffs who are known for providing innovative safety footwear & clothing for tradesmen. What did you feel was so special about adding their ladieswear collection to your repertoire?
We already supply Scruffs safety boots and clothing and since 2003, it has become the largest workwear brand in this industry. This is because the clothes are generally of high quality, very well thought out from a functionality point of view and look great as well with some bold designs and styles. The range that has been released is the tip of the iceberg also as this is just an initial range to see what works and is popular. On top of this Scruffs are known for doing things properly by not cutting corners and providing good details on what makes each garment or boot better or different from the next.
I must admit I do love the Goliath Cleo Pink Ladies Waterproof Safety Boots – very trendy & fine looking yet exude high safety requirements including being oil and slip resistant. What ladieswear or footwear seems to be going down well with your lady customers?
Yes, the Cleo safety boots have always been popular. They were with us from our initial range of womens workwear and safety boots. These have been supplied to customers all over the world. Of the new Scruffs range, the Edens have been significantly more popular. Two of our most popular items of womens clothing currently are the Scruffs Women’s Executive Jacket and the Scruffs Women’s Worker Plus Black Trousers.
When it comes to workwear – what item seems to be most popular bought by your male customers?
Safety boots always out sell work clothing. For us, the most popular currently being the Switch Back Safety Boots available in brown, tan and black finish and second to safety boots are our Trade Work Trousers. Currently the standard trade trousers are being phased out for a new breed of trousers regarded as a 3D Trade trousers as the trousers are cleverly made so that the trousers better fits the shape of your leg and that pockets and knee pads are off set so that when the user is wearing them, the pockets are angled in such a way that things do not fall out of them or dig into the side of your leg; also the knee pad area is at a slightly different angle also so that it stays in position when in the crouched/kneeling position. That on top of the standard high quality reinforced stitching in high pressure areas and other great rip resistant materials, it makes for a great new type of trouser.
Scruffs design their workwear to provide fashion inspired trousers, tops, base layers, shirts and rain suits made from active performance materials. Have you had any unusual stock requests from customers though?
We had a customer in Singapore that wanted the Cleo safety boots to confirm that the ones we were selling were legitimate Goliath safety boots as there were some counterfeit ones on the market in Singapore and they did not meet the high safety standards that are delivered in the Goliath safety boot range. Obviously we reassured her that we only deal with the manufacturers so all our products are legitimate.
You offer worldwide delivery. What work safety clothing/footwear is most popular overseas?
We have a customer in the Philippines who buys a lot of Acid Safety wellington boots from us as well as chemical safety suits – these are arguably the most popular products for us internationally currently.
What work clothing/footwear can we look forward to seeing online for Summer 2015?
We have a range of professional trade work shorts coming out in the Summer and a new range of men’s Scruffs safety boots. We also have a new Active Wear T-Shirt with 50+ SPF protection as well as being light weight and moisture wicking.
Hypothetically speaking, what famous person would you love to have as the “face” of Mad4Tools/Scruffs?
Lee Evans, because he is the sort of guy you could imagine running on stage with a chainsaw in his hand much like our mascot Madly. However, we wouldn’t want Madly to feel second best, so we might have to have Lee Evans in a Madly suit. 😉
Being in the tools/equipment industry for over 30 years, what was the best piece of business advice you ever received? And dare I say it, the worst (in respect that you followed the advice but it didn’t work out as you hoped)?
This advice is not necessarily just business, but the best piece of advice I had was to not give up, you don’t get anything worth having without hard work. Worst advice, this is a hard one for me, even something that goes badly based on a suggestion I don’t necessarily believe it was bad as I always take something away from the situation, though one was that we should get a large stock of one particular heater into stock this winter as they sold out last winter and we still have a lot of them now!
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
It’s fair to say that I don’t go shopping enough or as much as I would like. I tend to wear Diesel brown leather shoes, jeans, a polo shirt and a thin but warm coloured jumper. I have been know to wear the odd floral shirt also.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?
I don’t necessarily favour any particular sites, in fact I’d prefer to shop somewhere a bit off the beaten track so sometimes you can get some great different stuff through eBay and Amazon from international retailers. Delivery times are somewhat extended although you do end up with something you don’t see on the high street every day. I do, however, buy a few things from ASOS.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
I could really do with some casual trainers and a gilet.
Boots or Shoes?
Boots. I’m not sure if it’s because I played a lot of basketball when I was younger or what, but I prefer the feel of a boot. Although saying that, for the office, where I spend most of my days, a shoe.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about Mad 4 Tools and Scruffs.
You can find us on Facebook by searching for Mad4Tools.com and you can follow us @mad4toolscom. Our website is mad4tools.com.
Thank you very much for speaking with us Paul. It’s an area of womenswear I never really considered before but there was definitely a gap in the market for decent workwear for women in industries that are not office based and I’m so pleased that Scruffs have stepped up to the challenge. What do you ladies think? Do let me know!
Photo Credits : Published with kind permission of Mad4Tools.com/ Scruffs Womenswear