The 3 Biggest Headaches with Club Uniforms (And How to Fix Them!)
Updated: Feb 11
Aren’t you sick of how expensive club hockey is? And how expensive is it for clubs (and their members) to buy uniforms? And god knows where the space is to store it all! It’s time for a change.
Hockey in Australia is a sport of passion: players are not paid to play, clubs do not have extensive funding, there are no big-name sponsors; The game is being played, for the love of the game.
Clubs don’t have large fancy club rooms, in fact in most cities, every club in the area shares one or two turfs, at one location, with one facility. Even in cities where clubs do have their own clubhouse, they’re usually no larger than a three bedroom house! This causes a fair few logistical headaches when it comes to club uniforms and apparel. This article will address these pain points and the solutions to them, in the hope that every club can move towards a more professional, unified outfit, both on and off the pitch.
The game has undergone various rule changes, game structure variations, and the approach players have to the game. However, one aspect that has not changed is the approach to how clubs’ source, sell, and stock inventory. The associated issues with uniform are the:
Cost – Unreasonably high capital investment
Labour – Pain staking time, effort, and dull sorting process’
Storage – Lack of suitable space
We are about to embark on a journey that will investigate the great lengths clubs have to go through to organise playing uniforms and supporters apparel for their members, and if you have had any role within your club that involves managing uniforms, then you know the many pains associated.
To finish, this article will detail how FHL relieves every headache these problems create, saving members money, saving clubs tens of thousands of dollars, and giving the club a full range of supporter apparel.
Sound too good to be true? Read on…
Headache #1: No investment, all profit! Putting Cash back into Club Budgets
Club treasurers, presidents and concerned members, listen closely. Every time you source a new set of uniforms you have to pay thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars for your club, don’t you? And parents, how do you feel having to pay $90+ just for a playing uniform, on top of registration fees?
When you look at the cost that is required to order uniforms (on top of all the costs to run a club) it’s no wonder registration fees average over $500 a year.
If clubs didn't have to pay for a bulk order of inventory, they could be saving themselves tens of thousands of dollars every year with the solution from FHL.
Don’t believe me? Let’s do the numbers for those playing at home;
The average cost across major brands for a full playing uniform (Shirt, shorts/skirt & socks) is $80 ($40 shirt, $25 shorts, $15 socks) that’s $8000 per 100 members!
To charge a reasonable amount to members and still make a profit per item, the club can only add around 10% to the supplier price, this means the break-even point is at 90%! (How often do you think a club gets 90% of their members sizes right? If you’ve been through this, you know, it’s not often.)
Now what if I told you that there is a way to charge members that low price of $80 for a playing uniform, no premium added, plus give them the option of apparel like polos, puffer jackets, hoodies, leggings, cotton long sleeve shirts, WITHOUT THE CLUB DOING OR PAYING ANYTHING! That’s no financial or labour investment required from the club. We take the club out as the middle man, saving members $10-$20 on uniforms, and clubs tens of thousands of dollars!
On top of all the financial savings, the club will now have all its members walking around in their stylish new club long sleeve shirt or puffer jacket!
Intrigued in how we do it? You better keep reading then…
Headache #2: You have to store it right? WRONG!
Does your club have a clubhouse? It’s own change rooms? A shed?
If you’re like the majority of clubs in Australia, you do not. Even those of you who do, it doesn’t come close to the space required to store uniforms for your club member and is nothing compared to local teams in professional sports like AFL and basketball have, is it?
Most hockey clubhouses have around 250 square metres, the same as a nice 3 bedroom house, and about as much storage space as the linen closet.
Those of you who understand this logistical pain, please put your hair back in and listen up. What if you had the option to not store a thing? Or even the option to only store the bare essentials for those quick “fix ups” when a player walks in and they’ve forgotten their socks (Again!)?
“But, it doesn’t work that way!” I hear you protest. I agree, for those quick fixes, it doesn’t, clubs need stock on hand for those occasions. But how often does that happen throughout the year? 50 times? Imagine the difference in cost and space required between ordering and storing 50 or even 100 items for emergencies, instead of 600 items for every member at the club
Imagine what you and your club do with all that extra money? Save for a clubhouse? Get the lights over the turf fixed? Put it towards your own turf or two?! It’s your money to decide, we’re just giving you the power to dream big and save big!
I hope you’re starting to feel the relief we are aiming to provide and that there is a solution coming. It’s not just about space or money though, and before we get to how we do it, there’s one more headache we need to cover, and it’s the most mind-numbing of them all…
Headache #3: Say goodbye to counting inventory
“Volunteers are the heart and soul of clubs, and they’re hidden away in the closet counting inventory.”
I don’t think anything makes volunteers run for the hills faster than the words ‘stock take’. Hours are wasted year after year counting, organising, and recording stock. No one wants, nor needs this painstakingly boring task in their life!
Volunteer hours are limited as it is, they should be focused on maximising the things that really matter to the club!
The important thing is this; with the FHL solution, clubs and their volunteers have the power to focus on the tasks that move the needle, that really move the club forward - reach out to local schools and councils and attract more members, build a social media presence, or put time into cleaning and refurbishing the clubhouse so it looks better than ever! Every club has its needs, and the priority sure doesn’t need to be counting inventory.
Volunteers are the heart, soul, and engine of clubs, their efforts are superhuman, but all that effort and passion is often wasted in the inventory closet. We’re giving the power back to clubs and volunteers to do the things that make the club better than ever!
Are you excited to find out how!? You’re almost there!
We just have one more question to answer first..
Why Is It Like This!?
Why do all these headaches exist? Why do clubs have to fork out over tens of thousands of dollars to get new uniforms, only to do all the work to store, count and sell inventory?
It stems from two causes; the mentality of ‘It’s the way it has always been done’, and over-diversified suppliers that lack a focus towards hockey due to the larger competitors in AFL, Soccer, Rugby and a handful of other sports that are more popular than hockey in Australia.
Despite our success on the pitch, Australian hockey takes a back seat (maybe even the boot) to the likes of Soccer, Rugby League, Cricket, AFL, Netball, and probably 10 other sports. And just like the media and popular culture, suppliers don’t pay much attention to hockey, let alone club hockey.
‘The way things have always been done’ is a term thrown around a lot, it’s an easy, low-hassle upfront solution. But for tens of thousands of dollars out of a club's already small budget, isn’t it time to do things differently?
Well that’s the problem; nothing really changes, unless something changes. Like an article and a company that comes along and understands your frustrations on a level that is almost uncomfortably personal, and tells you that it is going to be okay and that things can change.
So why do we continue to do things the same way it has always been done and keep banging our heads against the wall in the process?
I’m here to tell you, the way things have always been done, is not the way things always have to be done! We can help you repair that hole in the wall, and put money back in your budget, so finally, let’s get going!
Field Hockey Label: The Panadol Solution to your Club Uniform Headache
By now, you may have laughed, or cried… but at the very least, I hope you have understood and related to these headaches that you and your club face year after year after year.
Now it’s time for change, to change the way it has always been done.
So how? Well, the Field Hockey Label team has developed a process that puts all the onus on us; we collect orders from your members, process their requests and then send them directly to your club all packaged in neat individual parcels for each member.
We have done this through a streamlined digital process, that allows a tailored approach for you and your club. We work with you, to create fully customised designs for any item you choose, and upload it to your very own store, created by us and shared to your members.
Once the store is live, members will be able to order their items and checkout just like a normal online store, then the order is made and processed by our factory and shipped directly to the club.
Now I know it sounds strange at first, “how can we not order and keep any inventory here and expect every member to buy?!” Well if you’re getting a whole new playing uniform, you would expect that members would have to buy it anyway, but at least with our process, every individual who orders through our store can order their exact size! Don’t worry, we’ll send you some samples to double check your size, we know how difficult getting the right fit can be, especially when every brand has different size guides.
Now we’re not naive, we always know there will be those few that appear from the woodwork the day before the season starts, or forget their socks (Twice!?). But once again, FHL have those painkillers on hand to dull the pain of the ‘unprepared member’ headache.
As mentioned in Headache #2, we fully expect the club to order it’s own set of inventory to prepare for that inevitable encounter. With FHL’s approach 95% of the club is already set-up with their gear, fitted and ready to go, and only 5% needs to be stored by the club for that ‘special’ occasion. And if you want to, you don’t need to keep a thing!
On top of that, the more members in a club, the more chance of not having enough of the right sizes in a bulk order because of all the guesswork involved. With FHL, there’s minimal chance of errors, and the less chance of error, the happier the club members.
The best thing about this, however, is that with an online store, and no need for storage or upfront costs, the club can now make items available to not only players, but members and fans, with items such as polos, cotton long sleeves, hoodies, puffer jackets, track pants, training shirts; every training and supporters gear you can think of! No cost to the club means no limit on the items available to members! It’s a no risk, all reward process for you and your members!
Imagine every parent, best friend and second cousin, all dressed in club apparel, cheering on the team! Can you see them, they all look good in that new club polo shirt, long sleeve T-shirt and puffer jacket don't they? That image right there, that’s the ultimate goal for us at FHL, bringing clubs together, for the love of the game.
Why would FHL do this?
So why would we give ourselves extra work? Why wouldn’t we just do what has always been done; send a bulk order, collect our money and be on our merry way?
Because my vision and goal for this company is to help hockey become a professional sport. I want to see clubrooms full of people in the one colour with the one emblem. I want to see training fields of unified teams working to be better. I want to see sidelines packed with members all in one colour, cheering on their team. I believe this evokes a certain amount of pride in your club - the same pride you feel putting on the jersey every time you run onto the pitch.
I see hockey club members and supporters in AFL, basketball and soccer supporters gear, it’s about time hockey gets some of its own!
And finally, it’s a win/win situation: Clubs get a unifying range of apparel to wear to training and games, to watch games, or even to dinner, and we get to see the pride, professionalism and eventually participation in club hockey grow to new levels, and that’s the bottom line.
We at FHL are for the player, the fan and ultimately, the love the game.
Running a club is expensive, it’s no wonder club fees can be so high! I hope you have been able to relate to at least one of the pain points mentioned in this article. To those of you who relate to all of them, I feel sorry for you!
Whether it’s the costs involved, the lack of storage space, the superhuman effort required by volunteers, or the lack of professionalism club apparel all of this equates to, I sincerely hope this article has offered you some insight into how you can better manage the uniforms and apparel process, and some relief knowing that there is a solution.
‘The way it’s always been done’ is not the way it always has to be done. We at FHL have a solution for you.
If you want to put tens of thousands of dollars back into the club bank account and get some professional uniforms and apparel. If your club is ready to change, get in contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org, on our website, or Field Hockey Label on Facebook and Instagram. We look forward to hearing from you.
All the best to you and your club for the 2020 season and beyond.
Alec Rasmussen | Founder