Thursday, April 11, 2013

Don't loose Money replacing lost Uniforms - Get Clothing Labels Instead

My daughter came home from school with an extra sweater in her book bag. She told me that she didn't think it was hers, but that the teachers at the after school program kept putting it in her cubby. Upon a brief investigation, I found that it was a navy Land's End cardigan identical in brand and style to one she owns and wears often; however, it belonged to her friend. How did I solve this great mystery, I looked at the tag. Her Mom was smart and placed a label on the tag. Why I was the only one to check? Well - that remains a mystery. I sent it back to school with her with instructions to return it to her friend directly or to one of the teachers in her classroom pointing out the tag.  I'm sure her friend was glad to have the sweater returned.

This incident reminded me of an article I came across recently out of the UK. Research by label retailer, My Nametags, published in February 2013 "shows that the average family could spent up to £150 this school year replacing lost school uniform… yet 64% of parents don't bother to use name tags to prevent this." Twenty percent of survey respondents with children indicated that they regularly loose items of school clothing. The press release smartly implies that parents can save money in the long run by spending a small amount of money on clothing labels.

The findings of the My Nametag's research, although self promoting, were in line with a similar study by Sainsbury's, a UK superstore. This 2012 study found that "British primary school pupils lose a staggering £187m worth of uniform every year". They reported that "two thirds of parents polled said they lost uniform, which had never been found, while one in five said this happened in their child’s first week."

This problem is not unique to the UK. This spring as I was visiting the school for parent teacher conferences, the school had set up a clothing rack in the entrance and hung out all of the clothing  items from the lost and found bin in hopes that parents might recognize items they thought were lost for good.  Although I commend the school for their efforts to reunite lost items with their owners, I'm hoping to raise the odds that any our lost items will be returned to us.

So now, as we prepare for summer camp, I'm thinking it is a great time for me to purchase some clothing labels.  I am finding many personalized iron-on labels and sew in labels that claim to stay put in the washer and dryer.  Many companies also offer labels for shoes, food containers, and other things that could benefit from being labeled. As I browse these company's offerings, I recall that one of the  uniform exchange programs I've come across warns not to use iron in labels in items you plan to donate to the exchange, simply because they are so hard to remove. As an alternate, I am finding that some of these companies offer a stick on label that you place on the clothing tag.  They claim that the label will stay on though the washer and dryer. I think I would like to get a combo pack that includes both iron on labels and tag stickers.  I have to say that I am surprised at the price of the stickers sets, especially when you factor in shipping charges.  But as my own story demonstrates, my daughter's friend would have been out a $35 sweater if it hadn't been for that name tag.

Here are some links to companies that offer personalized clothing stickers:

Emily Press Labels
Iron On Camp
Kiddo Tags
Label Your Stuff
LeeLee Labels
Mabel's Labels
Name Maker
Name Bubbles
My Nametags (although UK based, they do ship internationally)
Stuck on You

Tell me about your experience with these companies and their products? Are there others that I should check out? Please let me know in the comments below.

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