Yesterday we had a first of a kind meeting (for us). We pulled almost all of the full time clothing people and store managers and had an all day training meeting for them.
We started with a very interesting meeting on Carhartt Flame Resistant clothing. This is an area that we are growing very quickly in. They had quite a few videos in their presentation of mannequins getting burnt up and some real life pictures of injured people. The picture that amazes me the most is the one where a worker had rolled up the sleeves of his FR shirt. The exposed arm was blackened (ugh!). The skin underneath the shirt looked just fine.
One thing to keep in mind is that this isn't fireproof clothes. It will burn when there is a flame applied to it. However it self extinguishes through the magic of technology (meaning I don't understand it) within two seconds. The clothing will of course be ruined, but it should give a worker a chance at life.
After the FR program we had a lesson on displays of Carhartt merchandise. Carhartt is our #1 Vendor in both sales and gross profit. It's important that we do the best job possible with this line.
After that we shifted to workboots. We had factory representatives from Carhartt/Red Wing, Wolverine, Justin Boot, Georgia Rocky and Caterpillar Boots. We do great with all of those lines and it was really interesting to learn about all the neat advances in boot technology that they are offering.
A real growing area is waterproof boots. We were surprised to hear that they don't recommend treating waterproof boots with mink oil. That plugs the pores of the leather and make the boot hotter. Also the moisture will stay in the boot rather than leaving. They said you can use silicone or camp dry if you want to protect the leather.
The water proof boots generally have a layer of water resistant product (such as Goretex or a product that does the same sort of thing.)
They all agreed that wearing proper socks is vital in the case of waterproof boots. You don't want to wear a cotton sock, because it will retain moisture and get your foot wet (and cold). They recommend a layered system to pull the water away.
Clothing and boots are a growing category for us. We think that having more meetings just with the clothing sales team is the way to keep that going. Our next meeting will be via computer and we'll see how that goes for us.