Key Apparel interview with Seth Needham

Listen to the Interview:

Links Mentioned in the Interview:

Key Apparel Website

Key ZoomCatalog

Contact information:

(800) 835-0365 X330

sneedham@keyapparel.com

Transcript”

Marty Hartman:
Welcome to the Supplier Spotlight interview. We are thrilled today to have Seth Needham with Key Apparel. Seth is the commercial sales representative for Key Apparel and we’re thrilled to have him take some time out of his busy schedule. Seth, welcome.

Seth Needham:
Thank you, Marty. Glad to be here.

Marty Hartman:
So Seth, you’ve got their attention at least for a few seconds. Give the elevator pitch to let people know why they need to listen to the rest of this podcast.

Seth Needham:
Okay. My elevator pitch I guess would be, Key has been around since 1908 and we’ve primarily been, in the past, retail stores have been our biggest customers. But I really think that 2020 is the year of the distributor. I am very excited about a lot of things that we have coming up in 2020 to help our distributors like Universal Unilink members grow their business and close more sales.

Marty Hartman:
I know our members are going to be glad to hear that. So for our members that aren’t familiar with Key, give a little bit of the history. What’s Key all about?

Seth Needham:
Okay. As I mentioned, we’ve been around since 1908 and we started out as a bib overall manufacturer. And over the years we’ve gotten into really a full line of workwear, blue collar, American workwear is what we’re all about.

Marty Hartman:
So who is a typical Key customer?

Seth Needham:
We’re really big in agriculture and also things like construction, manufacturing, places where you need a good, long-lasting but comfortable workwear. Think blue collar America where you can’t afford to have your clothes wear out after just a couple of months. And that’s what we’re all about is a product that is comfortable, but it also lasts a long time and we’re very proud of that.

Marty Hartman:
So your product line has been around for a long time, since 1908. How have things changed over the years?

Seth Needham:
Well, as I mentioned earlier, we started out as a bib overall manufacturer and then over the years we’ve added a full line. We’re really known for our outerwear. We have a great line of insulated outerwear. So if you’re working out in the cold in whatever mother nature can throw at you at that, we got you covered. So we’re really well known for that. We also have a good FR line, which includes everything from pants to shirts, coveralls, outerwear, everything in between. We also are big into high visibility, so a lot of your safety gear is things that we manufacture. Also a full line of work shirts, whether it be short sleeve, long sleeve. We have the classics like the chambrays, which is one of my favorite fabrics there is. And just everything in between. Like I said, pants, shirts, but especially the outerwear is what we’re known for.

Marty Hartman:
Our members are familiar with workwear from a variety of suppliers. How do you guys stack up against the competition?

Seth Needham:
I think we are one of the best values on the market. Kind of the most bang for your buck if you want to say that. We’re not the cheapest out there. We’re not the most expensive, but I do believe we bring a lot of value to the table where it’s a piece of workwear that is a decent price point, but it’s going to last a very long time and we’re not going to skimp out on the places that matter. So the places that have, for example, on jeans, the stress points on it, we have double pockets, triple stitching where it matters, the rivets where it matters. So all the little details that make the piece last a long time. I think that’s what separates us from the competition is we try and really look at where a garment will wear the most and then we put the reinforcement there. So that way you really have some value of something that will last a very long time.

Marty Hartman:
So what about inventory and where you’re shipping from? How easy is it to get product in hand?

Seth Needham:
Very easy to get product in hand. We are located just south of Kansas City, so we’re right in the central part of the United States. So it’s good shipping times wherever it’s going to in the nation, East coast, West coast, Midwest. Since we’re centrally located, we can usually get the product to you pretty quickly.

Marty Hartman:
And since you’re sending stuff out, if our members are interested in samples, is that something that you can work with them on?

Seth Needham:
Yes it is. Our sample policy is pretty easy. Give Seth a call. Like I said, 2020 is kind of the year of the distributor. So we know that that is something that people really need. We’re doing everything we can to help the distributor. And one of those things is samples where people want to touch things, people want to feel them, they want to try them on. We can help you with that. Absolutely. Give us a call, we’re going to get a sample out in your hands so your customer can try it out.

Marty Hartman:
So industrial laundry friendly, are your garments able to go through the wash?

Seth Needham:
Yes they are. Our garments are industrial laundry friendly. I know that industrial laundry, you need a tougher garment. So again, we are looking at all the stress points of a garment to make sure that they’re going to hold up to those conditions.

Marty Hartman:
So I’m sure both our laundries and our distributors would want to know if your garments can be decorated.

Seth Needham:
Yes, they can. We actually do a little bit of decorating in-house, embroidery and DTG printing. I would say though on decorating for Universal Unilink members that do that in house, give me a call first and I will send you out a sample and that way they can try it on their screen printing on their DTG printing, on their embroidery. Each garment is going to behave differently with the ink and different things. So the best answer I can give on that is give me a call, I’ll send you a sample. You can try it out for yourself because each fabric reacts differently to inks.

Marty Hartman:
That’s a great offer. What type of marketing tools are you giving to our members to help them make the sale?

Seth Needham:
This is a fun section for me. We have a, I think a full toolbox of tools that can help distributors. This is our first year to have a ZOOMcatalog, so it’s a catalog that’s online. It can be customized for the distributor. We also do a lot of things with social media, so if a distributor wants to advertise on social media, our graphic designer can put together a nice picture, a nice graphic that has their logo, their name, their contact information. We can do custom catalogs in house where we take the products that the distributor is most interested in showing their customers and we’ll put their logo on it, their contact information on it, we’ll print them up in house, send them right out to you.

Marty Hartman:
Really?

Seth Needham:
Other things we can do like that is brochures, postcards, all sorts of great things to help the distributor close the sale. Whether you need buy/sell sheets or catalogs, whatever it is. We can also help with digital advertising, which has been very popular. So a distributor has a company that they want to talk to about apparel. I can help with brand awareness campaigns, different things to prospect and get you guys in the door so you can close that sale and we can all have a good 2020.

Marty Hartman:
That’s great. So if members are interested in finding out more, how should they get in touch with you?

Seth Needham:
The best thing to do is just give me a call or send me an email. My phone number is 800-835-0365 and my extension is 330. If I’m not at my desk, it’ll ring twice and it’ll go straight to my cell phone and I will usually answer it. So or they can also send me an email sneedham@keyapparel.com.

Marty Hartman:
And I can attest to that. Seth does answer his cell phone even if he’s in the produce section of the store.

Seth Needham:
Yeah. I have talked to Marty at the grocery store before.

Marty Hartman:
That is correct. So before we go, anything else that you want to tell members about Key Apparel?

Seth Needham:
Just that I am very excited about 2020. We have added a lot of things to put the focus on the distributor. I personally feel that this channel is going to see tremendous growth this year. I am optimistic that it’s going to be great year for all of us if we work together.

Marty Hartman:
Seth, thank you very much for your time. We appreciate you giving our members more information and we encourage our members give Seth the call and check out Key Apparel.

Seth Needham:
Thank you, Marty. I appreciate it.