You’ve heard the old cliché, ‘guilt by association’, to describe how the effects of bad behaviour rub off on everyone in the vicinity. We prefer the phrase ‘success by association’ – where the success of one builds success for all.
That intention is the heart of mission statements of every industry association: do good, so that our members can do better. Each association is striving to make things easier or more productive for its members in this time of upheaval, so we asked them to share what they’ve been doing. It’s a good time to recommit and reconnect with the association that best serves your business.
We have produced a series of infographics to help illustrate the environmental value of isolation gowns, surgical gowns, cleanroom coveralls and surgical drapes. These specifically illustrate the data published in our peer-reviewed life cycle assessment (LCA) studies and are available at no charge for everyone (since Covid). The LCA on surgical drapes was produced by ARTA member Eurotape; ARTA is creating the infographic for this, which will be available in September.
In addition, ARTA is working on a Conversion Bible: A How-to Convert to Reusables for Healthcare Laypersons (clients).
An LCA and related infographic is in the works for incontinence pads.
As soon as the shutdown began, we posted a flash website for brides that also serves as a business model for our members. The site stresses the importance of pick-up and delivery service for brides, and since something like 67% of 2020 wedding events have been postponed, the site also suggests postponement packages for brides. Some brides need safe storage for their never-worn gowns until the postponed date, while others need care for gowns worn at a small ceremony to make them ready for a celebratory event in 2021.
Obviously, due to the loss of jobs and the huge increase in teleworking by those who do have jobs, it may be months and months before ordinary garment count gets back to anywhere near normal, but we have been encouraging our members to focus for now on making themselves ever more attractive to brides. Even if brides limit themselves to a small wedding, they will wear a wedding dress and will want a specialist to care for that dress. Of course, we help our members set themselves apart from ordinary cleaners in many ways, but in particular we provide them with deeply discounted vendor listings at the top wedding websites. We have been reminding our members that now is the time to freshen those listings (as well as their own websites) with new photos and five-star reviews. We know, too, there is an art to acquiring reviews and attracting search engines. In our chat room we exchange lots of sample Instagrams and good ideas, tips and tricks for accomplishing both those goals.
In an ordinary year the Association would represent our members at the bridal markets in Chicago and New York, where we acquaint designers and manufacturers with our gown-care label program and talk with bridal shops about our members’ services. This year these markets have been cancelled but, in October, The Knot Worldwide is offering a virtual market with educational events, and the Association is taking a showroom. We will also be the exclusive sponsor of educational events that will be seen by many thousands of designers, shops and brides.
Best of all, we have made our members aware that, for 2021, wedding industry experts project a 30% increase above the usual number of wedding events. Meantime, we are not only helping our members enhance their appeal to brides but also offering terms for dues until the way forward is brighter for each of us.
CFA has taken on the responsibility of ensuring that our members are continuously brought up-to-date on the progression of the pandemic and how it is affecting their business as well as their health and safety. We have petitioned both the federal and provincial governments to consider our industry an essential service. We are proud to say that all the provincial governments and the federal government were in agreement and have done so, and have officially recognized our efforts. In appreciation of this designation, many of our members were encouraged to reach out to their customers to offer additional services such as pickup and delivery, as well as convert their alteration and sewing departments to manufacturing PPE masks for front line health care workers.
Our association, realizing the possible health and safety risks to attendees at our upcoming conference in October, decided to postpone the actual conference until next year. However, we decided to present a virtual conference webinar to keep our members up-to-date with current and future regulations, dealing with the loss of sales and how to grow their sales back. CFA continues to research all areas that can be adapted to our industry, provide our members with the ability to build their business, and promote their knowledge and abilities to provide the highest quality cleaning, pressing and service available in our industry.
We have already provided a webinar from our corporate lawyers to our membership on how to relate to their employees while returning to previous and future work schedules. CFA will continue to pursue all measures to assist our members to maintain their business.
CANADIAN LAUNDRY ALLIED TRADES ASSOCIATION (CLATA)
CLATA has temporarily put on hold all in-person meetings, seminars and, of course, the annual Golf Tournament. Meetings have adopted the Zoom format and they will continue until the way is clear for the usual meeting format. We are still a viable organization, but digital only at this time.
The Association is in the process of planning a series of Zoom seminars/meetings to take place this fall with a variety of subjects of interest to our members. Non-members would also be welcome to attend.
Additionally, our website is being updated with more relevant and timely information, including links to other social media sites.
The first thing we did when the states were shut down is make sure all staff were set up to communicate with members from home. During all this, the biggest thing has been communication and getting as much information as we could out to members on financial packages that may help, status of whether they can stay open for business, and information as they deal with very different employee issues. So we ramped up our emails, instituted Zoom calls with members, all in an effort to stay in touch with them and, more importantly, for members to share with one another. Sometimes the only thing you want to hear when you are dealing with a crisis is that you are not alone – members have learned so much from one another.
We started doing stain removal and finishing on Facebook Live; webinars on marketing; wash, dry, fold; equipment repair; routes – topics to help members get business in the door and also train or cross train employees while business was slow. We are very fortunate that experts in the industry were willing to share with our members.
The biggest thing we did was making sure we were in touch with members.
TRSA, the Association for Linen, Uniform and Facility Services, immediately responded to the Covid-19 crisis and shutdown by leveraging its advocacy efforts to earn the industry recognition as a Critical/Essential Business at the federal and state levels.
We hosted nearly 30 webinars (led by health, safety and market sector experts) regarding trends and best practices, attracting more than 2,000 individual participants; we launched a Coronavirus Resource Center with communications and training materials, and links to vital state and federal agencies.
The association facilitated more than 20 industry-specific meetings with subject matter experts, culminating in an Industry Strategic Town Hall.
We conducted bi-weekly Business Pulse Surveys benchmarking the Covid-19 impact and recovery, and communicated weekly with international colleagues to share information and develop industry safety and operational best practices.
TRSA raised awareness of the industry’s commitment to hygiene and cleanliness, including briefing the Office of the Vice President on the benefits of reusable PPE gowns and scrubs for a more sustainable supply chain, reaching nearly 150 million people through television, print, electronic and social media, including a cover story in USA Today.
Finally, TRSA is leading recovery with market-specific task forces and coordinated restaurant and hotel reopening guidance and animations.
Resources are available to you through your associations. Connect, engage, succeed.
Becca Anderson spent 17 years in public relations, advertising and corporate PR before joining Fabricare Canada in 2000. She was named editor in 2013, and welcomes feedback about the magazine via the contact form on this site.