Uniformal - Adapting to Business During COVID-19 Crisis

Uniformal - Adapting to Business During COVID-19 Crisis

While CoronaVirus has dramatically changed the way we all do business, some small businesses have been agile and innovative to adapt their product offering during these unprecedented times.

uniformal case study

These days many uniforms signify the hugely important role countless people are playing in this fight against COVID-19. But while those in the medical, emergency, retail, postal and delivery sectors – to name just a few – are quite literally keeping society going, the demand for new uniforms has petered out.

Supplying bespoke and premium ready-to-wear uniform solutions to Irish businesses for the past three decades, Uniformal, backed by Local Enterprise Office South Dublin, saw a decline in demand with many of their clients in the hospitality and corporate sectors having to close their doors for periods of time during the crisis.

Recognising the demand for PPE, the Dublin-based firm decided to diversify and began producing antibacterial reusable face-masks with an anti-microbial finish.

Supported by their LEO with a Business Priming Grant, the company had expanded into a derelict unit where they installed their new state-of-the-art design studio and manufacturing facility, which Chiara Keating realised was perfect for their new production line.

“I’m a get-things-done kind of person, and inaction stresses me out, as I feel a real loss of control when I’m not addressing problems,” she says. “As I was seeing what was happening in the world, I started planning a strategy for our business to cope with the changes. This planning had three benefits for me: It kept me busy, distracted me from the horror of what was happening, and provided a solution for the company.”

So, although some staff had to be let go temporarily, changes were swiftly made as Uniformal began to address the increasingly changing demand and now, not only have those employees been reinstated, but others are being employed.

“Together with our head of design, we created a reusable antimicrobial face mask (and other PPE) and made the decision to retool our production line to manufacturing them,” says Keating.  “Having sourced the correct specialist materials and rearranged machines in line with social distancing protocols, we brought back our staff and are now hiring more machinists.”

“We are experiencing huge demand and have been able to stay open through the crisis and create more jobs. But most importantly we are really happy to be contributing to something positive during such a difficult time. We have set the wholesale price for the reusable masks so it covers the cost of the raw materials and manufacture and we distribute them here in Dublin in the hope that we can have a positive impact during the crisis and that our business and staff will still be here when all this is over.”