By Cheryl G. Murphy, OD
February 4, 2015
Wearing your logo, or clothing with images of eyewear, communicates the passion and excitement you have for what you do. It also can help you gain exposure for your practice and brand.
Current fashion trends have made glasses chic, and the recent increase in availability of apparel and novelty items that feature glasses reflect that. About 10 years ago, I would see the occasional eye chart tie or eyeball pen, but that was about it. Now, I can walk into a retail store and buy a shirt with a glasses-themed design on it right off the rack. It’s an optometrist’s dream come true, and I have certainly been stocking up.
Dr. Murphy says clothing, like this custom-made skirt with her cats eye glasses logo, can highlight your practice brand. She says it’s an easy way to show off what you do.
However, if you want to take your love for wearing all things eye-related to the next level, you could consider having a one-of-a-kind item with your logo made on it. I had a skirt custom made two years ago that features a repeating pattern of my logo depicting two pairs of cute cat eye glasses. I started using this logo on my professional social media accounts and on my blog back in 2008. It represents my professional persona, and is a way help people recognize the brand that I built for my science writing.
Although it ended up costing me about $140 to have made, I have worn my custom-made logo skirt many times, not only to work as an optometrist, but also to Vision Expo East, where I work as a reporter. Additionally, I have worn it to a New York State Optometric Association dinner where I received an award. The skirt is always a big hit. Many women ask me where I got it or remark that they want one. When I tell them it’s not in stores because it’s a one-of-a-kind item featuring my logo, they often ask me: “How did you do that?” Or: “How can I do that with my logo?” I happily explain.
Custom fabric printing is easy thanks to web sites like spoonflower.com. I signed up for a free account there and clicked “create.” I then uploaded a JPEG image of my logo (after I edited it, erasing my name out of the logo and leaving only the glasses to enhance its aesthetic appeal). I also verified that it was my own design, and not copyrighted or used by anyone else but me. Once you have uploaded your image, you can then use their web site’s software to turn that image into a repeating pattern (of which there are a few styles) and you can enhance or further edit the image through various effects. When you are satisfied with the sample picture of how your fabric would look, you select the type of fabric you would like to have it printed on. I chose “linen-cotton canvas” at the advice of my seamstress since it is slightly thicker and heavier than basic cotton.
The different types of fabrics are displayed and explained on their web site. Even with linen-cotton canvas, you may want to add a lining to the fabric later, particularly if it is going to be sewn into clothing. Things like tote bags or a scarf made out of their lightweight cotton may not require any additional lining or backing. After you’ve chosen the fabric type, you have to determine how much fabric you would like to order. You can order test swatches (8 inches by 8 inches) for about $5, fat quarters (27 inches by 18 inches) for about $12 or by the yard for about $24. The prices for each size of fabric vary with the type of fabric you choose, and linen cotton canvas is one of the more expensive ones. To make a skirt like mine you would need about one to two yards of fabric (the seamstress creating your skirt would be able to tell you how much depending on the size of skirt they need to make).
Dr. Murphy poses in a custom-made skirt featuring her cats eye glasses logo. Dr. Murphy says eyewear-themed apparel makes a great addition to an appearance at a trade show, or other industry event.
The seamstress I work with is someone who I found on a web site called Etsy where you can connect with many talented artists who sell their work. I saw that she had literally thousands of spectacular reviews and messaged her to ask her if she did custom work. I then ordered the fabric from Spoonflower and had it sent directly to her. I would definitely recommend finding a seamstress before you even order any fabric as they can share their expertise and advice throughout the entire creative process. The seamstress used my measurements to create and sew the skirt and I have been delighted with it ever since I received it two years ago. I am currently collaborating with her to make me another.
Having an item of clothing made on custom-printed fabric can be pricey, so if you are not willing to make a such a large investment, there are other things you can have made which cost much less such as ties, bow ties, totes, scarves, purses or clutches. These items require less fabric, and take less time for an artist or seamstress, who is well versed in making such things, to make.
You could also use a site like CafePress or a printing company to add your logo to baseball caps, mugs, and even a case for your smartphone or tablet.
As with everything, you have to decide whether or not you feel the return on the investment will be worth it for you or your practice. If you feel having something custom made is too pricey, there are certainly plenty of glasses and even eye-themed articles of clothing, bags and other accessories on sale in stores now, so get it while it’s hot! I can tell you from experience, wearing eyeglasses- and vision-related apparel is certainly a conversation starter and great to wear to networking events with other healthcare professionals. It also shows potential patients that you truly love what you do, and that display of passion can be meaningful.
What items have you put your logo on? What has garnered the most attention? Have you ever thought “outside the box” and put your logo on something other than the standard polo or button-down shirt? Have you ever had something custom made with your logo or branding like a smartphone case, tie or skirt?