I've spent what at times feels like a lifetime selling workwear in all it's guises and at all levels of the market. I've sold workwear at retail, wholesale and distributor level. I've sold workwear in almost every country in Europe and at all price levels. Of this workwear the biggest selling individual product is always the work trouser. It doesn't matter what country, what retail channel or what price you're selling at, the work trousers are always the biggest selling product, both by quantity and value.
And of this biggest selling product, work trousers, the single best selling style of trouser is the kneepad pocket trouser. The knee pocket on the trousers is designed to hold in place the separately sold knee pad
s. The pads themselves are usually made of polyethylene making them lightweight, durable and comfortable when the wearer is in a kneeling position.
The kneepad pocket work trouser was initially designed by Matti Viio when he started the Snickers workwear company in Sweden in 1975. His career as an electrician had highlighted to him that while the demands of his work and the tools to complete it had evolved over time the workwear he was issued with by his employers had not. So being the resourceful chap that he was, he designed his own. The Snickers Workwear was an immediate success due to its innovative and practical products and the kneepad pocket work trouser was the iconic product.
Over the next few decades the brands reputation spread and other brands were 'inspired' to offer similar style trousers.
So far so good.
But over the last twenty years that I've spent selling the trousers I've noticed that less than 20% of the customers buying them actually buy the knee pads that are supposed to go into them. Initially I assumed that they were buying replacement trousers and already had kneepads, but over time I've realised that this is simply not the case. Whenever I ask why they don't buy the knee pads the reply is usually that the double layer of fabric is sufficient for their needs or that the trousers are bought for comfort and durability and the knee pad pockets are a bonus.
It's almost reached a stage now where the status and appe
arance attached to the knee pad pocket trousers is more important than their original purpose.
The wonderful world of workwear can sometimes be a strange place.
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