Chef Works marketing team: Giving our products a voice

Over the coming weeks, the Chef Works® blog will give you an inside look at what it takes to bring a new launch from concept to market during this three-part series. The entirety of the series will focus on the launch of our Contemporary Collection and additions to our Urban Collection. Part 1 looked at the product development team and their inspirations for creation. This is Part 2. 

One of the most exciting aspects of developing a new line of apparel is creating a personality and identity for all of the garments. This was done through a collaborative process in the Chef Works® marketing room that involved a lot of doughnuts, late nights and an overabundance of creativity.

Customers were already craving a hospitality-centric collection of apparel that could fill more than just the culinary space – but also the entire hospitality market, including casinos, hotel chains and banquet halls. The product development team at Chef Works® spent more than two years creating the Contemporary Collection, which officially launched earlier this month to rave reviews.

But how do you give a collection of garments an identity? Plus, the 2020 launch also featured updates to the highly successful Urban Collection – which already had a distinctive look and feel with street-inspired textures and artisan fabrics.

That’s where the marketing team at Chef Works® comes in. This group was tasked with shaping the direction of the Contemporary Collection – from naming the products, writing product descriptions, scouting photo shoot locations and giving it an anchor in the hospitality space.

Chef Works® media manager and photographer Aaron Brown, left, works with a model during a studio photo shoot.

“The Urban Collection™ already had its own established voice and identity,” said Amanda Stuckey, vice president of marketing at Chef Works®. “You look at any of the Urban products or catalogs and you get a very distinct, edgy feel. There is an attitude that comes with Urban. For Contemporary, we opted to swap the edge for elegance and elevation.”

Inspired by the beauty of music and architecture, the “identity” of the Contemporary Collection began to form. Name ideas were researched and eventually paired with the product they most relate to. Take, for example, the product description for the Voce shirt (pronounced voh-chay).

Your voice – your voce – is unique to you. Take those unique experiences with you in the Voce Men’s Shirt. Designed for poise and performance, the Voce Men’s Shirt boasts subtle stripes that send a message without making a sound. It is the perfect front-of-house complement for caterers, hotels, servers and bartenders.

Compare that with the language used for the new Olympia Half Bistro Apron, part of the Urban Collection.

Every server and bartender needs an apron in their repertoire that deviates from the beaten path. Take a free-spirited approach with the Reversible Plaid Olympia Half Bistro Apron and explore the world around you. Fun and liberating, the Reversible Plaid Olympia Half Bistro Apron gives you everything you need to express yourself – twice!

“You’re talking about two unique looks, two unique voices and, really, two unique personalities,” said Aaron Brown, media manager and photographer for Chef Works. “When we shoot Urban products, we want to bring out that edginess with our models through their hair, makeup, posing and location.

“With Contemporary, it’s dramatically different and I think that really comes through with the upscale and elevated look of the line as a whole.”

Preparation from the marketing team started about a year before the actual launch, which included picking models and scheduling studio and lifestyle photoshoots, followed by months and months of refinement.

A lot goes into creating an identity for an apparel collection, like picking the right models, hair, makeup and shooting location. Models are photographed here in Logan Bistro and Half Bistro aprons, along with Malibu Shirts for women and men.

“By the time we launched, we had been working with these products for about six months and we had been thinking about them for 18 months,” said Stuckey with a laugh. “Our team is so talented in bringing these products to life and I’m so elated that we finally get to share them with the world.”

Along the way, there were plenty of chefs who stopped by to test the products and tell us what they did and didn’t like about them. From the Contemporary Collection – which is mostly hospitality based – chefs were amazed by the comfort and movability of the Brio Chef’s Bib Apron.

From the Urban Collection™, chefs, servers and bartenders were all enamored with the pops of color in the Medford Aprons and the versatility and functionality of the Seattle Bib Apron.

“For most of us in the marketing department, there is a real personal connection to these products because we’ve seen them evolve from an idea to a sketch to fabric sample to garment,” Stuckey said. “Our customers will see the end result – and it will be a shirt, apron, vest or banquet coat that is of the highest quality and functionality. There were a lot of steps and a lot of love that went into bringing those garments to life.”

Read Part 1: Conversation & Innovation

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