By James Preste, CheerFactor
We’re not talking warm-ups, we’re talking apparel.
Warm-ups have normally been used for a variety of sports. Dance and Gymnastics Teams have taken the lead, but Cheerleading and All-Star teams are now jumping on-board, being innovative on how they are used. Most teams have used them for practice, but now presenting their team all buttoned up; they are used as Walk-ons, or as a Traveling team identifier. Cheerleading coaches have found new versatility in designing a Warm-up as performance apparel, who want a distinctive "look" like no one else’s. Cheerleaders want a feeling of pride and a subtle confidence builder that a true "custom" Warm-up can provide. What better way to show your teams superiority, than in a Warm-up that turns the heads of your competitors and the judges alike.
For years clothing through mail order catalogs, uniform companies or in some cases local representatives sell Warm-ups available in sweatshirt fleece, a non flattering fabric, noisy/cold nylon and basic polyester. The problem, there is nothing new and exciting to separate your Gymnastics team and coaches have seen and tried it all.
Some companies talk about offering "custom" Warm-ups for Cheerleading , but what does that mean? To some warm-up companies it’s that you can change the color of the stripe for example. For others it’s pulling a stock warm-up from the back room, putting your team’s name (logo) on it and calling it custom. But what if you don’t want stripes at all, and swooshy nylon is not your cup of tea? So who’s really custom?….Neither? Coaches have been frustrated with buying something that is not exactly what they wanted in a Warm-up for years, but have had to because that’s all the companies have to offer.
The trend for individualized Cheerleading Warm-ups will continue to center on uniqueness and choices. Choices, in fabrics for both indoor /outdoor performances, or used as traveling or practice apparel should be explored. Keeping Cheer squads warm and comfortable to allow them to perform without the fear of stiff muscles is critical. Fabrics will continue to improve on moisture wicking properties as well. Color choices will need to expanded, from the normal 4 - 8 colors to 40 and beyond, even the ability to dye fabric to create your own color/shade is what true custom companies offer. The days of the unisex Cheerleading warm-up with the baggy legs are numbered and fit and style will dominate. Body proportion, movement /stretch will lead in fabric choices. Consider pant leg inseams for example, do you have to fit your team into pants that are too long or too short, that’s where a true custom company shines. Garment personalization will take on a whole new dimension as well, with use of more metallic and neon colors even pastels and embroidery twill will follow using more metallic’s, sport flock, sport felt and even some formed vinyl. For on going garment care make sure the fabrics are machine washable, not dry clean only or your team will have a hidden expense just to continue to stay clean.
You have a hand in its creation and you’re commanding the floor presence you desire. You need to ask Manufacture’s and sales reps serious questions about what they perceive a custom Warm-up to be. Otherwise you and your team will end up with the same old stripe ridden warm-up "look-alikes" from years gone past.
Look for an apparel company who’s Core Business is Warm-ups, not a uniform company who only offers Warm-ups just to round out its uniform or leotard line. Can the company deliver on-time not just talk about it?
All Warm-up companies are not created equal, check out their references. Look at the designs they have created. Do they differentiate the team with their creative approach? Get testimonials, and talk with the coach and team members who wear them. Check the quality, there is no better indicator than a satisfied coach. True custom Warm-ups are here to stay.
So this season be different and make a statement for your Cheer Squad. It’s the first impression that anyone sees when you get off the bus or plane, as you enter the arena, and before your team performs. So if your performance will be, "first place" shouldn’t your Warm-up say the same?
By James F. Preste
Director of Marketing
Cheer Factor Inc.-The Warm-up Co.
Cheer Factor Inc.-The Warm-up Co.
2524 151st Court West
Rosemount, MN 55068
1-866-94-CHEER or 651-322-8100
Jim brings over 30 years experience in Marketing / Public Relations to the U.S. based Cheer Factor team. Cheer Factor’s staff includes in-house fashion designers, decorators, design consultants, sewers and textile experts. Cheer Factor only business is One-of-a-kind true custom Warm-ups. They serve Competition Teams in Gymnastics, All-Star Cheerleading, Dance, Synchronized Skating and Volleyball across the USA and abroad, from their facility in Minneapolis MN.