Warm-up has come of Age
…..They’re not just for practice anymore!
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By James Preste
We’re not talking a warm-up routine, we’re talking
apparel. For years Warm-ups have been available in sweatshirt fleece,
a non flattering fabric, noisy/cold nylon and basic polyester from
uniform companies, who sell their clothing through mail order catalogs
or in some cases have local reps. The problem, there is nothing
new and exciting to separate your Cheer /Dance team or studio and
coaches have seen it all and tried it all.
Lately there is a lot of talk about offering “custom”
Warm-ups, but what does that mean? To some companies it’s
that you can change the color of the stripe for example, to others
it’s pulling a stock warm-up from the back room, putting your
teams 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 to because that’s all the companies
have to offer.
Does your Warm-up company start with a clean sheet of paper each
time a design is created? Do you interface with an in-house fashion
designer, or is it a customer service person you work with, who
can take an order, but knows nothing about fashion or fabrication?
What options if any, are included and if you want the design in
another fabric can you get it? Not likely. Are you assured your
design won’t be discontinued next year, catalog companies
are notorious for discontinuing lines every couple of years. And
how many times can the youth market be overlooked for those All-star
teams that want the entire squad to look uniform?
The trend is and will continue to center on uniqueness and choices.
Choices, in fabrics for both indoor /outdoor performances, and cold/warm
weather climates, and with moisture wicking properties. Color choices
will and need to expand from the normal 4-8 colors to 40 and beyond,
even the ability to dye fabric to create your own color/shade. The
days of the Unisex warm-up with the baggy legs are numbered and
Fit/Style will dominate where body proportion and movement will
lead. 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 twill will follow using more metallic,
sport flock, sports felt 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
Warm-ups have normally been used for a variety of sports, but Cheer
and Dance Teams have taken the lead, 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. Dance coaches have found new versatility in designing
a Warm-up as performance apparel, to be used in a Hip-Hop routine
for example, and All-Star Cheer Coaches want that distinctive “look”
like no one else’s. Cheer coaches want that feeling of pride
and a subtle confidence builder, when their team walks on the floor
at State or Nationals. What better way to show your teams superiority,
than in a Warm-up that turns the heads of your competitors and the
judges, because you had a hand in its creation and you’re
commanding the floor presence you desire.
Be careful, Manufacture’s and sales reps. need to be asked
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 a Warm-up company who’s Core Business is Warm-ups,
not a uniform company who offers Warm-ups just to round out it’s
line. Can the company deliver ON-Time not just talk about it, and
one that’s been created around the requirements of a Coach
who take’s competing and looking good seriously!
All Warm-up companies are not created equal, check out there references,
look at the designs they have created do they differentiate the
team, get testimonials, 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. It’s the
first thing anyone sees when you get off the plane, bus or walk
into the arena, 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.
Jim brings over 30 years experience in Marketing/Public Relations
to the U.S. based Cheer Factor team, including a staff of 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 Dance, Cheerleading, Gymnastics
and Volleyball across the USA and abroad, from their facility in
Cheer Factor Inc.-The Warm-up Co.
2524 151st Court West
Rosemount, MN 55068
1-866-94-CHEER or 651-322-8100