THE HIGH COST OF ‘FREE’ EDUCATION
Quality focus at supplier for 15 schools
LOVE THEM or loathe them, school uniforms are a fixture at the vast majority of schools in County Wicklow, and indeed nationwide.
In Arklow Cool 4 School run by Anthony Byrne and mum Julie New at Kustom Kidz caters for 15 urban and rural schools in the south Wicklow area.
‘We have a big range here and we deal directly with the schools to get an idea of what numbers they have starting each year and what sizes they might need,’ explained Julie.
‘We look after primary and secondary schools with the farthest ones being Coolboy NS near Tinahely and Ballycanew NS in County Wexford. Having uniform definitely makes life easier for the parents and there is no discrimination between the kids,’ she said.
While many will opt for a cheap option from any of the big supermarket chains, Julie said that quality is a priority for independent uniform suppliers such as Cool 4 School.
While a full tracksuit costs approximately €35, including school crest, there is no denying the quality.
‘It costs €30 for a jumper with the crest on and we have new cotton jumpers which are going down very well with kids, especially the younger ones who aren’t used to wearing knitted jumpers and find them itchy. We also put the crest on and it won’t fall off as many of the iron-on ones do.
‘Our suppliers include Fruit of the Loom, Regatta and Uniform Warehouse so we know that our uniforms will last the year. There are cheaper ones available in supermarkets but what we find is that parents end up buying two or three more before the year is out.’
Customer service and made to measure skirts and pants are all part of the service, Julie said.
‘We cater for all body shapes and sizes with discretion and if the standard size is not suitable for a customer, then we will make a skirt or pants to suit. We offer a savings club and also once a parent reserves a uniform, it goes into storage for them until they are ready to collect it. They can pay in instalments throughout the year to spread the cost as well. It is very important to use to offer that level of service. People are spending a lot of money and we realise that and we want to make sure they feel looked after.’
Julie New at Kustom Kidz in Arklow.