Aspire Shakes Up Scottish Uniform Market with New Schoolwear Division


Aspire Industrial Services is to increase its headcount by nearly 50% following the launch of its new schoolwear division.

The Glasgow-based firm has set up Aspire Academy to give parents a more affordable and accessible way of shopping for their children’s uniforms. It is initially targeting the market across Scotland’s central belt, where approximately 300 public and private schools are in operation.

Five primary schools have already agreed to give Aspire Academy access to next year’s incoming P1 students at their forthcoming induction meetings, which has prompted the company to invest in a second embroidery machine. Headed by James Robertson, a former manager with retailer New Look, the schoolwear business will lead to the creation of five new jobs.

Set up in November 2017, family-owned Aspire provides consumables, plant hire, tools and workwear to the demolition, construction and asbestos sectors. With in-house embroidery and printing facilities already serving the corporate and workwear markets, managing director Claire Donnelly said the move into school uniforms was the next logical step.

“I know from doing it with my own children that shopping for school clothes can be a nightmare,” Claire said. “The schoolwear market is very outdated, and for the last couple of years I have been hearing a lot of noise from other parents who are not happy with how it works – they have to travel too far, or the clothes don’t arrive on time – things like that.

“We’ve applied modern retailing techniques to the traditional industrial sectors that we serve, which sets us apart from the crowd and has allowed us to grow rapidly. We’re now going to do the same with Aspire Academy.”

As part of that strategy, Aspire Academy has agreed terms to open a pop-up shop in Glasgow’s Braehead Shopping Centre from June through to August of next year. This will give parents direct access to what they are ordering in a convenient and welcoming location.

“It’s fantastic because we will be next to the entrance of Primark, which has a huge footfall,” Claire said. “In total we will get about 600 hours of that passing footfall, which is going to include a lot of parents and their children.”

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