Dressing Abroad: How to Design a Company Uniform for Latino Customers
What happens with American and Mexican cultures collide? You get drug trafficking, complicated immigration debates, bilingual schools, and delicious Tex-Mex fusion restaurants.
I'm not here to throw another log on the fire about the pros and cons of Latino immigration to the US. What I do care about is their pesos. Latinos represent a huge spending force, especially in the southern-most regions of the US. Business owners in California, Texas, Arizona, Florida and other nearby states should take special consideration when they design their company uniforms.
The right uniform could attract or totally turn off group of potential customers.
Back in 2008, a Califoria study estimated that immigrants spent approximately $4.6 billion each year in sales-tax alone. With a 7.5 percent sales tax in California, that means that immigrants spent roughly $62 billion just in one state and just in one year. Not too shabby, eh? Any business owner would want a piece of that pie.
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Now, I do want to point these figures do not solely represent the Latino community. California also has a high population of Asian immigrants, and these figures also include immigrants from other countries like Germany, Russia, and Australia. We can still be certain that Latino immigrants account for a significant chunk of that $62 billion.
Conservative Suits Always WorkWhen it comes to professional attire, the types of things that work in the US work just as well in Mexico. People south of the border generally wear blue, gray, and camel business suits. The one exception is ivory -- an all-white suit wouldn't go over very well in the US, but that's perfectly acceptable in Mexico.
Red is a powerful color in Mexican culture. Not only is it a prominent color on the Mexican flag, but Mexican artists also frequently depict the Virgin Mary in red robes. Red on its own can be patriotic and festive, but once you pair it with white it often takes on religions undertones.
You might want to avoid using red and white side-by-side unless you're specifically aiming for a Catholic image.
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OrangeWhat color is dirt? Brown, of course! Well, only some of the time. Over in Virginia you can find red dirt. Down in South America it tends to be a bright orange-brown. Unsurprisingly, many Mexican people associate the color orange with earth. You might want to opt for orange uniforms instead of the more conventional brown or green uniforms if you're trying to promote an outdoorsy feel for your Mexican customers.
Much like red, blue also has religious undertones. The Virgin Mary is often shown with a blue headscarf or robe. Consequently, blue is a color of trust and serenity throughout the Mexican culture.
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Bright neon yellows, blues, greens, reds, and pinks are a common sight in Mexican festivals and celebrations. Just look at any Mexican fiesta for a taste of what I'm talking about. There's absolutely nothing subtle about these eye-catching outfits -- everything is colorful, cheerful, and larger-than-life.
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If you're trying to create a festive atmosphere in your business that will appeal to Mexican culture, then don't be afraid of using lots of colors.
Black and White
Black and white together often symbolize death in Mexico because of the popularity of the Dia de los Muertos celebration. Don't automatically assume that's death is a bad thing, however. Dia de los Muertos is exciting, kind of like Halloween here in the States.