Many years ago, Susan Moses, DC noticed that whenever it was raining her patients who were nurses would come running into her office soaked and shivering, wearing ill-fitting, paper thin scrubs. That was the moment she identified a need in the medical community for higher quality uniforms. At that time however, she was a single mom who was working hard at her thriving private practice so she could raise her two young children, Derek and Devyn. By necessity, her dream to revolutionize the scrubs industry had to be put on hold.
Years later, when Derek was searching for a graduation project for college, he decided he would follow through with his mother’s idea. “I was shocked because I didn’t know he even remembered,” Susan told CBS. Together, they researched fabric, made a prototype and Derek wound up getting an A on the project. Derek explained, “About halfway through that project is when I really sat down and looked at the workforce, the changing technologies in the uniform market, and the need for higher-quality uniforms. That, along with this movement back toward Made in the USA, made me realize there was a real opportunity for something like designer medical scrubs.” Devyn pointed out that as the country continues to move out of the recession, and retired workers no longer need full-time jobs, millennial's will be taking over the nursing workforce. Derek continued, “There is an insatiable demand for younger nurses coming out of school. You can’t hire them fast enough. That’s where a product that is modern, fits well, and is high quality starts to really find its place.”
Why is now such an ideal time for DEMED?
Derek: Healthcare is the biggest industry in this country and nurses make up the biggest portion of that industry, but nurses aren’t what nurses used to be. They are the ones who are seeing the patients. They are the ones who are talking to the patients, putting their hands on the patients, and delivering medication to the patients. With that renewed importance comes a need for a uniform that matches that professionalism. Nursing isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle. These people work crazy hours and they don’t have the time that normal people have, so the demand is not just for something that fits their work, but it must fit their lifestyle, as well.
What are some of the features that make DEMED stand out from other scrubs?
Susan: The fit is amazing. They are soft on the inside, actually feels like flannel, and water repellent on the outside. New technology allows the fabric to wick away moisture in the summer, but keep you warm in the winter. They wash and dry with ease. There’s no shrinkage, no color fading, and no ironing needed.
Derek: The company that we by the fabric from is a performance sportswear company so it’s a high quality fabric that holds up.
Susan: The pants have a wide elastic band that is branded with our name and makes them fit like yoga pants. You can tuck the top into the pants and it actually looks like a jumpsuit. You could leave work, put on another shirt and go out to dinner or go to the gym. The pants fit that well and conform to modern lifestyle.
Devyn: Currently, we have four colors, but we will be adding twelve additional colors throughout 2017.
Susan: They are not just for nurses, these uniforms can be used in veterinary medicine, the dental industry, and even home nursing. We’ve even been approached by some hairdressers who would like to wear these outfits to work.
How about durability?
Devyn: Let me tell you a little story. Last winter, we had the scrubs in the car and one of the pant legs was hanging outside the car door and we didn’t know it. We drove the car around for four days and it picked up everything it possibly could on the road. When I finally noticed it was hanging out, I held the pants up and saw that one leg was black and the other was seal blue. I patted it off and the pants were immediately back to normal, after dragging on the ground and everything.
What is your sales plan?
Derek: This is really important. Scrubs are sold in brick-and-mortar stores, but retail has changed and scrubs are lagging behind. We see an opportunity to sell online as if these are retail garments. We see an opportunity to really connect with our customers directly online and through social media.
Susan: And that’s the way were going to start, with online sales. I’ve seen other companies do it. Lululemon is an athletic apparel retailer that started out totally online, and now they have their own stores. In the future, we will likely have some stores that handle our product too, but for now, online sales is what really matches our vision.
Written by Allen Foster for CBS Small Business Pulse.