Modern medical scrubs had their origin in 1950s operating rooms, in which surgeons and nurses adopted light green cotton garments to reduce eye fatigue. By the 1970s, cotton pants and tops had become the standard in surgical wear. The garments were worn for the medical staff’s “scrubbing in” sanitizing process before surgeries. Before long, the name “scrubs” had been adopted for the surgical staff’s attire.
Since that time, scrubs have become standard wear for physicians’ and dentists’ offices, veterinary offices and other medical businesses. Although solid color scrubs are still popular, colorful prints have also become widely available. Print scrubs with wild designs and cartoon characters are especially popular in pediatric practices.
Organize your scrub business. Discuss your business structure with a Certified Public Accountant with specialty business experience. Consult a commercial insurance agent with the same background. Obtain a business license from your city or county clerk’s office. Finally, apply for a sales tax license from your state’s Department of Revenue.
Define your scrub market. Compile a master list of medical practices within your city or town. Create separate categories for each type of practice and note any practices that require staff to wear similar scrub uniforms. Estimate the total number of potential scrub customers in your market.
Examine your competition. Scrubs are sold in several types of stores: big-box stores with clothing departments, medical supply stores, discount stores and specialty scrub stores. Visit all local scrub retailers, and note the quality, types and variety carried by each store. Look for any market niche that isn’t being filled (e.g. plus-size scrubs).
Choose a central location. Obtain a map of your city or town, and plot medical practice locations with pins or dots. Determine a central location that’s easily accessible for most of the practices, and has adequate driveway access and parking. Ensure that the interior has adequate display and aisle space.
Order your wholesale scrubs. Analyze your findings from your survey of local medical practices. Determine types of scrubs that are popular in many offices, and for which quantity discounts may be available. Note other designs that may be worn only in specialty offices (e.g. animal motifs for veterinary offices, or tooth designs for dental practices). Finally, place wholesale scrub order(s) to maximize your profits.
Schedule a scrubs fashion show. Design a Grand Opening Fashion Show that showcases the designs and styles that make your store stand out. To model the scrubs, recruit medical staff of different sizes and from different types of practices. Offer special pricing on all fashion show clothing, and distribute invitations and discount coupons to all area practices. Advertise the event in regional newspapers to attract staffers from neighboring towns.
Based in North Carolina, Felicia Greene has written professionally since 1986. Greene edited sailing-related newsletters and designed marketing programs for the New Bern, N.C. "Sun Journal" and New Bern Habitat ReStore. She earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Baltimore.