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Start-up spotlight: E-commerce company Figs targets medical apparel

July 03, 2013|By Andrea Chang
  • E-commerce start-up Figs is hoping to disrupt the medical clothing industry.
E-commerce start-up Figs is hoping to disrupt the medical clothing industry. (Figs )

Scrubs didn't get much love from 1990s girl group TLC. But two local entrepreneurs feel differently.

Trina Spear and Heather Hasson co-founded Figs, a Culver City start-up that is hoping to shake up the medical clothing industry -- starting with those baggy scrubs.

The company says it wants to do for medical clothing what Lululemon did for workout apparel. By using nicer-quality, antimicrobial fabrics with an emphasis on comfort, fashion and performance, the duo hopes to rid the industry of ugly scrubs, shapeless lab coats and cheap fabric.

"The industry has been around for 100 years and there hasn't been any innovation," Spear said. "When you think about odor control, keeping you dry -- why isn't that available for the medical professional?"

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Currently the company sells its clothes online but hopes to partner with retailers to sell in bricks-and-mortar stores. It is also considering pop-up shops.

On the Figs website, customers can purchase V-neck tops for $20, basic pants for $22 and cargo pants for $25. The company designed separate pieces for men and women, a departure from the unisex options typically available, Spear said.

Among the features of the shirts: a tailored profile, tagless collar, side vents at the waist, double-stitched pockets and wrinkle-resistant and lint-free fabric. The scrubs come in a variety of colors, including black, midnight blue and burgundy. Other products, such as the lab coats, are in development.

Until now, doctors generally had to purchase scrubs from discount aggregate stores "with 50 brands shoved on a rack in the corner," Spear said.

"The industry that provides them with their apparel just isn't up to the standards," she said. "Here are people who are shopping at Bloomingdale's and J.Crew and then have to go to a medical apparel store and buy something that's really awful."

Figs, which stands for "fashion inspires global sophistication," has raised $2 million in seed funding from Crocs, Mohr Davidow Ventures, 500 Startups, Karlin Ventures and several other venture capital firms and angel investors.

The company says that for every set of scrubs sold, it will give a set to a healthcare provider in need. Figs works with Doctors without Borders, International Medical Corps and other medical groups to help identify providers.


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