The endurance and durability of TiScrubs help give medical professionals servicing children the air of an athlete stepping onto the field, said Natalie Busch.
Founder of the North Kansas City startup, Busch saw the need for updated medical wear when working Team Smile, a nonprofit run by her husband, Bill, which partners with sports teams across the country to give free dental care to underserved children, she said. The pair wanted to give the volunteer workers a cooler fit than the usual scratchy, cotton scrubs.
“Sometimes the [sports teams’] players would show up in their practice jerseys or pants and the kids would just light up,” explained Bill. “They were tugging on it, grabbing their jerseys … and it just creates a different atmosphere. I thought that that might be something the healthcare professionals would enjoy too. You want to feel athletic at work — it makes you perform better.”
“That’s how it started, but then we realized how much people liked them,” Natalie added. “Now we’re selling them in all 50 states, which is kind of cool. The goal of it is to give back so we donate a portion of our proceeds to Team Smile.”
Team Smile organizes three events in Kansas City a year with the Chiefs, Royals, and Sporting, as well as 35 programs nationally, they said, noting the teams often allow TiScrubs to print the team logos on the doctors’ scrubs for an added sense of camaraderie.
Click here to learn more about Team Smile.
“The doctors pretty much feel like they’re part of that professional sports team for that specific day,” laughed Natalie.
TiScrubs’ online products — ‘Ti’ representing the periodic symbol for titanium — are made of microbial and moisture-wicking fabrics, as well as pet hair-resisting properties, that appeal to veterinary customers and others in healthcare needing a comfortable and durable fit during long shifts, they said.
The inclusive options also include medical hijabs and arm sleeves, said Natalie, noting that above all else, the startup focuses on ethics and authenticity in the presentation of the company and customer service.
“We really don’t take ourselves too seriously,” she said. “It’s funny because some of these scrub companies started in the last year selling more directly to consumers mostly online and they kind of became this movement and started saying, ‘We reinvented the scrubs and you should see our technology.’ It almost comical how over the top they are so we just got tired of it.”
“We’re not making medical devices — they’ve just made it sound like a scientific discovery and it isn’t. We’re selling scrubs here,” she added, laughing.
Being centrally located in Kansas City allows for ease of shipping, as well as access to local artists that assist with designing the new prints as the firm endeavors to control its own messaging and brand as it grows, said Natalie.
“Sometimes when you push it out to retail locations, then you’re kind of at the mercy of the retailer and how they’re displaying your products and selling them,” she said. “We like being able to control that message and what we’re saying to our customers.”
The ease of online shopping contributes to the decision to hold off on a brick-and-mortar location as well, she added.
“With free shipping, free exchanges and all of the free returns and exchanges, we’ve really found that we can get quite competitive with the brick-and-mortar stores. Especially with us being able to get things to our customers quickly and offering expedited shipping. With Kansas City, things just get there quickly anyway,” Natalie said.
After establishing TiScrubs as the ‘Nike of scrubs,’ the pair are looking to expand and reinvent the printed top offerings in medical wear — an area currently occupied by the flowery or Disney-character prints common today, said Natalie.
“Traditionally, you would see those printed tops more worn by women as well, so our focus is not only on women, but also on men,” she added.
Click here to shop TiScrubs.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.