Brett Brohl originally conceived Scrubadoo in January 2009 during his last term at the University of Virginia-Darden School of Business. A few months later, MBA in hand, he found himself in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his girlfriend who had recently taken a position with one of Minnesota’s largest corporations. Then came decision time: accept a high-level consulting opportunity or scratch the entrepreneurial itch and bring Scrubadoo to life. He chose the latter and soft-launched Scrubadoo in October ’09. From there, he listened and learned for the following 90 days, hibernated the site, regrouped in January and officially launched the functional Scrubadoo just a month ago.
Scrubadoo is a niche E-Commerce website that sells scrubs – the uniforms that health professionals wear – directly to nurses, hospital personnel and veterinarians (doctors typically receive their scrubs for free directly from the hospital). Their product line includes uniforms, shoes and accessories that culminate in over 1,000 different SKU’s. While Scrubadoo isn’t first to market, Brett saw the opportunity in a $550 million dollar space that is “antiquated and fragmented.” Original research of 1,500 nurses surveyed concluded the market was more splintered than he had originally thought – no more than 5 nurses were purchasing from any one single source.
Mr. Brohl describes the Scrubadoo competitive advantage as “High level customer service with personality, modeled after brands like Zappos and Nordstrom…think free-shipping, 24 hour live chat, loyalty incentives and more.” Combined with an aggressive sales & marketing approach to create awareness amongst private practices and hospital purchasing agents, he believes that they can quickly differentiate themselves in a niche space lacking clear leadership.
His original notion to create a better online shopping experience for health care professionals was sparked during a lengthy conversation with a friend’s father who manufactures Soft Scrubs, a generic line of health care wear. Initially, the goal was to develop a distribution website specifically for Soft Scrubs, but Brett soon realized that the opportunity was much larger than he had anticipated; Soft Scrubs now accounts for a but a fraction of the product lines available via Scrubadoo.
When asked about any local resources he’s identified and leveraged as a newcomer to the Minnesota Startup Community, he noted “The ease and effictiveness of working with the University of Minnesota as a recruiter and bringing two qualified interns on board in short order.”