Photos courtesy of FIGS.
Bringing fashion and tech into the once boring world of medical apparel, FIGS has made a name for itself in recent years through the online, direct-to-consumer sphere. Shortly after launching perhaps 2021’s most promising IPO, the much-lauded co-founders of FIGS, Heather Hasson and Trina Spear, spoke to The Edge about championing healthcare professionals like athletes through their well-designed scrubs.
You launched FIGS in 2013 as an e-commerce brand. How has the journey been so far, and what does the future look like for you both as individuals and as a company after this year’s successful IPO?
Heather: I think [it] was a milestone moment, but we are focused on our healthcare professionals, on our brand, on our product, and we’re going to continue to grow the company. I’m so excited. There’s so much to do. There’s so much to look forward to from just a holistic perspective.
Beyond providing comfortable technical fabrics for people working in the healthcare field, what else does FIGS stand for?
Heather: Our full mission at FIGS is to celebrate, empower, and serve healthcare professionals. I want to actually tell this story, so you understand why we do what we do. About a decade ago, I was sitting with a friend for coffee, and I didn’t understand why the whole world was focused on just making product[s] for athletes, and nobody was focused on healthcare professionals. Big companies were focused on making sure that athletes would run faster or score more goals or things like that [with their products]. And I did not understand why there wasn’t a similar focus for healthcare professionals because, out of anybody in the world, healthcare professionals are saving lives. They need to perform at their best more than anybody else in the world. I didn’t quite understand that, so I set out to make the most technical, performance-driven, design-oriented product for healthcare professionals, so they could feel good and really perform at their best.
That’s why the company was started: to make the best product to sell to [healthcare professionals] through a direct-to-consumer, e-commerce website where they can have access to their uniform at any time of day or night, and to put healthcare professionals on billboards so they can be celebrated as the most awesome people in the world (because they are), and so the next generation can be inspired to become them. And if we have more people working in healthcare, we’ll have more, I would say, cures for cancer, right? We’ll have more brilliant minds out in the world. We’ll have different COVID vaccines. Maybe we would have had a vaccine in a faster period of time if we just had more people working on science, working on healthcare. That being said, our brand is our community. Our community is our brand. We’d like to do everything we possibly can to support them and celebrate them.
I’m sure there’s been increased interest in your products from healthcare and frontline workers during the pandemic. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Trina: I think the pandemic really put a spotlight on how important healthcare professionals are. And everyone saw that, right? The world was like, “Whoa, these are the people doing the world’s most important work and saving all of our lives.” During the pandemic, we saw an acceleration in our business because healthcare professionals wanted products that were comfortable and technical, which is where we’re focused. Beyond that, hospitals and medical offices and clinics were very much requiring their employees to wear scrubs and other medical apparel. That definitely was something that we saw in the last year and a half. And the pandemic really showed that being able to access those products through a digitally native, direct-to-consumer platform that is seamless for healthcare professionals is critical.
But, you know, the important thing to note just about our business is that we’ve grown consistently every year. We’ve grown over a hundred per cent every single year since we launched in 2013. The pandemic has just put a spotlight on the people that we’ve been celebrating for eight years — almost a decade at this point — since Heather came up with the idea and vision for the company. As the world stopped clapping at seven o’clock, we were clapping long before, celebrating our healthcare professionals around the clock, 24/7, 365 days a year. For us, that’s never going to stop. That’s who we are. That’s what we do. Long after this pandemic is over, we will be standing up and supporting our healthcare community every single day.
You’ve been recognized by Ernst and Young, Goldman Sachs, Forbes and other big names for entrepreneurship. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Heather: One that I’m extremely, extremely proud of is helping to get the world to stand behind healthcare professionals. Yes, Trina just said, people were clapping at 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM last year because of COVID, but we have been celebrating and empowering and really standing behind healthcare professionals since we started. Today, it’s like the world is really rallying with us and standing behind healthcare professionals because they are the most important people on this planet. They really, really, really are. I’m also, I would say, really proud of our team. We have an exceptional team headquartered in Los Angeles. And actually — this is a cool one too — we are the first co-CEOs and cofounders that are female to bring a company public, so I think that’s a pretty special one.
Trina: I think you nailed it, Heather, you nailed it. I agree with everything that Heather just shared. I think our community and our team — it’s not like any one moment. It’s the journey, right? It’s the journey, not these milestones, that you remember.
Rose Ho | Assistant Editor