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Prescription for Innovation: Joe Francisco of Medelita Lab Coats and Scrubs [Podcast]

Tech Solutions

On October 6, 2008, Medelita’s Joe Francisco and his wife, Lara, set out to shake up the medical-wear market. Lara loathed the clothes she had to wear to work every day as a physician assistant; she wore what she considered a ubiquitous uniform, with unprofessional frumpiness and unflattering construction.

Prescription for innovationIn response to Lara’s critique, Medelita took what seemed like standard products—nurse scrub sets and doctor lab coats—and made some radical changes: They changed the material to performance fabric with repel and release surfaces; altered the cut of the lab coats so they would fit like blazers; and improved the fit of the scrub sets so they were more similar to polos and chinos.

Today Medelita is known as the “Ralph Lauren of lab coats and scrubs” and has had their premium lab coats featured on HBO’s “True Blood.”

Broadening the Market

The inside-information that inspired the uniform revisions didn’t stop there. With Lara’s 10 years of service came the knowledge of the way purchasing occurred in the medical industry. While designated buyers placed the orders, physician preference is what drove the purchasing decisions. So Medelita put themselves in direct contact with those physicians—attending tradeshows, going to medical meetings and, most important, setting up an e-commerce site where direct business-to-consumer purchases could be made.

The Medelita Mantra

Vistage member Joe Francisco focuses his team with a mantra of two words: constant improvement. When he launched Medelita nearly 7 years ago, he had no idea he was actually launching three companies: a manufacturing company, e-commerce company, and embroidery and fulfillment company. Today, he asks each of his 15 employees to strive to make a “1% improvement” each and every day, with the belief that the incremental growth adds up and really compounds at the end of the year.

For more on Joe and his mantra, check out his interview here. 

Joe Francisco is CEO of Medelita, which designs, manufactures, and sells unique, upscale medical apparel unparalleled in the medical uniform market place. Learn more about their professional lab coats and performance scrubs at


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