Sisters scrub business Scrub Lab earns $300K in 8 months

Melbourne sisters Van and Lin Nguyen have made $300,000 in just eight months from their new business Scrub Lab, which offers stylish medical scrubs for health professionals.

Van, 29, is an emergency nurse and was excited to don scrubs once she had graduated, but soon discovered what was available was poorly designed.

She complained to her sister Lin over lunch, who has a “flair for fashion”, about the “horrible” scrubs she was being forced to buy and wear. The lunch rolled into researching fabric, a trip to Spotlight for material and roping in their professional seamstress mother to make a new pair of scrubs.

It was only meant to be a “fun afternoon exercise”, Lin said, but as soon as Van showed up to work in her new scrubs people were demanding to know where they could buy them from – and the sisters realised they had stumbled on to a brilliant business idea.

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“Everyone was asking: ‘Where did you get it from? I haven’t seen it before’,” Van told

“Our neck tends to get sore as we have to put loads of things in the front pockets of our tops, so we designed more pockets in the pants and most items can be transferred into the pants and there are heaps of pockets, including in the back and sides and even inside the clothing for little coin and for rings and small stuff.”

But its not just multiple pockets that define Scrub Lab’s top and pants with hours of research going into fabric technology.

“Our scrubs are made to be stylish, durable and functional and are made to be fitting for our healthcare professionals to get through the day without having to deal with tight, scratchy or uncomfortable material,” explained Lin.

“They are ultra soft and designed with four main functions – anti wrinkle, so there is no ironing which is a god send as long as you hang the clothes after the wash they ready to wear, antimicrobial, they offer anti-odour protection and are durable lasting more than 100 watches before wear and tear.”

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The Nguyen sisters had to hustle to launch their products in June 2020 – injecting $150,000 into the business – and unveiling their products four months earlier than planned when the COVID-19 pandemic hit resulting in a scrub shortage in hospitals around Australia.

Tops cost $49.99 and the pants $64.99 and since launch they have sold 6500 pieces. There are a range of different styles from jogger pants to skinny leg pants and scrub tops with collars. People can also choose colours like blue, grey, black and pink.

The sisters anticipate by the end of their first year of trading they would have doubled their turnover to $600,000 as a shipment of 5000 pieces has just landed and another is due in April.

“I thought we would sell 10 scrubs a week and that’s what we started out with when writing our business plan – our goal was to sell 10 scrubs a week – but we have experienced 300 per cent growth over the last eight months from what we planned and we are hoping to double from $600,000 in our second year of trading and that looks to be on track,” said Lin.

But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing and Lin, 33, admits they were always out of stock as they can’t get the numbers right on sizes, styles and colours.

A port strike also severely delayed a shipment leaving unhappy customers, she added.

“I think we had over 700 orders in pre orders that customers had placed and paid for and they were expecting their stuff to arrive on time and it was delayed by six weeks, so obviously we had complaints and a lot of refunds and there was simply nothing we could do about it – it was out of our control,” said Lin.

“But we have been one of the lucky ones with launching a business through the pandemic in that it’s serving the frontline and its managed to grow through the pandemic.”

They have big plans for Scrub Lab in 2021. Petite and tall scrubs and two more plus sizes are being introduced, while customers have also been crying out for more colours. Biodegradable packaging is being investigated and they are also looking to make scrubs from recycled material in the long term.

In two to three years, there are plans to expand Scrub Lab into the Asia Pacific and New Zealand.

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