The Medical Scrubs Who Took on Wall Street
In May 2021, FIGS made history.
According to Fortune, it was the first company to go public led by two female co-founders, Trina Spear and Heather Hasson. Beyond that historic achievement, the initial public offering was a Wall Street success, with Forbes noting that FIGS “stands out amidst a sea of overvalued IPOs” due to its profitability in both 2019 and 2020. The scrubs retailer is one of the first digitally native direct-to-consumer companies serving the healthcare market.
Going public is a major milestone for a startup. Behind any successful IPO is a passionate group of people driving its financial success. Data from research firm Gartner suggests that companies with high engagement, or employees who care, are more likely to have higher earnings per share, revenue growth and net profit margins.
“It takes a team effort to create an amazing company at this scale. If you can make your team members stronger, you’re going to be a stronger company and a force to be reckoned with,” said Emily Sardo, technical designer of fit innovation.
At FIGS, the mission is to celebrate, empower and serve those who serve others. The company strives to improve the lives of healthcare professionals by creating innovative and functional medical apparel to improve confidence and performance. Traditionally, scrubs have been drab outfits created as an afterthought. FIGS is changing that by offering scrubs in flattering fabrics and designs. The company is taking its mission a step farther through initiatives such as the Threads for Threads program, which donates scrubs to healthcare providers in need around the world.
FIGS’ Core Values
- If it was easy, everyone would do it
- How you do anything is how you do everything
- Care more than anyone else
- Have a bias toward action
- Create the world you want to live in
- Make an impact
Built In LA sat down with a few FIGS employees for insight into what it’s like on the team that produced one of 2021’s most successful IPOs so far.
What were your reasons for joining the company?
Emily Sardo, Technical Designer: I joined in the height of the pandemic, it was exciting to work for a company that was doing good for the heroes. I’ve never worked in a company with female executives and CEOs. It’s a different atmosphere. You feel heard. It’s nice to know that you can accomplish those goals. Heather and Trina are young and they’ve accomplished so much. That’s encouraging.
Devika Tandon, Senior Managing Counsel: When I started the interview process it was enlightening to interview with all women. Diversity is everything to me, and it shows up here every day.
It is also incredible to know that my work is making an impact. We serve truly awesome humans, and everything we do is mission-driven. Knowing that what you’re doing, even on the bad days, is impacting wonderful people makes a big difference. I realized FIGS has an incredible following, and rightfully so. I started to notice FIGS everywhere and it’s a beautiful feeling. That following is strong, and it’s growing.
Berto Lupercio, Director of Technical Accounting and Financial Reporting : We have a lot of women in leadership, and that’s rare right now. It’s very collaborative. Everybody is valued and brings something to the table. When I learned more about our company mission and who we serve, it was such an easy, ‘Yes.’
How do you see FIGS’ mission coming to life every single day?
Tandon: We create beautiful products to make awesome humans feel empowered every day. Our product is everything, but we continue to innovate in so many other ways. For example, last year we ran one of my favorite campaigns to work on, professionally and personally, to grant five awesome humans $50,000 to help with their tuition. That was incredible, and that speaks a lot to our mission. Personally, that goes back to why we wake up every morning and do what we do. These healthcare professionals are at the crux of our mission every day. Everything that we do is for them.
Sardo: We are constantly thinking about our customers. We can’t always put ourselves in their shoes, but we are trying the best we can. We constantly hold focus groups and get feedback from healthcare professionals. We make sure that all of our pockets can fit everything they need by keeping stethoscopes, pens and pencils on hand during fittings. If technology is changing — such as the size of an iPhone — we’re changing with it.
Something I find personally exciting is that we’re taking stances on social justice issues. It doesn’t matter who you are, we are constantly celebrating everyone. It is very inclusive. Everyone cares, from executives to assistants. No matter what your role is, no matter who you are, everyone feels at home and accepted.
Tell me more about the FIGS’ social justice work.
Tandon: It was wonderful to see our impact report from last year. It addresses social justice, where the inequities were and how FIGS is stepping up to the plate. Internally one of the coolest things I’m part of is the culture committee. Every month we have actionable items, such as donating to a specific cause or celebrating. It’s a space to hone in on advocacy personally and professionally. Social justice is all around us, whether it’s externally or internally as an employee.
Covid-19 2020 Impact Report
- 362,000 FIONx protective masks produced
- 25,000 KN95 masks free with purchase
- 16,000 KN95 masks donated or distributed
- 100,000 isolation gowns distributed
- 70,000 units of FIGS products donated to 26 healthcare facilities around the country
- $100,000 donated to front-line responders fund
How did this all help FIGS grow?
Tandon: It goes back to retention and growth. I saw my team nearly double. It’s incredible, and ties into the mission and the advocacy for who we are serving. We have people ready to jump on board because they realize how important the work is that we’re trying to do for our healthcare professionals. That speaks volumes.
What does the success of FIGS’ exit say about the company?
Tandon: In very broad strokes, it’s very exciting for all of us to IPO with two female co-founders. It opens up so many adventures and expansion. It proves that collaboration and innovation drive success. I’m grateful to be a part of a company that went public. I’ve never gotten to be a part of one.
Lupercio: The IPO was a testament to the work that went into FIGS before I came around. It’s amazing to see it get to that point of success. It symbolizes that there is so much more coming. It’s like a new beginning. We’re going to do more, and go bigger. We’ll do that for healthcare professionals.
What opportunities has this created for you? What have you gained from working at FIGS?
Lupercio: I’ve had so many opportunities to work on projects that I wouldn’t have touched at other companies. For example, setting up our whole equity system through our IPO process. That’s not something I would have done at a more mature company. We’re scrappy, we’re still growing, we’re agile so people can take on things as they come. If you raise your hand, there is going to be something for you to do. It’s amazing to be able to have the support behind you to know you are going to succeed in what you do. It just feels good.
Sardo: FIGS promotes from within, so you’re constantly trying to be the best you can be. From a design standpoint, there are so many cross-functional teams working together. No matter if someone is on your team or not, you’re friends with them. It shows that the people we hire have similar values, and they just care. I don’t know how to describe it, it’s a different vibe. It’s an amazing atmosphere.
In my personal life, I can honestly say I’m so much happier. Knowing that I am outfitting the heroes of the world makes me want to work that much harder. There’s a satisfaction in knowing you work for a company that doesn’t just talk, it acts. That is super important to me.
Tandon: Professionally, it’s been one of the most rewarding career moves I’ve made. Having that open-door policy helps my professional growth. I can go to anybody and pick their brain. We do this remotely right now for the most part, and to feel comfortable even online is pretty awesome. I started during Covid-19 and I can personally say that I know Berto and Emily and feel comfortable going to them and asking them anything, or having a coffee date on Zoom. Everything is cross-functional, and it has to be in order to drive success and innovation in an e-commerce company like FIGS.
The strength of our culture goes back to diversity, which we take seriously. That means diversity of race, culture, and sexual orientation. But it also means diversity of perspectives, which I think is equally as important. We all come together on common ground. The diversity enriches our conversations and our innovation every single day. That plays a big role in why we all feel so comfortable with each other.
Professionally, it’s been one of the most rewarding career moves I’ve made.
What are the shared traits you all have?
Lupercio: We all care so much about FIGS and our awesome humans. Their success is our success. We articulate it in different ways, but we all care so much. It’s great to see other people who feel the same way.
Tandon: Empathy. Everybody I’ve met is an empathetic person. We wouldn’t be where we are if we didn’t care. We care so much. We’re so empathetic to this world, and also to our people internally. That drives success. It fosters innovation. It drives motivation and ambition. It’s because we share that care for the people we work with and serve. That’s a value we all share.
What do you tell your friends and family when they ask about what you do?
Tandon: There’s a spark when we talk about FIGS to friends and family because we are supporting such an awesome community. It’s funny when I’m in the doctor’s office and the nurse sees where I work and they are so excited and ask all of these questions. It makes me feel so good. When I walk into a clinic and see everyone dressed in their FIGS gear it’s a wonderful feeling. It makes a really big difference.
Lupercio: We make scrubs that make our healthcare workers feel and perform amazing. We’re supporting this community that gives back to the rest of the world. They give so much of themselves, and it feels so good to be able to give them a little something back.