My Journey in EP

Annette Akers New York, NY
Annette Akers New York, NY

The author tells us about her journey from working as an EP sales representative to creating her own business.

As a sales representative calling on EPs for almost 15 years, I spent a large portion of my career in scrubs. During this time I always caught myself thinking, “Why aren’t there scrubs that look more professional?” I started my career in 1997 as one of the first EP sales representatives at a major medical device company. Over the years, I’ve witnessed great advances that occurred in cardiac ablations, ICD therapy and the introduction of CRT-Ds. However, I cannot recall any improvements in the tired scrub market. As medical device representatives, we spend a lot of time training as well as a lot of money on our wardrobes, in order to be perceived as competent and professional; however, we end up spending a large portion of our time in scrubs. Worse, our schedules are so unpredictable that we often need to make presentations, conduct meetings and assist with patient checks while wearing scrubs. In these situations, I wished there had been tailored scrubs that showcased a professional image, because how we look sets a standard and affects how we feel about ourselves.

In 2009 I lost my job, and after six months of unsuccessfully landing a job, I decided to channel my frustrations into something more productive. Creating Skyline Scrubs (www.skylinescrubs.com), which creates and manufactures scrubs with a professional edge, was a start to an amazing adventure that has been exciting, scary and one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I’ve met some extraordinary people who taught me an entirely new craft. I was fortunate to assemble a team of designers, manufacturers and garment vendors who embraced my idea and helped me create a product I am very proud to bring to market.

I was careful to start slowly to make sure that all the processes were put in place to expand and all necessary modifications were made early on. I wasn’t looking to compete with large suppliers of traditional scrubs. The mass market is well taken care of, so I carved out a niche for medical professionals who want a better fitting, professional-looking scrub. I chose very high-quality fabrics that are durable, long lasting, and comfortable. Currently, there are several different styles of scrubs offered for women, though the men’s line is under production. Scrub hats and other accessories will be available in the next few months.

So far, the feedback from other medical professionals has been overwhelmingly positive. Many of my repeat customers work in EP labs, and I am in early discussion with a few device companies who are considering having me customize patterns exclusively for them.

In addition, I am proud to note that the scrub line is manufactured here in the United States. We have some of the greatest clothing manufacturers in New York City, but many have been hurt by outsourcing and the downturn of the economy. Keeping jobs at home was something very important to me.

So if anyone out there is in the same situation I was in, it doesn’t have to mean the end of the world. Sometimes good things end so better things can happen!