Alysha Totemwongs grew up using fashion to express herself. The challenge is that in her current career in the medical field, there’s little way for her to bring her passion for fashion into the workplace, where she and her colleagues all wear near-identical scrubs to the office everyday.
Totemwongs is hoping to provide healthcare workers like herself with more tailored clothing options with her startup, Good Measure, an ecommerce business that makes stylish medical apparel.
The Good Measure team includes Totemwongs—who attended USC Irvine and the Duke Fuqua School of Business—and two NC State students: Sabrina Martin, who’s working towards her masters degree in textiles from NC State, and Wilson College of Textiles PhD student Mushfika Mica. Totemwongs is Good Measure’s Founder and CEO, Martin the Operations and Product Development Director, and Mica the Fabric Development Consultant.
Good Measure participated in NC State’s Andrews Launch Accelerator this summer.
After spending 15 years in the healthcare industry working as a sales manager for various dermatology and plastic surgery offices, Totemwongs has seen the medical apparel industry evolve. Although some newer medical apparel brands have sprouted up, like the high-end scrubs brand FIGS in 2013, their garments are still one-style-fits-all and don’t provide a tailored experience to their customers, Totemwongs said.
Finding balance between utility and style
With the current options available, there’s also often a sacrifice between utility and style. Totemwongs founded Good Measure on the basis that when it comes to medical apparel, style, functionality and quality should all be in “good measure.”
For Totemwongs, everything came together in Good Measure: her career experience in healthcare combined with her lifelong love of fashion.
“I reached a point during Covid where I’d been putting on the same FIGS top and bottom uniform for like four years, and I thought, how can I make something joyful out of this?” Totemwongs said. “And I personally love fashion, I feel like it’s a form of art and a way to express yourself. So I thought, why can’t that spill over into our professional lives?”
Good Measure will launch its first womens’ clothing line in spring 2022; the vast majority of healthcare workers (70%) are women. They finalized design sketches and are currently in the prototyping and product development stage and working on sourcing the right fabric, Totemwongs said. All of the items will have some proportion of sustainable materials like recycled polyester, TENCEL (a type of rayon made from wood pulp) and hemp.
Their target customer for the initial line will be “med spas”—a combination aesthetic medical center and day spa under the supervision of a licensed physician—and private practices in fields like plastic surgery and dermatology. Totemwongs is leveraging her connections in the industry to ask about 20 med spas and plastic surgery offices nationwide—some of them in the Triangle—to participate in a beta trial to test the prototypes and give feedback before Good Measure officially launches its line.
Totemwongs’ ultimate goal is for Good Measure to provide a tailored medical apparel experience to meet the needs of various types of healthcare workers.
“Our company mission is to make healthware and medical apparel more joyful and intentional,” Totemwongs said. “Healthcare workers spend a lot of time in their uniform, and it doesn’t have to be so basic. I just want to bring joy to their lives and I want them to feel like they can perform, but also be proud of what they’re wearing.”