New DTC toolkit   //   November 6, 2023

Scrubs brand Figs opens its first permanent retail location in Los Angeles

Health care apparel brand Figs is ticking off a new business milestone: its first permanent store.

On Friday, Figs opened a new location in Century City mall in Los Angeles, not far from its headquarters in Santa Monica. The store is being branded a “Community Hub” — somewhere for Figs customers to touch and feel the product, as well as connect with other medical professionals through events and programming. Figs’ new store is within walking distance of five in-mall medical clinics, as well as close to local hospitals such as UCLA and St. John’s.

Figs overwhelmingly relies on e-commerce for sales, although it has experimented with retail before, most notably through pop-ups and activations in major markets such as New York City, Los Angeles, London and Toronto. Customers have responded well to those experiences, CEO and co-founder Trina Spear told Modern Retail, motivating the brand to invest more in physical retail. In addition to its Los Angeles store, Figs will open a “Community Hub” store in Philadelphia (where one out of six doctors has received training) in 2024.

A DTC business that launched in 2013, Figs has gained a loyal following among health care workers and students desiring a more modern, less boxy version of traditional scrubs and lab coats. The brand particularly took off during the pandemic when demand for scrubs and face masks skyrocketed. After a history of operating losses, Figs achieved profitability in 2020 and went public a year later with a $4.57 billion valuation at the end of its first day of trading.

Figs’ momentum has continued, even after the days of lockdowns and mask mandates. On Thursday, Figs reported that its third-quarter revenue totaled $142.4 million, up 10.7% year over year, largely due to an increase in orders from new and existing customers. Today, Figs has 2.6 million active customers, up nearly 20% from the same time last year. Its market cap now stands at around $1.15 billion.

Figs’ “Community Hubs” will showcase its wide range of products, all of which make up what the brand calls the Figs Layering System. “That’s every product that health care professionals need to do their jobs — going to work, at work, from work, on shifts, off shifts, head to toe,” Spear said. Items for sale will include underscrubs, underwear, vests, joggers, compression socks and loungewear like sweatpants and sweatshirts.

Because so many of Figs’ customers have learned about the brand online, Figs was adamant that its new stores give shoppers the chance to test out and buy the product in person. “It was very important to us that they be able to try it on,” Spear said, contrasting Figs’ stores to Bonobos’s Guide Shop, which acts as more of a showroom. In comparison, Figs’ new store in Los Angeles sells products in different sizes and colors. It also has an embroidery area where customers can get their name or logo on their scrubs for an additional fee.

On the whole, Figs views its new stores as opportunities to drive more revenue, bring in more customers and teach health care professionals about the brand, its products and its materials. Figs aims to open more locations outside of Los Angeles and Philadelphia, although Spear said the company is not yet ready to announce plans. However, she acknowledged, “this is a robust strategy. It’s not just about two stores.”

One of the things that Spear is most excited about with physical retail is in-person experiences, especially considering Figs’ 450-strong network of ambassadors, many of whom can use store events to meet each other. In addition to that camaraderie, Figs’ events will focus on mental health and advocacy, Spear said, keeping in mind the emotional toll that working in the health care profession can take on its workers.

“Our mission is to celebrate and serve and empower those who serve others,” Spear said. “But also… our health care professionals coming out of the pandemic are experiencing a range of emotions and a range of not having appropriate support from their health care institutions at different times. We are the brand that’s showing up for them and ensuring that they have everything they need to do their jobs.”

Gabriella Santaniello, founder of the consultancy A Line Partners, told Modern Retail that opening physical stores is “a great look” for Figs, not only for the ability to test out product, but also for the community aspect. “It’s a little bit of the Lululemon model,” she said, referring to Lululemon’s offerings of workout classes, product drops and in-person giveaways.

“That’s what you want to do to grow your community,” Santaniello said. “They can bring everyone together, and that’s brand loyalty right there.” Figs has sometimes been compared to Lululemon due to its quick growth and large customer base.

In addition, although they cater to medical professionals, Figs’ stores could appeal to everyday shoppers looking for items like hoodies or compression socks, Santaniello said. Consumers remain interested in comfortable apparel, even if it may not come in a traditional form, and may be open to buying from a store like Figs.

“It gives them an opportunity to see if individuals who aren’t in health care are purchasing their products and what they’re using them for,” Santaniello said. “And they can get a read on potential expansion, if they see an opportunity there.”