Abralin & Sharmaine Tiaga
Medicstox is the name of our business and we are the first exclusive scrubs and chef uniforms store in Durham Region.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS AND WHAT SERVICES/PRODUCTS YOU OFFER?
Medicstox is the name of our business and we are the first exclusive scrubs and chef uniforms store in Durham Region. Our products include a wide-array of brands and styles, from the budget-conscious to the most fashion- and technology-conscious, all at a reasonable price. We cater to all industries using uniforms such as health care professionals, chefs, dental/vet clinics, therapists, salons, cleaning services and medical and culinary students.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN YOUR BUSINESS?
It was out of Sharmaine’s need to find a better quality scrub that this business started while she was working in the medical industry. Finding good quality scrubs that did not look like pyjamas or made her feel frumpy was a chore, she would either drive to Toronto and US outlets or buying them online at premium prices. That need gave birth to our company Medicstox, which started from our house living room in 2007 to a retail store location in 2011.
HOW DID THE HELP YOU GOT FROM BACD IMPACT YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS?
When we were starting the business, we attended workshops at BACD and we have learned a lot. From trainings in all aspects of operation to developing our social media presence. The knowledge we got from our fellow business owners, their experiences and successes, even their failures have given us knowledge on how we could make our own thrive. But most of all, the guidance from the staff at BACD was a tremendous help with steps that guide us along the way from first opening our small store to moving up to a bigger store and the in-betweens like where to get practical yet professional looking store fixtures and furnitures and how to improve traffic to the store and online.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
What really inspired us to start this business is the realization that this is what is lacking in the local market when Sharmaine’s need for it arise. We saw the need for a localized better quality scrubs and uniforms supplier in the area. Our desire to satisfy this need and make it as simple and effortless as possible gave birth to Medicstox.
WHAT WAS MORE DIFFICULT THAN YOU THOUGHT IT WOULD BE?
Every one can do a business but not everyone realizes that operating a business takes a lot of time, effort, patience and extra capital. When the shop closes it does not mean that work is done. There is more action to be done at the back and nobody sees that and of course we realized along the way that to be known to our customers is a lot more difficult than just paid advertising. You have to be more creative than that.
WHAT UNEXPECTED CHALLENGES DID YOU HAVE?
Mostly we had unexpected financial challenges, although we had accounted our business expenses when we started and prepared a bit of cushion for it there will always be a time when you have to purchase more— more inventory, more technology, etc.
HOW DO YOU MARKET YOUR BUSINESS?
We market the business through our retail store located in Whitby and online through our website:www.medicstox.com
HOW ARE PEOPLE AWARE OF YOUR BUSINESS?
We mostly advertise our business on social platform like Facebook and twitter but we also have advertised on the local newspaper, Google ads, kijiji and through flyers and word-of-mouth. Look for us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and not only you save money but be part of our Medicstox family.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP ABREAST OF THE CHANGES IN YOUR BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY?
We do our research of what is happening in the uniform retail industry, online and we study our competitors as well in Canada and out of the country, to see what are the upcoming styles and technology and the brands. Our suppliers also have information on what the next season styles and bestsellers are.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
Seek out a mentor and work with them because they know the industry and don’t be discouraged with the slow growth as long as you have a plan. And always remember the “why” behind your business and get back up every time you fall.
WHAT IS IT THAT YOU DO THAT’S MADE YOU A SUCCESS?
Success is a very subjective term, and it doesn’t mean exactly the same thing to two different people. For us, being able to build our business and be part of improving the local economy and serve our community. With our business, we are taking it a step at a time to get to where we want but for now we are enjoying the ride!
ANY ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
When you start a business, don’t do it on your own. The help we got from BACD is priceless! They will walk you through the ins and outs of the business industry and where to find help as they have resources that you would not find anywhere. Best of all, it is free!