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How a company that distributes high-performance, stylish medical scrubs quickly became a fashion staple for the medical community.
As applications for the 2010 Inc. 500 | 5000 arrive, we thought it would be worthwhile to shine a spotlight on some of the companies that are vying to appear on our ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. (For more information and to apply, go to http://www.inc.com/inc5000apply/2010/.) One that caught our eye was Chicago-based IguanaMed.IguanaMed makes scrubs, shirts and trousers or gowns worn by nurses, surgeons, and other hospital personnel, but not just any scrubs. The company combines different sporty, creative designs with high-performance, comfortable fabrics, that make flexible movement easier. "We're not the first company to infuse style creatively into scrubs, but I think we're doing it aggressively," says president and CEO Gregory Lilien. "We want to continue to expand fabrics, and keep appearing bold, unique and exciting."Lilien and his team of seven employees used to market IguanaMed's scrubs as the "Nike or Puma of medical apparel," but now, he says, his company is focusing on building the IguanaMed brand, rather than comparing their brand to others. IguanaMed offers several collections and styles of their medical scrubs, but their Med Flex fabrics – namely, their revolutionary Med Flex II, which is a tri-blend with spandex for easy movement – are what make their products especially appealing, he says.While the company was founded in 2005 as a subsidiary of Walrus Brands, another manufacturer of medical scrubs and other niche products, IguanaMed now operates independently from its former parent company. After the split, IguanaMed went on to earn a place on the Inc. 5000 from 2007 through 2009. The company was able to grow its distribution across all 50 states, as well as 11 countries worldwide, including Italy, Saudi Arabia and Brazil. "We've learned a lot over the past couple years," Lilien says. "I think we're also in a product category that's not shaken up a lot. It's fun to be in an older industry and breathe some life into it."