Entrepreneurial doctor brings style to medicine
Dr Felicia Tshite-Molamu is the woman behind SA's first black-owned scrubs brand
Behind her white coat and stethoscopes, MD and entrepreneur, Felicia Tshite-Molamu is proof that medical doctors can have an amazing sense of style and entrepreneurial spirit.
Tshite-Molamu is the founder of the Dream Doctor Collection, the first black-owned business designing fashionable scrubs for doctors and other healthcare workers.
34 year-old Tshite-Molamu is a registrar in otorhinolaryngology, the branch of medicine that deals with head and neck surgeries, at Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital in Pretoria.
Tshite-Molamu's collection is the first female and black-owned venture in specialised medical garments, specifically for doctors. The brand has to compete with established players who have been in the industry for more than 30 years.
You are what you wear
Tshite-Molamu says the goal for her brand is to bring change and offer options, but that each doctor should still look professional and modern.
She says the message she's instilling among her colleagues is that "image is everything".
"My dream is to redefine the health look, to synchronise brains with beauty, for generations to come," she says. "We are a fashion hub of medical hope because we dress dreamers, achievers and leaders in healthcare."
I realised that since I am going to be a surgeon for life, I might as well do something with what we doctors wear at work
Most scrubs are prepared inside the hospital's sterilising facility to minimise contamination in the surgical suite.
Tshite-Molamu says the idea come to her when she realised she always felt uncomfortable wearing ordinary scrubs because they are 'ill-fitting' and she thought patients felt uncomfortable about her appearance.
"The ordinary scrubs don't inspire confidence. They take away your self-esteem because people don't think you're a doctor," she says, adding that she's not in competition with government suppliers but is offering an alternative.
"I realised that since I am going to be a surgeon for life, I might as well do something with what we doctors wear at work," she says.
Fulfilling a dream
Selling at between R600 and R2200, the scrubs are available for all sizes for men and women and can be customised to clients' specifications, including embroidery.
"I decided to become an ambassador for my own brand and
wear it everywhere"
"Our clothing is designed and tailored to be simple yet sophisticated, comfortable and is of desired quality and value," she says. "Doctors have always been looked at as uniformed people, so why can't we have our own fashionable workwear?"
Leading her own brand
Tshite-Molamu has managed to grow her clientele from doctors to graduating nurses, opening up employment opportunities for two tailors and a sales manager.
But one of the challenges she faced when her business started last year was the inability to market it properly since she was always busy doing her shifts. But she devised a clever plan to get her product out there.
"I decided to become an ambassador for my own brand and wear it everywhere," she says.
Now, Tshite-Molamu says, the plan is to take the range to the fashion ramps and showcase on the famous designer events.
"I also want to expand to lifestyle products in future, like watches and spectacles," she says.