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Last Update: Sunday February 25, 2018

Key Idea: Use a Story to Sell

Research shows that S.C.R.U.B.S. catalog recipients don't just look at the pictures, they read the copy too.  Catalog sales are dependent upon great images and compelling stories about the products.

Key Question:


S.C.R.U.B.S. are sold through a catalog and web site.  The copy writer takes great pains to describe the fabric designs so that the person reading about the product simply has to buy it. 

Search more on the topic of sales and click on the question for more answers.

Think about it

Do customers know your story?  Do they know how your product or service developed over time?  Do you paint a picture for them so they can see themselves using your product or service?

Clip from: S.C.R.U.B.S.

San Diego County, California:  Sue Callaway became a nurse back when the uniform was a cap and a crisp white dress. She remembers wearing street clothes to the hospital then changing for duty into a clean uniform. Find out how she invented a business when the hospital she worked for started requiring nurses to purchase their own uniforms.

Since we taped this story, Sue and her partner opened too many retail stores too fast and found themselves in big trouble. S.C.R.U.B.S. was bought by SmartPractice in July of 2000 and has restructured with Sue serving as President of the SCRUBS. The amazing part of this story is we studied Naomi and Jim Rhode's company, SmartPractice, back in 1994 so we know both companies well and now they are one family.

S.C.R.U.B.S. and Smartscrubs

Sue Callaway, Founder of S.C.R.U.B.S

3400 E. McDowell
Phoenix, AZ 85008

Visit our web site:

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1992

Use a Story to Sell

HATTIE: (Voiceover) S.C.R.U.B.S. is a mail-order business. Words are important, but the potential customer has to see the colors and prints to be able to make the right purchasing decision.

Sue, why do you think your catalog is so successful?

SUE: Oh, because of our different style of artwork Jorge does in our catalog. It's just really unique.

JORGE (Catalog Artwork): We used to make everything by hand, with watercolors but now, for the quantity of the print, for the quantity of the production, we start working with the computer.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Melissa Holmes is the first employee Sue hired, and is the copy writer for the catalog.

SUE: And we had asked her to write about a fabric, how a fabric made her feel. And the story she wrote was just wonderful. So she had a job.

HATTIE: So you got hired for story writing.

MELISSA HOLMES (Catalog Copy Writer): Mm-hmm.

SUE: That's right.

MELISSA: `The sky existed in an obscure painting of azure pigment veiled with patches of low cottony clouds establishing themselves threateningly in the west. I had been camping for three days now, hiking far into the forgotten back country. I wore my favorite jeans. There's just something inherent in every denim garment that possesses a comfort that surpasses any other form of material confinement. With every wash, it looks and feels even better than before. Our denim scrubs are six and a half ounces of lightweight cotton denim, indigo dyed and bleach-washed for a slightly rustic look.'

HATTIE: Now doesn't that take you away? It makes me want to buy denim.

SUE: The actual real creative part of it, the storyline, doesn't have to relate to nursing at all. We want it to relate to the fabric and pull the people into the fabric.

MELISSA: And sometimes I'll take a big five-yard piece of fabric and wrap myself up in it and try to figure out what it what it feels like to be in it. I do that a lot.

HATTIE: All right. Do you think that health-care professionals read the catalog at their job or at home?

SUE: Probably a little of both. You know, it's a coffee break kind of sit around read, but it's great just to sit in your living room and just sort of fantasize and read away. And you don't even have to be shopping. You can sit and read all the fantasies like a storybook.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) S.C.R.U.B.S. mails hundreds of thousands of catalogs every month. To increase the return on investment, Sue hired an experienced marketing director, Kathy Murphy.

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