When Serena Orok is away from her duties as a registered nurse at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, she operates her growing business Lux Scrubs.
Orok and her colleagues were wearing trendy, comfortable uniform scrubs that are available online, but with prices that seemed unaffordable for many, especially if they needed more than one pair, she said.
This inspired her to create her own brand of trendy scrubs to meet the demand for affordable uniforms, and Lux Scrubs was born.
“I started Lux Scrubs while on maternity leave with my second child in 2021,” Orok said. “I had zero previous experience owning a business or even working retail so you could say Lux has definitely been a learning curve. I worked out of my basement and have self-taught myself everything about running my business.”
Orok searched for a manufacturer, shared her design ideas and reviewed samples before settling on her chosen design. She created the brand Lux and trademarked it.
“I work with a manufacturer and they’ll create any design that I want. I can tweak the sizing because there are a lot of complaints with scrubs on sizing. I helped design them, I choose the colours and I work with the manufacturer who will create whatever colours and sizes that I need,” she said.
Orok developed online pages on social media boards, created a website and began advertising. Her first order in May of 2021 was for 100 sets of scrubs.
“Each shipment I’ve received since would sell out and I would continue ordering more and selling out every couple of months,” she said. “In the beginning, I would have a crazy couple of days, packing orders in my living room, packing my kids up in my truck and delivering scrubs around town. In June of 2022 I got smarter.”
Orok says she wanted to reach a larger audience and began researching. She hired two online influencers who are also nurses whom she met online on TikTok and who now create videos for her regularly. Orok has since collaborated with influencers on social media across Canada and the United States.
“A lot of trial and error has happened since 2021. I have had no funding from the government. I have been 100-per cent reinvesting my profits back into my business,” she said.
Orok’s biggest challenges are keeping up with the financial overhead, restocking inventory quickly and managing her time between her business, family, and her job as a nurse.
“The growth from 2021- 2023 has been amazing thanks to social media,” she said. “I am now shipping across Canada and the United States.”
Orok’s inventory has climbed from 100 sets of scrubs in three colours to more than 1,500 scrubs with more than 25 colour options. Lux provides uniform scrubs to local organizations which include the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, Matawa Health, Reveal and Drift Spa, and other local dental offices and clinics. She has recently expanded to work with schools and health organizations in southern Ontario.
Orok is now offering embroidery services. She has invested in an embroidery machine and has hired her mother, Diane Orok, to provide the needlework.
In August of this year, Lux outgrew Orok’s basement and has been relocated into a business space on Victoria Avenue.
“As of right now, it is just used to store inventory and pack orders. I have a small change room which I plan to use for try-on opportunities,” she said. “I have recently hired an employee to help out in the office, which has helped my stress immensely with managing my time.”
Orok hopes to open the storefront for a few days of the week where people can come in to shop, try on the scrubs and purchase them in person.
Within the year, her goals include expanding sizing options to include tall, petite and maternity options for her scrub collections.