Celebrating 90 years in business is a tremendous accomplishment, and our success is built on the relationships we have with clients, partners, and dedicated Healthcare and service industry professionals around the world. They've challenged us to innovate the modern professional apparel industry and maintain our leadership position, and we are humbled by their support over the years, said Barco President and CEO David Murphy.
At its four-day celebration event, supermodel Cheryl Tiegs, who modeled for Barco early in her career in the 1960s, made a surprise guest appearance to help present its first annual Made to Matter award, created to honor the world's most inspiring healthcare professionals. The winner, Tatiana Giusti, MD, M.Sc., advising professor and founder of Proyecto Mayu in Venezuela, will receive a year's supply of new scrubs and a $5,000 donation to the charitable cause of her choice.
At Barco, the value of caring for others is at the heart of everything we stand for, added Murphy. The purpose of our work is focused on providing comfort for those who care for others - helping them to look, feel, and perform their best. The goal of our Barco Made to Matter Award is to take that mentality one step further to honor and recognize Healthcare's most inspiring Healthcare professionals, who work tirelessly to provide care to their patients and community.
Headquartered in Gardena, Calif., Barco is a premium apparel provider. Its products are sold in more than 50 countries and territories, including 1,200 independent retailers in the U.S. and internationally. It employs 250+ employees, and approximately one-third of the company is dedicated to design, research and development, product development, merchandising and fabric sourcing. The company has been privately owned and operated since its inception; Michael Donner currently serves as the chairman of the board.
At a time when most companies are courting private equity funding or flirting with going public, we've held steadfast to our values and remained family-owned. Since the great Kenneth Donner took over the company from his stepfather in 1936, Barco has been guided by a mission to be a purposeful, innovative and meaningful apparel brand and that will not change. We are confident that we can continue to be successful, and look forward to the coming decade, affirmed Murphy.
Beginnings of Barco Uniforms
In 1929, Morris Barker founded Barco to provide uniforms for beauty and residential professionals. Seven years later, Kenneth Donner accepted an offer from his stepfather to run the company, bringing a keen business mind and a new fashion sensibility to designing uniforms. Donner brought a fashion-forward approach to the company, and leveraged technology and innovation to improve Barco's products. Donner, known for obsessively sourcing and innovating fabrics the company used, was also known for focusing on the tiniest details in crafting a garment that would improve a nurse's performance.
In 1943, Barco pioneered the use of nylon to create stylish easy-care dresses for nurses and continued to innovate with a series of fashion firsts that transformed the nursing industry. In the 1960s, Barco introduced 'warp knitted' fabric to its medical uniforms for stretch and comfort. It also began running advertisements in women's magazines like Mademoiselle and Cosmopolitan so nurses would see them and feel fashionable.
Invention of the Modern Medical Scrubs
When cultural norms made it acceptable for nurses to wear pants, Barco was the first to add a new level of ease and convenience to shopping by creating grab and go pantsuit sets, essentially inventing the modern medical scrubs set; later, it became one of the first professional apparel companies to offer tops and bottoms - for men and women - sold separately to accommodate a broader range of body sizes.
Since 2006, Barco has worked in partnership with ABC, holding merchandise licensing rights in the medical scrubs category to the television network's hit drama Grey's Anatomy. The global popularity of the show has helped make Barco's flagship collection the best-selling line of premium medical scrubs in the U.S. over the last 20 years. The Grey's Anatomy by Barco scrubs collection has expanded to included six sub-brands and continues to be the preferred choice for discerning medical offices and health care professionals around the world.
Launched in 2016, Barco One was designed in response to health care professionals' need for a uniform that would keep them cool even under extreme physical and emotional duress. It utilizes revolutionary temperature-regulating fabric technology that adapts to environmental and body temperature variances, providing optimal comfort. Each garment is made from five recycled plastic bottles, and the fabric's anti-static properties (Quick-Shed) release animal hair quickly and easily - ideal for veterinarians, pet groomers, dog walkers, animal wranglers, etc. A modern, sporty, athleisure-inspired look and fit make these pieces ideal for an easy transition from work to weekend life.
Barco One Wellness
Launched in 2018, Barco One Wellness is the first-ever medical scrub collection to use advanced bio-mineral-infused fabric technology, which aims to help the body self-regulate and recover. A health care professional's daily tasks are often physically strenuous and tiring, especially for those who work late and early morning shifts. Thermoregulated fabric technology keeps the body cool and comfortable, even when the heat is on.
Skechers by Barco
In 2017, Barco partnered with the leading lifestyle and work footwear brand Skechers USA, Inc. (NYSESKX) for the global launch of a new innovative scrub collection—Skechers by Barco—designed to offer fashion and high performance to healthcare professionals. Skechers by Barco features an eco-friendly fabric with four-way Spandex stretch to enhance performance as well as the company's unique soil releasing and moisture-wicking fabrics. Each garment is made from seven recycled plastic bottles.
Design and Innovation
Under Kenneth Donner's leadership, Barco began to design nurse's uniforms with the same precision and attention to detail as a European couture house, transforming the women who wore them. For Barco, purposeful design and innovation are what makes a set of medical scrubs more than just a uniform. Every stitch, pattern, pocket, and waistband are designed to positively impact the lives of those who sacrifice and serve others.
Today, approximately one-third of the company is dedicated to designing, researching, and developing new products, as well as merchandising and fabric sourcing. Garment prototypes are cut and sewn in Los Angeles, and then tested by real health care professionals who provide feedback before going into production. Barco is the only medical apparel company in the industry to employ a male designer specifically for men's apparel. The company's gradual shift into lifestyle collections and athleisure-inspired pieces is no coincidence, as it employs several designers who come from the high-street fashion and sportswear industries. Barco's current roster of designers have previously worked at Adidas, Nike, Quicksilver, Timberland, Manduka, Levi's, PacSun and Hurley.
In 1970, Barco entered a new phase when it was invited by Denny's to design and manufacture the corporate apparel for the national restaurant chain. Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald's, both expanding rapidly across the globe, came next. Today, Barco proudly represents a client portfolio that includes Domino's, Jack in the Box, Jamba Juice, Bojangle's, Subway, Sonic Drive-In, and Wendy's, and more.