Oriana Turley is a mother, adventurer, nurse and founder of Medicine Mountain Scrub Company LLC. Her first week as a nurse she was disappointed she could not find functional performance workwear made with the strict ethical and sustainability standards important to her, and is so common in outdoor apparel. Now, she has set out to create her own. Oriana wants to offer women in medicine one more tool to help them be confident and comfortable at work. Medicine Mountain Scrubs’ modest necklines and high-waisted yoga-style pants are unique in the industry, and sorely needed. Oriana believes nurses and other medical professionals like her don’t want their bodies exposed as they serve others in their most intimate moments. Along with her sister Golden, she launched Medicine Mountain Scrub Company via a Kickstarter campaign on September 29th. MMSC is a female-focused medical workwear company focused on function, sustainability and ethical manufacturing. Oriana is on a mission to make the future of health care more sustainable, starting with the scrubs worn to work every day. Inspired by the mountains, designed by nurses and top outdoor industry professionals, Oriana has worked to create a full-coverage work uniform that reduces embarrassing body exposure while building a values-driven brand. Oriana is also an advocate for self-compassion in healthcare, and helps women in medicine develop mindfulness practices to help control their physical reaction to prolonged stress and secondary trauma. She lives in The Bitterroot Valley of Montana with her two-year old daughter, Amara and blacksmith artist husband, Charlie. She can often be found wandering ridge-tops with her daughter.
Where did the idea for Medicine Mountain Scrub Company come from?
I am a nurse and avid outdoorswoman who worked through my teens and twenties in the outdoor industry. I was fed up with the lack of sustainable, high performance medical workwear. I was inspired by companies, such as Patagonia, that have built profitable companies on the backbone of ethics, advocacy and sustainability. We set out to find partners and build supply chains that share our values. We, and our company believes that sustainable and ethical supply chains are the future of the healthcare industry. Medicine Mountain Scrub Company is proud to bring the performance fabric innovation of the outdoor industry into medical workwear through products designed by women, for women. I grew up in the Siskiyou Mountains of Oregon. Our family farm sat below a small mountain, considered sacred in the small community, named Medicine Mountain. This place holds significant spiritual and sentimental history for myself and my sister Golden, who is also my co-founder. We named our business after this place, because it captures the spirit of what kind of business we want to build: one that respects the earth, our fellow humans and supports women in medicine at a deeper level. The name also honors our deceased father who truly taught us to respect the planet, recognize the value of indigenous wisdom and the importance of being a responsible global citizen. He was the one that started a family tradition of waking before first light on the Winter Solstice each year, hiking up to Medicine Mountain in the dark and welcoming the coming of the light as the days began to get longer. The name fit perfectly for both the population we serve, badass mountain women who work in medicine, but also on a personal level for myself and my sister.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My days have extreme variation. I alternate between shift work at a local hospital as a registered nurse, leaving my home before 6am and returning after 8:30pm. On my days off from the hospital I oscillate between caring for my 2.5 year old daughter Amara, and working on my business in the loft of our small Bitterroot Valley cabin with varied success of productivity. I connect with other women business leaders weekly to gain perspective, and to validate the intensity of running (or launching) a business through COVID. I am still setting up the nuts and bolts of our business, so I do a lot of work learning and executing email marketing, lead generation, supply chain problems, social media advertising, accounting systems, fulfillment systems, and driving our crowdfunding campaign forward. I reply to all email inquiries personally, either to potential collaborators or questions about our Kickstarter campaign. I correspond with women in medicine all over the country who are struggling, looking to start their own businesses, or just want to connect in some way. If everyone is healthy that week, my daughter is able to go to daycare, if we are not, we go back into quarantine, get tested for COVID-19 and I attempt to tackle my task list between snack time, nap time and time outside. At times, it feels fairly manic and unproductive. I really work on being kind to myself and acknowledging that I am doing my best.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I always joke that I am a “chipper away-er.” One of my strengths is having the tenacity to have good follow through over long periods of time. Even if a goal takes years, I am always taking steps forward toward that goal. I start a journey and follow the path to see where it leads me. Trusting my path is huge for my mentality toward tackling big endeavors and being patient, but persistent.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The trend toward sustainability that I’m seeing, both in our greater society, and more specifically in healthcare really gets me pumped. I love witnessing the persistence of changemakers in big healthcare systems that are working to create meaningful data in the areas of efficiency, sustainability and be effective in changing the healthcare industry toward more sustainable and ethical practices. It gives me hope for my profession as a nurse, but also for humanity.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Being flexible with my time. Sometimes your task list just isn’t going to happen that day, and instead of fighting it I am often able to recognize that it isn’t going to work for whatever reason and cutting my losses, going outside and starting fresh at another time. This may be an hour later or the next morning. I have found that this internal flexibility allows me to enjoy my life in a more balanced way, and be more productive overall.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Follow your path. Have faith in it, and yourself. Trust that the universe has your back, though it doesn’t always feel like it.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Humans are absolutely capable of doing the right thing.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Build your foundation before you grow. This applies to your personal skills and to your business. Seek out those who are more knowledgeable than you and learn from them. Be open to feedback and build your systems.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Start at a systems level, then flush out the details. When I decided I was going to start Medicine Mountain, I started networking and relentless outreach immediately. I found resources that would help me along the way, mentors and business coaches who could explain the different buckets of details required to build a business. Then I set to work on checking off those details. I found a female led law firm, SOVA, to help me with advice on how to set up a business legally, explained trademarking and helped me get started on trademarking only the most important aspects of our business. I plugged into the Blackstone Launchpad which is an entrepreneurship support program through the University of Montana. There I found the support to build my business plan, do my first financial projections, figure out my maximum cost of goods sold to have a viable business and started to see the incredible support network for entrepreneurs that exists in Montana.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I heard a lot of no’s as I tried to build my supply chain. It can be really difficult to get fabric mills and cut/sew manufacturers to respond to you as a small business or startup. I tried to learn something from each rejection, gain insight and move on to the next. I finally found an ethical sourcing company that was just launching and was perfectly aligned with my values. Persistence paid off in this instance, and though I heard a lot of rejection I kept going.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Honestly, the only actual idea I’ve had for a business is this mountain inspired, sustainable and ethical medical workwear company, and I decided to go for it.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I have been investing in replacing any worn-out clothes in my closet with high quality, sustainable items from small businesses. I invested in a pair of fleece leggings from Kind Apparel with a mountain scene painting from Rachel Pohl printed on them- and I am obsessed. They are made from recycled plastic bottles, and are beautiful, cozy pieces of art. They truly bring me joy.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
We recently switched our email marketing platform to Flodesk. We find it extremely intuitive and easy to use with a flat fee, no matter the amount of emails you wish to send or subscribers you have. It helps us keep things simple and affordable with our email marketing efforts.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
If you are learning about marketing, definitely read “Building a Storybrand” and purchase “The Seven Basic Plots, Why We Tell Stories.” Finding your brand story is essential to building something that is authentic and true to your values as a human and a company.
What is your favorite quote?
“You never fail unless you stop trying.” Albert Einstein
- Strict standards of sustainability and ethics should be the standard in business, not the exception.
- Persistence is the key to success, trust the process.
- If you have an idea, go for it.
- Build your network and seek professionals to help you organize your business and systems.
- Use every rejection as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.