I grew up across the street from Mount Sinai Beth Israel (formerly known as Beth Israel Medical Center). My mother tirelessly worked as an Operating Room Technician for many years. Blue scrub after blue scrub, I always wondered why medical apparel couldn’t be a bit more fashionable and reflective of the amazing people who help so many of us. With Jaanuu, there is a new revolution in the medical world. I am so excited to share my Q&A with Dr. Neela Sethi Young, the Co-founder of Jaanuu.
Natasha: Interesting company name. Is there a story behind Jaanuu?
Dr. Neela Sethi Young: Yes! Jaanuu means “sweetheart” in the language of Hindi and is a term of endearment used in many cultures for someone you love, often a child. My parents have called my brother Shaan, the co-founder and CEO of Jaanuu, and me “jaanuu” since we were kids, hence the personal connection to the brand name.
Natasha: Why is fashion important to you?
Dr. Neela Sethi Young: Fashion is very important to me. There’s no reason that doctors and nurses of all shapes and sizes across the country — who help people feel better day in and day out — shouldn’t have fashionable options that they’re proud to wear. On my first day as a pediatrician, before Jaanuu, I was stuck with shapeless sacks that were boxy and frumpy. Even when I had the choice to buy my own scrubs, sadly, I was left to choose between cartoon characters and rainbows, or just plain boring. Other medical professionals, I talked to echoed the sentiment, and thus, my brother and I created Jaanuu to help people look good, feel good and do good in scrubs that they can feel confident in.
To us, even more, important than fashion is championing body positivity and inclusivity, which is why we have inclusive sizing that consists of plus-size (our new Curve line), Petite and Tall.
Natasha: Why do you think fashionable high-quality medical wear was hard to find before Jaanuu?
Dr. Neela Sethi Young: People think that scrubs are a niche item but they’re really anything but. There are 13 million doctors and nurses in the U.S., and nursing itself is one of the fastest employment categories in the country right now. Chances are, every person has a friend or family member working in the healthcare profession.
Traditional scrubs haven’t been updated since the 1970s and are frumpy, don’t fit well and don’t look good. Jaanuu is the first and only medical apparel brand to combine fashion, function, affordability, and ease of purchase for today’s healthcare professionals.
Natasha: What has been the response to your NEW Curves Jaanuu collection?
Dr. Neela Sethi Young: Overall, the response has been overwhelmingly positive and — perhaps most importantly — medical professionals are excited and empowered. Plus-size doctors and nurses finally have a stylish and tailored option for them that doesn’t cost more than non-plus size scrubs.
Our Curve line came to fruition after months of extensive researching, designing and testing. We learned about the pain points of plus-size doctors and nurses and sent samples around the country to get their honest feedback. We revamped the fit on certain styles instead of simply scaling up from non-plus size styles and developed a new Ponte fabric that would flatter better.
By doing months-long research and testing, we created the industry’s first contemporary scrub line dedicated and tailored to the plus-size healthcare woman that addresses her pain points.
Natasha: I love your commitment to celebrating real life nurse. Do you believe men and women in the medical field are not celebrated as they should?
Dr. Neela Sethi Young: Healthcare professionals work long 12+ hour days and work selflessly to help their patients feel better. If we can help them feel more confident and empowered at work by giving them a better-looking scrub alternative, we are excited to do so. In fact, we felt we HAD to do so.
Natasha: Being that you wear so many different hats in your life, how do you manage everything you need to do?
Dr. Neela Sethi Young: I always strive to be the best mother, wife, friend, and leader. While balancing the different parts of my life is always tricky, I feel grateful and humbled by what life has offered me. And I feel even more fortunate for the great family, friends, and colleagues around me each and every day.
Natasha: What is next for Jaanuu?
Dr. Neela Sethi Young: We are hoping to bring Jaanuu’s fashionable and functional product offering, from scrubs to lab coats to footwear, to even more medical professionals around the world, empowering doctors and nurses to feel great at work and express their own individuality even when in uniform.