Elissa Margulies discovered while enjoying an active lifestyle of hiking, biking and exploring new places, she could not find a hat that offered maximum protection from the sun while still maintaining a sense of style. After researching the sun protection industry and appropriate textiles to use, Margulies and her husband Michael Ross co-founded Physician Endorsed in 2002. Today, Physician Endorsed is available in over 1200 retail outlets nationwide including luxury spas, resorts, country clubs, dermatologists, pro-shops and specialty retailers across the country.
THE MARGULIES STORY —
I grew up on the 4th fairway of a golf course community. I would see members at the clubhouse and around the neighborhood with bandages on their faces, arms and necks from skin cancer removals. In most cases, everyone was wearing baseball caps. Being the daughter of a dermatologist and a fashion designer, I thought if my mom and her friends want to wear stylish sun protection, why wouldn’t the other members?
You wake up in the morning – what’s the driving passion?
The excitement of seeing how many women are wearing our hats and tagging us via social media. This makes me want to create more styles and to keep growing the brand.
Who is the Physician Endorsed customer?
The Physician Endorsed customer knows the importance of protecting their face from the harmful rays of the sun. Because you are never too young or too old to start protecting your skin, our customers range from 20’s to 80’s. Our customer doesn’t want to sacrifice style for sun protection, she wants it all.
What distinguishes your product line from your competition?
What distinguishes our accessories is the quality of materials we use, and the manufacturing process. While we were among the first to sell sun protective hats, today there are many competitors. However, we take great pride that we never sacrifice style or quality for price.
You provide headwear for both men and women. What does each of the gender aisle prioritize most when selecting a specific product?
We found female customers look for style first, and functionality second. They love that our hats are not only stylish, but are sun protective, adjustable, and packable. 90% of the men buy hats because their dermatologist or wife told them to.
What’s the single most important lesson you’ve learned since starting your company?
Frank Lloyd Wright said, “form and function are one”. I agree. If something looks great — a cute hat — but doesn’t function properly– without sun protection and adjustability — then you haven’t created a good product.
Companies routinely tout the importance of customer service. Define the term and the approach followed by Physician Endorsed?
Not only is Physician Endorsed known for our sun protective hats, but also for our impeccable customer service. We get many inquiries through our website, and it is our policy to respond within two (2) hours whether they are a retailers or consumers. We are available to our customers around the clock, and to assist buyers nights and weekends with any issues or concerns they may have.
In approximate percentages where are most of your sales occurring via green grass shops, retail via brick and mortar outlets and online?
60% via brick and mortar outlets. 30% via green grass shops and 10% via online.
Many companies engage athlete or other prominent people for endorsements. What’s your position on endorsements and the impact they have or not have.
With the right brand representative, endorsements can make a difference.
How is the headwear category evolving and what steps are you taking to stay relevant?
We are constantly looking to break into new markets, both domestic and overseas. To stay relevant, we constantly watch the fashion trends, as our customers are fashion conscious.
Best advice your ever received — what was it and who from?
Sun damage is cumulative, and it can’t be reversed. You must always wear a hat and sunscreen when outside. Fortunately, my father, the dermatologist taught me this when I was young.
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