Paying it Forward by Opting for Environment-Friendly Linen for your Healthcare Practice [Interview][Transcript]

Jenny Barton
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest: Jenny Barton
Guest Bio: Jenny Barton began her working life in Pathology where nothing was disposable and everything was washed, sterilized and reused! She left after 13 years to rear her family. She always had an avid interest in anything scientific, particularly medical. Together with her business partner, they began a sustainable gift wrap (fabric) business and quickly identified a gap in the market for fabric linen for medical practices.

Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, Jenny Barton shares some good insight on what their products are about at WinC Wrap in Cotton. Their business has grown from there and they now supply custom made linen to practices all over Australia. WinC pride themselves on their personal service which ensures seamless supply of linen to surgeries in even the most remote location.

Transcription

Health Professional Radio – WinC Wrap In Cotton

Wayne Bucklar:   You’re listening to Health Professional Radio with Wayne Bucklar. My guest this morning is a little bit unusual for our radio station, she’s not a producer of orthopedic instruments or CAT scan devices. Jenny Barton of WinC Wrap In Cotton provides “cotton.” Welcome to Health Professional Radio Jenny.

Jenny Barton:   Oh hello, how are you?

W:  I’m great, good thank you. It’s lovely to have you with us. Now tell us first of all WinC Wrap in Cotton, what is it that you provide to the health industry?

J:  We provide fitted examination bed sheets to doctor surgeries, along with modesty sheets and pillow slips. We also provide them to specialists, to massage clinics, to physiotherapists and anyone else who has an examination style bed that might need linen.

W:  Notoriously difficult to buy linen for some of those.

J:  Absolutely. A few years ago, the trend went away from fabric linen and it went to disposable linen. And a lot of people have found that disposable linen is ill-fitting, it’s actually well it’s cheaper in first instance to buy disposable linen, it becomes quite expensive over a long period of time. And the other problem with it is you actually have to get rid of it, so it all goes to landfill.

W:  Now Jenny where are you located first and what’s your geographic footprint? How big an area do you service?

J:   We’re located, the head part of our business is in Brisbane. I actually living in Townsville and my business partner lives in Brisbane. And we see lots of businesses, communicate through the internet – email, phone calls, whatever but we service the whole of Australia. So we provided linen for as far away as Western Australia, outback Australia loves us because they find it very difficult to actually get supply, many of their supplies so we actually provide linen all over Australia.

W:  Now Jenny you we’re telling before about how you get into this business, just walk our listeners through how you came up to supplying clinical linen?

J:  Well our business actually started as a “gift wrap business” with recyclable gift wrap which would be cotton. So we’ve got people, encourage people to wrap their gifts in cotton so they could recycle it and use it again and again with a new gift, they can pass it forward so to speak. But with the global financial crisis that became a bit of a problem and with people wanting to cut that on their cost of course. So my daughter who actually works for an orthopedic surgeon came to me and said could I make linen for their surgery because they simply couldn’t get it anywhere and it started from there.

W:  Look, its extraordinary a gap like that in the market that you just kind of fall into I guess. Now Jenny what would you like clinicians to know about your product? What is that makes it of interest to them?

J:  Well, our linens all made locally. So it’s all Australian made, we source all of our products, all of our raw product in Australia, so we try to be good corporate citizens than keep the Australian economy ticking over. Our linens are all made from hospital grade sheeting, it’s made to the highest of standards with double stitching on all the stress points. And we put tunnel elastic in the bottom of the sheet and that can be replaced when it wears out, if it wears out, because I know there are a lot of doctor’s surgeries use really high temperatures when they actually go laundry the bed linen. So we actually pride of ourselves on the quality of our linen and we’ve had enormous amount of good feedback about how well our sheets are durable, like they last long time and they come up looking as like brand new, with the first ones we supply and now four years old and they look as good as the day we supplied them. So, yeah so its good quality that we’re looking for.

W:  You’re listening to Health Professional Radio with Wayne Bucklar. My guest this morning is Jenny Barton of WinC Wrap in Cotton, suppliers of examination bed linen, I guess clinical linen. And s lady with a passion for what she does and also a background in laboratory work. So I guess given that you worked in pathology, Jenny understanding infection control and manufacturing products that are easy for hospitals and clinicians to take care of is something that just comes natural to you.

J:  Well I hope so. Also we tried, we know that a lot of places have tried the disposable linen and places that use a lot of gels and those sorts of things in their procedure, the disposable linen probably is still the easiest way for them to control I suppose the mess. But for other surgeries a lot of them have gone through, going through just like places commercial places than just buying a flat sheet and they drape it over their bed. Now for a guy I met at the store with a whole lot of problems in that they can slip off the beds and whatever. The way that we actually making our sheet is we….at the top, we put elastic at the bottom and then the fit sheet fits onto the bed really really tightly. And so as a patient sits on the bed and squeeze their bottom around the sheets … and so we know that in the work, like in the work place “health and safety situation” the sheets are actually perfect, they’re not gonna actually “move or slip or slide off” the bed, they look good and we custom color code them. So we can make them to people corporate colors, we can make and expand what I call “medical colors” like pale green, pale blues and white. A lot of people like to color code their linen now so that they make the modesty sheets a different color to their pillow slips, a different color to their actual fitted sheets. So that when people go to the cupboard in a hurry and pull out their linen they’re not pulling out the wrong thing, which means that they actually have more washing to do.

W:  Jenny it’s interesting that there are so many details about such as simple thing that just never occurred to me. It never occurred to me for a moment, that color coding would make it quicker and easier for people to do such a simple thing. Tell me something…

J:  Yeah, absolutely.

W:  In every industry there’s a misconception or two. What’s the misconception about your products and services that drives you nuts and keeps you awake at night?

J:  I think it’s actual cost. People see the initial cost of it and I know that within the medical association now, I know there’s lot of actual practice managers that want for linen. And then the doctor say “Oh we can’t see the value in it” and then we have other practices were the doctors see the value in it and the practice owners are saying “Oh no we can’t see the value of it. We’d rather have a vinyl bed were we just wipe it over with disinfectant, pop down a piece of paper towel and it’s all done and dusted.” But we’ve actually had those people ring us and say the beds are now too cold for their patients so we want to put linen back onto them. And so there is a cost to as an initial cost. But our sheets last for ages and so where you spend that cost over a long period of time, it becomes very cost effective. And the other thing is not a cause to the environment.

W:  Jenny you’re talking about them being an environmental benefit as well.

J:  Absolutely.

W:  Is that just in the disposal of disposable linen you see that?

J:   I know that in Victoria, in Australia Victoria alone, they actually sent to waste an enormous amount of medical product every year, it’s equivalent to 200 thousand household wastes in 1 year, which is what the medical waste that is going to landfill. So if we can some way informed make it less landfill, less waste going to landfill, I think that’s an amazing thing really. It costs $10M annually to dispose of that waste in Victoria alone.

W:  An extraordinary figure. Jenny, thank you for being with us this morning. If you just joined us, you’ve missed my conversation with Jenny Barton of WinC Wrap in Cotton. And we’ve been talking about linen for clinical practices. However we have an answer for you, a transcript of this story is on our website along with a SoundCloud archive and that’s available at www.hpr.fm. If you’d like to find out more about WinC Wrap in Cotton, you can find their website at www.wincwrapincotton.com. This is Wayne Bucklar for Health Professional Radio.