Christopher Case, Marketing Manager
Tell us about your company.
CASE: PediFix offers a unique assortment of medical footcare products historically available only to podiatrists and orthopedists, now packaged for sale in HME outlets. The PediFix line includes splints, braces and supports for bunions, crooked and overlapping toes, relief for heel pain from plantar fasciitis, dermatology products for dry, cracked skin and treatment of fungal infections of feet and nails.
What trends have you seen in the footcare market?
CASE: Long-term trends include expansion of the aging, foot problem prone population, the ability and interest of consumers to self-treat minor medical conditions and a more recent trend of foot and ankle specialists leaving private practices for large medical groups and hospitals, where their freedom to dispense PediFix products are restricted or eliminated entirely, leaving HME retailers a growing sales and profit opportunity for medical footcare products.
Matt Garver, VP-Marketing
What does your company offer in the footcare market?
GARVER: Brownmed manufactures products aimed at improving the quality of life for patients and has been for more than 50 years. For more than half a century, Brownmed has manufactured quality, innovative orthopedic products.
What trends are you seeing in consumer demand, and how are you responding?
GARVER: As more people live with chronic pain, they are doing so with a desire to remain active. This puts an increased onus on products in the footcare industry to be comfortable enough for consumers to wear all day long. Our IMAK Compression Arthritis Knee Sleeve is a new product coming to market this spring, and is designed with all-day comfort in mind. Made of a soft cotton spandex blend, it is distinct from neoprene compression sleeves currently on the market, which are more appropriate for shorter duration wear.
Scot Dubé, President and CEO
Michael Leonard, Director of New Product Development
How does your company stay competitive?
DUBÉ: We are staying competitive by bringing new products to the market every year that help people look and feel their best. For example, our MICROFIBER SHADES line offers a fun way to wear compression every day with new patterns and colors. We also have several exciting new launches planned for this year that are unlike anything else out on the market.
What challenges are providers reporting to you?
LEONARD: Insurance coverage is sometimes an issue because it is always changing. For those in the homecare industry though, compression socks and hosiery can be a great cash business because so many people can experience significant changes in their health
by simply swapping out their socks or hosiery.
What trends are you seeing, and how are you adjusting for these trends?
LEONARD: Our research and development team is committed to researching the latest textiles and fabrics, and we are always looking for ways to make our socks and hosiery even better. People must wear our products to feel better, and by bringing in the best fabrics (such as Supima cotton, sea island cotton, merino wool), we can greatly improve patient compliance.
Alan Schechter, Vice President, Sales and Marketing
What products does your company offer in the footcare space?
SCHECHTER: Gordon Brush manufactures the FootMate System line of products, which includes the FootMate Brush, the FootMate Rejuvenating Gel, the FootMate Rejuvenating Cream, as well as various other brushes to care
for the feet.
What is one change your company has made in the last year?
SCHECHTER: We recently introduced the FootMate Rejuvenating Cream, which contains the same great formula that is found in the FootMate Rejuvenating Gel, only in a cream form. When people get out of the bath or shower, they now have a companion product to help keep their feet soft and supple.
Barbara E. Mauss, National Sales Manager
Tell us about what your company offers in terms of footcare.
MAUSS: Traditionally Swede-O developed different styles of ankle braces to suit almost any situation. In the last few years Swede-O has developed a family of retail/cash products geared specifically for plantar fasciitis/heel pain.
Plantar fasciitis is the number-one adult foot problem, and our family of products suits almost any situation. The products were developed to help people for daytime use, night time use, during activities and for general pain relief any time. Included with our special pre-pack is signage, “The Heel Pain Center,” designed to attract customers and sell the products.
What trends do you see in the footcare market?
MAUSS: It’s been reported that 10,000 people a day turn 65, that the baby boomer generation’s desire to remain active will cause them to seek products to assist in their remaining active, and they are willing to pay for those items.
This trend will continue to grow the footcare market for products that provide comfort and address the needs of individuals who want to remain active. Swede-O continues to develop and offer products that make life more comfortable.
What difficulties are providers reporting in the footcare space?
MAUSS: The one challenge that providers have expressed is that products in this category typically demand numerous variations of SKUs. To address this issue Swede-O’s goal is to create products that overcome this objection. Swede-O has successfully added two highly sought after products to its Heel Pain Center that contain only one or two SKUs.
Tell us about a change for your company this year.
MAUSS: A relatively new product added to our Heel Pain family of products is our Low Profile Compression Performance Socks, which were developed by listening to our customers searching for an alternative to other products available in the market.