How This Nurse Started a Business During a Pandemic

2 minute read

Nurses played an important role throughout the pandemic caring for the sick, and risking their own health as they worked long shift after a long shift. With more patients to treat with each new wave of the pandemic, many front line nurses experienced burnout and deteriorating mental health. This has led to an exodus of nurses, as many are moving into new careers. 

Registered nurse and founder of TommyBee’s, Tomer Brener saw it all firsthand. When the pandemic started, he’d been practicing as a nurse for just over four years. During one of his 12-hour shifts, he realized the importance of feeling comfortable during these long and challenging shifts.

“I recognized that there was a clear gap in the amount of available comfortable and fashionable healthcare apparel,” he recalls. “In healthcare, it’s fair to say that we (frontline workers) constantly are faced with challenging, upsetting, and sad situations and we have to learn to cope with such animosity. This is why it’s important for us to take care of ourselves and treat ourselves.”

So, in 2020, he started TommyBee’s, a fashion line of healthcare apparel that, unlike traditional scrubs, are both fashionable and comfortable. He recalls showing his sketchbook of designs to his co-workers during an overnight shift. 

“It must have been around 2 a.m. during the night shift when I got so much positive feedback about my designs,” he says. “I presented them to some of my co-workers and the rest is history.”

As a male frontline worker, he solicited important feedback from the women he worked with. Since the majority of nurses are female, this was especially key. 

“For male frontline workers there are more options out there for comfortable and fashionable apparel, but the same could not be said for females,” he shares. “Often challenged with either too tight tops and too loose bottoms or vice versa there didn’t appear to be a good in-between.”

Brener emphasizes how every single detail can impact the nurse’s experience at work, even how one feels in a garment is vital to managing the toughest situations.

“It is very sad to see our fellow frontline workers struggling and we do our best to help out when we can,” Brener says. “If one can feel fashionable, and comfortable it will empower them to not only feel better about themselves but provide better care to their patients and communities.” 

The success of his business is proof that Brener’s mission is on point:  “It’s been flourishing since its creation. Being in business for just over two years, I recognize the importance of focusing quality and excellent customer service,” he says.

Brener is ambitious about TommyBee’s future with hopes to scale throughout North America and even globally. He also, as a person who enjoys fitness and wellness, hopes to offer comfortable and fashionable athletic wear to reach even more p