Founder Stewart Sloan on Answering the Call for Advanced PPE

surgical ppe

In a world filled with standardized personal protective equipment (PPE), what would cause a successful urologist to pivot his surgical career to become a leading PPE manufacturer in North America?

Frankly, it was his frustration. Stewart Sloan was sick and tired of donning and doffing protective coverings that didn’t live up to their core function — being the reliable barrier between him and the bodily fluid he was exposed to every day while doing his job.   

And if you’re a fellow surgeon working in conditions that produce high volumes of bodily fluids, you know this frustration all too well. Especially back in the day before Sloan Medical flipped the script on quality standards and reinvented PPE in a way only someone with a true user’s perspective could.

Today, let’s travel back to the late ʼ80s when Stewart said enough is enough and began the PPE manufacturing company appreciated by thousands of surgeons and nurses for keeping them safe and dry in the OR.

Done with Being Drenched in the OR

The all-too-common practice of keeping a change of clothes in your locker because you KNOW you can’t rely on your PPE to protect you was no longer going to cut it for Stewart Sloan. A nurse, sensing his frustration, went to her locker and pulled out a PPE sample she’d received maybe a year earlier. 

Stewart examined it, seeing it had the makings of something more in line with what’s truly needed in the operating room with the bootie and legging attached. However, it was not heat sealed so it still was not impenetrable, BUT it was better. So, he ordered more from the manufacturer in China. 

Then, after six months his PPE purchaser told him the manufacturer stopped making it. Not willing to take no for an answer, Steward got on the horn with the company. From there, he learned the product idea came from a nurse in California and they willingly provided him with her contact information. 

Turns out, the nurse was fed up with the manufacturing partnership, and low and behold a partnership was born. 

Starting From Scratch: Adventures in PPE Manufacturing 

Some doctors golf or vacation during downtime. Not Stewart. He was nose to the grind between procedures hunting for skilled partners that could help champion his heat sealing and sewing needs — two entirely separate and underserved trades. 

Doors seemed to slam at every turn. Nobody was interested. Two or three months later, Stewart finally found a small-town Nebraska manufacturer who produced lawn bags. They agreed to work on product development in a way that would exceed the overseas samples he was working to improve.

Operation PPE Marketing and Sales 

The next leg of Stewart’s journey put his experience as the target audience to particularly good use. Sure, he wasn’t a “marketing and sales” guy, but he 100 percent understood the end users’ wants and needs. 

“Surgeons and physicians’ biggest challenge in the PPE space is the people coming up with the products without bothering to listen to their customers. Companies create a product and then expect to find a need for it. That’s just backward. And I was determined to do this the right way. You simply have to listen to your customers.” — Stewart Sloan, Founder 

In January 1989, Stewart placed a single ad in Surgical Products magazine — a simple one-pager with the classic tear-offs at the bottom with ordering information. 

This “Keep It Simple Surgeon” marketing approach resonated with readers and he generated 60 leads. Stewart entrusted those leads to a handful of sales reps and waited to hear back. 

Well, about six weeks later, Stewart decided to follow up with the leads only to find out that only half of them had been contacted previously. Nose to the grind again, he ended up selling 10 cases over the phone to these potentially missed opportunities, and you guessed it, he parted ways with the reps. 

From there, he enlisted two telemarketers in the open sales seat and plopped them right where he could best collaborate with them: a side room in his private practice. And as traction began to pick up with small-town hospitals, Stewart hit the trade show circuit, planning every vacation around networking opportunities that connected him with the people that would continue to influence and evolve the product line for decades to come. Soon, his two telemarketers had expanded to 40 within no time.

More PPE Orders, More Lessons to Learn

Orders were steady and humming. Physicians and surgeons loved Sloan’s products. Everything’s roses, right? 


As orders ballooned, Stewart quickly realized his single-source manufacturer couldn’t keep up with demand. So, it was time to diversify. And because he’d gone through the ringer years back looking for sewing and heat-sealing partners, he had experience on his side this time. 

“I joke that I’ve never made a single mistake along the way, but I sure learned lots of lessons along the way.” — Stewart Sloan, Founder

Stewart secured not one but two additional suppliers, removing the barrier to providing as much high-quality personal protective equipment as possible to his fellow colleagues across the country.

Keeping It Real: Sloan Medical Today 

Over the years, Sloan Medical has spoken to thousands of end users and partnered with dozens of them to remain connected to the needs of his fellow medical professionals. Sloan has even branched out to help ideate and develop solutions for mortuaries and firefighters. 

“Truly, the key difference is we listen to our customers. Always have, always will. We respond to feedback with solutions and enhancements, and I am usually the one talking to them myself. It’s important to understand what they’re trying to accomplish, their goal, or their problem. That’s why they trust us.” —Stewart Sloan, Founder 

Today, Sloan Medical proudly remains surgeons’ and nurses’ go-to source for PPE for those truly wanting protection in the muck so they can focus on what they do best — patient care. 

Answering the Call During COVID-19

The demand for PPE during the pandemic in 2020 was unprecedented. Sloan has always kept a keen eye on ensuring a healthy backstock is always on hand. This was good news for those in desperate need of government-supplied PPE to meet the pandemic’s demand for it. It was shocking news nonetheless when the phone rang. 

Steward reflects on that moment, “We intentionally partner with North American manufacturers to avoid shipping delays in a clogged supply chain. But when COVID-19 hit, everyone was hurting for PPE. My phone rang, and the next day the government hauled off seven months’ worth of inventory. And I knew we needed to replenish that stock, and fast.”

Stewart got on the horn once again, this time to his then 25-year manufacturing partner to strategize a solution. Almost instantly, additional shifts were added with the guarantee of keeping them busy for the next six months. And that’s just what happened. Workers rose to the occasion to keep steadily replenishing stock without any friction experienced on the customer side. (Way to go, team!)

Make the Switch to Sloan Medical

Sloan Medical’s unique way of putting customers first because, well, they are the customer, reshaped the industry. Finally, physicians, surgeons, and nurses everywhere have access to PPE that lives up to its purpose. 

At Sloan Medical, our goal is simple: Manufacture the highest quality personal protective equipment for medical professionals. We focus on creating and maintaining excellence in all aspects of the business from our knowledgeable customer service to our fast and reliable shipping. 

Our product lines have been perfected over our 30+ years in business and are guaranteed to perform in all types of environments. Additionally, our products offer easy cleanup, and provide total protection at reasonable prices. You can count on us for full satisfaction with every product we offer.

Ditch your subpar PPE and try Sloan Medical for yourself. Order your free sample today — and give us a call any time to request more information, provide feedback, or share your enthusiasm for the best PPE on the market.

Try the PPE everyone’s talking about.

Finally, PPE to keep surgeons and nurses dry and safe during surgery.

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