Transcript for: Don Freeland describes inventing Scrubbies pre-washed jeans.
We had a guy by the name of Terrance Timmerman, and they brought out in that era, a jean called Faded Blue.
I asked him. I said, "How on earth did you ever get onto that colour?"
He said, "I have a sailboat and my daughter is a teenager," and he said, "I see her throwing her jeans off the end down a rope and dragging 'em in the salt water." And I said, "What for?" He said, "That's what I asked her." And she said, "I like them soft. I like them soft and faded."
So I looked at my wife, and I said, "You, you wash the jeans before the kids wear them, don't you?" She says, "I, yeah," she said, "They insist."
And I said, "Everybody in the country does." She said, "What are you thinking of?" I said, "We should pre-wash jeans."
You see, denim, when you weave, the old fashioned shuttles went back and forth at forty miles an hour.
And when shuttle went through, it could break a strand very easy. So, they soaked the threads in potato starch. That's why jeans were so stiff when you bought them because nobody washed the
potato starch out.
When I went down to see Goodis, Goldberg and Soren on my next year's program and I said after our meeting, "Jerry, I want you to keep a group of your young people back, young people that wear blue jeans, for a private conference. I've got an idea, and I want it to be kept confidential."
I tell these kids what the idea is and they just jumped out of their chairs. "Thank God... I've ruined more jeans by putting bleach and wrong things in 'em... Oh God I can just go in and buy 'em and they're already shrunk to fit."
So we had a little meeting after everybody went home and I had uh, sketched in a boring management meeting, a washtub, old-fashioned with a scrub board in it with soap bubbles.
I had two columns of names: Wash Out, Bleach Out, Softies, you name it.
And I said, "I don't like any of the names I've got." So, he's lookin' and he said, "I was lookin' at your wash tub you sketched." And he said, "I can build a commercial outta that by going like this and throwing 'em up on a line. And he said, The name should be Scrubs." And I said, "You're sure as hell close." He said, "What do you mean I'm close?" I said, "It's not Jewish enough." (Laughter).
He says, "So what would make it Jewish?" I said, "Scrubbies."
The interesting thing was that Eaton's... I could never get in their door. In Montreal, the guy started to buy, who was starting to buy from us and, and uh, reluctantly and I went to see him and he looked at me, and he said, "I think you're absolutely right. I want nine hundred pair." Nine hundred pair came into the Montreal store. It was unpacked on a Friday. It hit the shelves. By Saturday, there wasn't one pair left. Never happened before in their history. French kids will die for fashion.