Witnessing family members struggling to manage their incontinence supplies using traditional retail products is what led Adam Greenberg to start up an adult incontinence business while completing his MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 2002.
“At that that time, it was very confusing to shop for premium adult diapers online as everything sounded and looked the same and there was nobody that could help guide my family through this frustrating and embarrassing process,” says Greenberg, owner and president of NorthShore Care Supply. “So I studied up, and quickly became a diaper expert and was able to translate all the clinical specifications designed for nurses and hospitals into a very user friendly format that put families and patients at ease and made them feel like our products had a good chance to provide them the dignity and security that they’d been searching for.”
The company offers its own private label NorthShore brand as well as selected other premium brands to complement its line. NorthShore carries a full line of absorbent products for light to total bladder and/or bowel incontinence, but has a much wider selection in moderate to heavy absorbencies for which there are few options available at traditional retail stores.
While customers would generally prefer thinner products, Greenberg says they are very frustrated by the decrease in absorbency and coverage that typically comes with the launch of a new thinner adult diaper or pad. “The perception from people with heavier incontinence is that thinner products are more likely to fail. At NorthShore we do not focus on marketing our products as thin for this reason. We focus on the extended absorbency and coverage over leading national brands, and then we let the customer figure out that they were able to get more than three times the absorbency from the NorthShore brand and yet the product did not feel that bulky at all. Security will always be more important than thinness for people with incontinence. Even one drop leaking onto your pants can be devastatingly embarrassing.”
NorthShore recently launched two new lines of briefs (tab-style diapers) catering to customers who are wary of thinner products. NorthShore Supreme Series Colored Briefs are the first high absorbency adult briefs designed with fashionable prints and colors for adults. “Up until this launch, the only fashionable absorbent products available for adults were pull-up underwear style diapers; however, many people need better absorbency or leak protection only available in a tab-style diaper,” he says.
Customers contacted NorthShore saying that white briefs appear very clinical looking and make them feel more like a medical patient than a normal person managing incontinence. “We received many calls and emails from customers who were in tears after receiving our multi-color sample packs because they were overcome with emotion that a company was finally marketing products for people with heavy incontinence in the same way that they do for people with lighter incontinence. For the first time ever, they now had a choice as to how their absorbent underwear looked that could represent their personality and uniqueness,” he says.
The other new line from NorthShore is its MegaMax Briefs which Greenberg claims are the most absorbent adult diapers available for mass distribution in the world. MegaMax briefs are rated for up to 12 hours of dryness, even for those with total urinary incontinence. “This product is a lifesaver for the five million people with neurogenic bladder and the millions of other that have heavy incontinence for a myriad of other reasons,” he says. “Previously, these patients would have to add booster pads, use diaper covers and still need to change in the middle of the night, every night.”
MegaMax allows people, who don’t have a private way to change diapers, to go all day without a change while still keeping their skin dry and preventing leaks onto clothing. “This kind of security is allowing many to return to work for the first time in years and also enables many people to visit their doctor finally which they avoided due to fear of having an accident at the doctor’s office or during a test,” he adds.
Currently NorthShore works with contract manufacturers to develop its products, but it is expanding its headquarters and U.S. fulfillment center to a brand new state-of-the-art facility in Northern Illinois, which will include heavy investments in automation and robotics. These investments will allow the company to service the North American market with speed, accuracy and control that allows it to retain necessary margins to support its direct-to-consumer model, which demands reliable product availability and same day shipping. NorthShore will also be expanding its call center to 24/7 availability after the opening of the new facility in March 2020.
NorthShore’s products are currently only available in North America, but it is planning a large international expansion, with launches in the U.K. and Australia in 2020, and expansion into Europe, South America and Asia in the coming years.