Under Leadership of its New CEO, Careismatic Brands Reimagines Future of Medical Apparel
When it comes to corporate leadership, Girisha Chandraraj has developed a specialty: taking innovative companies to the next level.
Chandraraj has made a career of improving efficiency, overhauling sales models, building team culture and transforming promising companies into industry leaders.
Last April, Chandraraj again put his skills to the test by taking the helm of Careismatic Brands, Inc., as the company’s first non-founder CEO. Careismatic is the parent company behind some of the most prominent brands in the medical apparel space, including Dickies Medical, Medelita, Infinity and Cherokee Uniforms, and serves medical professionals in more than 70 countries. From day one in the C-suite at Careismatic’s Santa Monica office, Chandraraj has had a goal in mind.
“I want to double the size of the business,” said Chandraraj. “There are lots of paths to get there, but I’d love to make sure that we continue to maintain our leadership position in the market and be able to service our consumers however and wherever they need to be serviced.”
But Chandraraj quickly encountered obstacles. Namely, he needed to address a key challenge for the medical apparel giant: reaching healthcare workers with competitive products in a marketplace that is rapidly changing.
“Physically, online or at institutions, we want to be ubiquitous to where our consumer is,” said Chandraraj. “I don’t think we have hit that standard yet.”
Chandraraj’s answer to this challenge is a vision he terms Careismatic 2.0.
Careismatic 2.0, according to Chandraraj, includes a major restructuring of the company’s sales model and internal systems. During Chandraraj’s first year, Careismatic pivoted from focusing almost exclusively on the more than 3,500 brick-and-mortar locations where its products are sold to developing a parallel online, direct-to-consumer sales capability. The idea, company officials said, is for Careismatic Brands to meet consumers wherever they are—whether online or in-person at local retailers—in a way that differentiates Careismatic from its competitors.
“Girisha’s vision is centered around modernizing and upgrading our business model, as well as the infrastructure, systems, and talent acquisition processes that support it,” said Careismatic Chief Operating Officer Sidharth Lakhani. “Girisha’s work to balance wholesale and direct-to-consumer business channels will help Careismatic reach healthcare workers in ways that are most convenient for them while continuing to champion our wholesale partners.”
The company’s partnership with its network of wholesalers continues to be an essential component of its vision for its future, Careismatic officials said.
“Our wholesale relationships are the backbone of our business – and of our communities,” said Paul McAdam, Careismatic’s president and chief revenue officer. “Building these connections helped us become one of the most trusted medical apparel retailers in the country, and we are committed to maintaining those relationships and continuing to develop new ones.”
Chandraraj agreed with McAdam on the importance of maintaining both wholesale and direct-to-consumer efforts, particularly at a time when e-commerce continues to soar.
“We are a business built on a bedrock of servicing our retail partners and that will continue into the future even as we diversify with other channels,” said Chandraraj. “We never want to turn our back on the customer base that has built this business.”
Chandraraj admitted that developing Careismatic 2.0 has not always been easy; the company operates a complex business model that involves shoes, apparel, wholesale retail and manufacturing. Still, he said, Careismatic 2.0 is a necessary step in the company’s evolution that has already begun to yield positive results.
“How we think about all our channels and how we service all our constituents and stakeholders, it is not an easy puzzle to put together,” said Chandraraj. “When I started out, it felt like a long road to get everything dialed in, and I feel good about where we are.”
With his first year at Careismatic in the rearview mirror, Chandraraj was optimistic about the company’s future. He pointed to the company’s development of a 1-million square-foot distribution center in Dallas, which will open later this year, as evidence of Careismatic’s vision for the future.
“We have built the team to bring in a lot of capabilities to accelerate product innovation and our speed to market,” said Chandraraj. “I think the next 12 to 18 months will be a very exciting time for us because you will see a lot of changes that will serve our customers and consumers in a very material way. I can’t wait to see it unfold.”
Produced in association with Miller Ink.
Edited by Alberto Arellano and Virginia Van Zandt.