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Below is our recent interview with Mr. Lev Tripolsky, CEO at ITA-MED Co:
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to ITA-MED?
A: Officially incorporated in 1992, ITA-MED, which employs close to 100 people, is a successful manufacturer of high-quality, medical support products for a healthy lifestyle, including maternity & women’s health, home health care, orthopedic, and sports medicine products. We think of ourselves as a “boutique” manufacturer – not necessarily the biggest company in the marketplace, rather a smaller one that produces high-quality and unique products. Yet despite our modest size, ITA-MED manufactures and markets over 100 separate products, far more products than even the larger competitors. We also take a more progressive and proactive approach to healthcare and well-being: we believe the best way to “feel healthy is to be healthy”. Consequently, we develop products that are not simply meant to alleviate various medical conditions but are part of a long-term plan for health maintenance and better living overall.
ITA-MED prides itself on being an eco-friendly and “green” manufacturer. The company extensively uses natural, breathable and non-allergenic materials (such as cotton, wool, angora, milk protein, breathable neoprene) to ensure its products can be used comfortably and safely by virtually everyone in any climate while at the same time reducing the environmental impact. Plus, our appealing and consumer-friendly bilingual packaging (English and Spanish) adds great aesthetic value to any retail environment.
Q: What’s the story behind ITA-MED? How did you start?
A: At the beginning, my vision was to simply be a distributor of orthopedic and medical support products: find better quality products, create better packaging, and add value to the shapewear, support, and maternity products that were available in the early 1990’s. But since I’m a mechanical engineer by education, I saw that I could improve the design, quality and materials of the products I was distributing. So I did just that, using more natural fabrics, creating more attractive designs, and improving overall functionality.
It should be noted that I built this company on the strong belief that no other place can match the high caliber of products that are conceptualized and manufactured within the USA. With the vast resurgence of American-made products, our steadfast belief is still relevant and validated 26 years later. In the 90’s and early 2000’s, US corporations outsourced manufacturing to foreign countries to cut costs and save money. However, this loss of control greatly sacrificed product quality. ITA-MED avoided this trend because of the unmatched value of American-made products and our belief in the importance of keeping manufacturing jobs in our own country.
Q: What kinds of products do you provide to your customers?
A: Using “high-tech techniques to create low-tech products,” ITA-MED is a leader in the development of medical support products that are both medically correct and comfortable to wear; our company’s wide range of products are popular among consumers, doctors, dealers and distributors worldwide. ITA-MED markets products for both men and women, although women represent the majority of our clientele. The primary categories of our products are:
Graduated Compression Hosiery
-Anti-Embolism & Diabetic
Gabrialla Maternity & Women’s Health Collection
-Maternity Supports During Pregnancy
-Postpartum Girdles and Binders
-Body Shaping Lingerie
-Posture Correctors and Warming Supports
Back & Neck Supports
-Sport & Work Belts
-Back Braces & Supports
Abdominal & Rib Supports and Posture Correctors
Orthopedic and Sports-Medical Braces & Supports
-Shoulder & Elbow Braces
ITA-MED’s products can be categorized by our three major brands:
-Gabrialla (the company’s flagship brand)
Q: What channels do you use to sell your products?
A: ITA-MED, sells through three separate channels:
-40% Brick and Mortar Stores (pharmacies, clinics, doctor’s offices, maternity stores, medical supply, HME/DME dealers)
-40% Online (through Amazon.com, CVS.com, Walmart.com, and various reseller partners)
-20% International Exports (to 20 countries worldwide)
Q: Why ITA-MED? How do you stand out from your competition?
A: Because ITA-MED manufactures so many products, the company has multiple competitors, depending on the product line. Given that, these are the primary advantages we enjoy over our competition:
One-Stop Shop: With 100 products in its arsenal, ITA-MED can be a virtual “one-stop” shop for any “soft goods” business – or consumer – looking to fulfill their medical, maternity, and orthopedic support needs.
Approvals and Certifications: The company’s products are FDA-certified, Medicare- and Medicaid-approved, and federal government-approved (GSA contract holder). Some companies have one or more of these certifications but few, if any, have all.
Style: The company’s products are not only medically correct but stylish and user friendly as well.
Made in the USA: The company’s modern production facilities in the San Francisco Bay area not only allow ITA-MED to proudly offer a high percentage of American-made products, it ensures a high level of quality control versus offshore production.
Consumer Experience: ITA-MED has been producing its high-quality products for 26 years. This kind of experience gives customers a high level of confidence in both the quality and the effectiveness of their merchandise.
B2B Experience: ITA-MED has extensive experience working with HME/DME stores, pharmacies, maternity shops, doctors, clinics, e-commerce retailers, and international dealers and distributors. Each time we bring on one of these entities as a reseller or retail outlet, these new customers can be assured that ITA-MED understands the nuances of their business and the challenges they face.
Materials: ITA-MED uses a wide variety of natural, breathable materials (such as cotton, milk fiber, wool, angora, and airprene), ensuring that our finished products offer maximum comfort and durability. No other company uses the variety of natural materials that ITA-MED does.
Newly Designed Packaging: The company’s retail-ready packaging features bi-lingual copy and messaging, making it accessible to a more diverse audience.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: Our primary plan is to continue doing what we’ve always done: develop high-quality, durable, and stylish medical support products for a healthy lifestyle. Beyond that, we do have some specific goals and objectives for the future:
Since adding our online commerce and export programs, we’ve begun a resurgence, especially in expanding our dealer base. We want to maintain that growth and not just return to the prosperity we had six to eight years ago but to surpass it – and do it in two to three years.
-Enter New Verticals
We sell to a wide variety of customers in the medical supply, sports, maternity, and related markets. But we’re looking to get into additional markets; i.e., the sporting goods and athletic markets, including health clubs, pro shops, college, high schools, and sporting goods stores.
-Land the Big Fish
For years, ITA-MED has focused most of its efforts on the “mom and pop” establishments: independent pharmacies, small medical suppliers, etc. The key to true company growth is through the “big fish” – the large franchise pharmacies, major dealers, and prominent industry players.
We will grow our international business, opening new markets and expanding our export business with China, Australia, India and the Middle East.