Raj Bhathal

Raj Bhathal

CO-FOUNDER, RAJ SWIM

DAY JOB: Patriarch of family-run operations with a variety of business interests, including swimwear apparel maker Raj Swim, and a significant ownership stake in the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, as well as the team’s new Golden 1 Center and other real estate in the revitalized downtown area of the city. Started Raj Swim with his wife, Marta Bhathal, couple active in OC arts and philanthropic circles.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Raj Swim, among the country’s largest swimsuit manufacturers, was one of first OC companies that helped plug supply gaps in personal protective equipment (PPE) and help flatten the coronavirus infection curve, through face mask manufacturing. More than a million orders made within weeks of pivot to the new product line in late March; tens of thousands of masks donated to healthcare workers in Sacramento.

NOTABLE: 

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Apparel business operations have changed during pandemic, some of its staff in departments such as sales, marketing and design work from home. Other workers in production, the warehouse and its SwimSpot online shop have been placed on a staggered schedule and adhere to social distancing guidelines while at headquarters. No job cuts have been made, according to company officials.

QUOTABLE: Raj Swim plans to remain involved in PPE manufacturing post-pandemic. “Through this exercise, we discovered another viable channel of business for us and have decided to continue manufacturing PPE right here in California, along with our core business of swimwear. Maillots (one-piece swimsuits) and masks,” Raj Chief Operating Officer Bira Bhathal told the Business Journal in April.

FAST FACTS: Raj and Marta Bhathal started the swimwear maker in 1967 and went in with a group in 2013 to buy the Kings. Children Alex Bhathal and Lisa Bhathal Merage handle day-to-day operations for much of family’s operations, including real estate investments, through Newport Beach-based Raj Capital LLC.