A New Direction - Part 2
In February 2020, I wrote a blog post about RedWhite's "A New Direction - Part 1". This article is a follow-up.
In that article, I wrote about my decision to re-focus this company on the products that truly matter - bibshorts & tights. I used to make a bunch of other stuff (jerseys, gloves, socks, baselayers etc).
In late 2019, I made a tough decision to kill these product lines (they contributed 20-25% of revenue - painful to see it go) and reallocated capital to RedWhite's core bibshort line.
In "New Direction", I talked about 6 products that I will be working on and launching :
- The Entry Bibshort (launched)
- The BIB Women - Stealth (launched)
- The Cargo Bibshort (launched)
- Women's Shorts (not launched)
- Thermal Bibshort (launched)
- The Winter Bib Tights (launched)
I delivered on 5 of these planned products (see above). In addition to these 5 launches, I added an extra product for women called The BIB Women - Navy.
2020 was a remarkably productive year for myself and RedWhite Apparel. Like millions of people around the globe, I experienced some sort of lockdown. Not having any social engagements or being able to travel meant I worked longer hours. That contributed to a high cadence of product launches.
2021 will be a Year of Consolidation
When I launched The BIB in 2014, I spent years improving quality, ramping up manufacturing and honing my business skills to deliver a top notch bibshort to customers worldwide.
I was very green in 2014. I was 26, extremely inexperienced and made a lot of mistakes. Having just 1 product helped during the early days. I didn't overextend myself. Because of that, the mistakes I made weren't fatal. RedWhite Apparel endured as a result.
The BIB's first manufacturing volume was only 300 bibshorts. The next batch was 500 bibshorts. I couldn't afford to manufacture any more than 500 in every batch which was a good thing. Keeping production volumes small allowed me to discover manufacturing mistakes that I could afford to make. If the early batches were larger (5000 for example), those mistakes would have been much larger, more expensive and likely bankrupted this company. Over the years, manufacturing volumes grew from 500 to 600 and finally I topped out at 2000 last year. Volumes are up almost 6x in every batch while defect rates keep dropping.
This is what I call a "period of consolidation".
2021 will be a year where I will be consolidating the new products. I will be increasing manufacturing volumes and closely monitoring feedback from customers. I will likely be making changes in my manufacturing process that will result in top-notch quality and consistency in every new item.
Product Development in 2021 will focus on the Ultra-distance chamois.
I will be working on new products in 2021, but I doubt I will launch anything until I finish consolidating the new products I made in 2020 and early this year.
I will be focusing heavily on the Ultra Distance Chamois.
Developing a new pad is a time consuming and expensive process. I did drop the ball a little in 2020 while focusing on Cargo and Winter Bib Tights. Now that those products are done, I am free to focus on this new chamois.
If you're wondering, yes. There will be a women's specific version as well.
I don't have a launch year for the new chamois. It could be 2022 or 2023. It depends on how quickly I can consolidate the new products and allocate capital to manufacturing this new chamois at scale (assuming I finish developing it).
Scale is important because the new chamois will have to be plugged into the thousands of bibshorts RedWhite makes every year. It is a big challenge.
Spare capital and time will be available throughout 2021. I will be investing those in the following projects :
- Cycling Shorts (no straps)
- 3/4 Summer Bib Tights
- 3/4 Winter Bib Tights
- Full length Summer Bib Tights
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I welcome comments and ideas. Please leave them in the comment section below.
@ALVIN WONG : Really happy you like my shorts! I am actually working on a model without a logo. Colours on bibshorts aren’t popular from my experience with navy bibshorts. I only sell them 10% of the time. This makes me less inclined to launch a grey bibshort.
I’ve own 2 long distance bibs & 1 cargo bib. They are still the most comfortable & I kept them only for long distance ride. Because I know I can trust them & not have to worry about chaffing.
Can I suggest changing to a nicer font type for the RW logo on the elastic thigh band?
Also, is there any plans for colored (Blue or Grey) long disyance bibs to add to the varieties?
I’ve been in a few of your bibs, and they are the only bibs I’ll grab. I spent the winter in the new thermal rights. Absolutely with out a doubt, comfort and fit was very dialed in. My first thought was wow it’s spring now- time to shed the thermals. Always reliable. Comfortable. Thank you. I really enjoy your momentum, drive to push the envelope envelope development of your products do the work and deliver what you say they will. Investment and hard work 💪good luck and I look forward to watching the ULTRA bib unfold. If they are anything like your previous products, we are all in for a treat! Best!
Just back from Tasmania, my Red n Whites did the job after a 3 day mtb stage race with Lisa (in comments above).
When you dont have to worry about the contact points on your seat after 3 long days in the saddle then you know you have the right bibs!
Looking forward to your ultra chamois in the next year!
As your unofficial distributor :D i’m super happy for you. Wish you many more years of success.
@KEITH LOUIE : Hello Keith! Keep an eye out for them in 2022. With luck, WEMBO makes a return and you can ride that in the new chamois.
@GEORGE : Glad you contacted me before buying. Your last order in March 2020 was for a size L, but this was before I made some minor upgrade in June 2020. All bibshorts made after June 2020 use a lycra that’s got a denser weave. It’s to make the shorts more durable. The downside of this change is that the bibshorts made after June 2020 fit tighter. Sizing charts are updated accordingly.
Since you are about 195 lbs, you’d be a size XL in the bibshorts made after June 2020 and a 2XL in cargos (which you correctly bought after my recommendation). I’m glad I nailed that recommendation!
Just ordered and received your cargo bib. As you stated, the sizing is way different and the 2XL you suggested is about right (for comparison, my other RW bib is an L, and it fits fine too). I look forward to your work on the LD chamois, as there is one product out there (I will send you the name if you want it for comparison purposes) that does a bit better for 3+ hour rides, but it is bulkier, so anything that extends long distance comfort without getting too bulky would be great. One other observation and question: I notice that if I don’t wear some kind of t-shirt, the bib straps and bib back tend to scratch/irritate my back and shoulders. Do most people forego some kind of t-shirt or just ride with the bib straps on bare shoulder skin?
Can’t wait for the Ultras Yuva! No doubt that you’ll come up with the goods.
@CHRIS HEREFORD : Really happy my writing resonates with you. It certainly looks easy but executing on a long-term vision is difficult. Things don’t always work out the way I planned but on a macro level, the business keeps getting better and better because of the strong underlying fundamentals. I’ve been doing this for 7 years now and everything compounds (experience, quality, customer growth), which makes every year easier than the last.
@KAZUYA GOTO : With luck, I could have this out in 2022
@BRUCER : The socks and jerseys were good. Simple and well made. It was a hard decision to discontinue them.
@NELLBORG : Really happy you enjoy reading this blog :)
@BRIAN CRUMMY, @ERIK LAM : I agree with you that RedWhite’s core audience prefers bibs, but there is some selection bias in this. I have spoken with some pretty serious riders who wear shorts. They like shorts mainly because it is more versatile for toilet breaks. They also just like wearing shorts. Women riders too like shorts. For the 3/4, yes you can use shorts and pair it with warmers, but there are people who like a 1-piece garment that does away with the need for warmers. I’d likely start with a small batch of these and ramp up if there’s product-market fit.
@PETER DONKERS : Thank you for continuing to buy my bibshorts! Before I discontinued the gloves, I kept a number for myself. They’re dying just like yours and it does make me a little sad knowing they’ll be gone eventually.
@EVAN FREEMAN : Thanks for this feedback. At 175cm, the ideal size would be a M for you, but because you’re lean, you have no choice but to wear a size S. It isn’t ideal. However, I can’t extend the leg length because it would make the shorts too long for the smaller guys. As the business grows, I do intend to introduce longer leg length bibshorts. It’ll be 2 inches longer which will be perfect for you.
@MURPH : If you bought any bibshort made after June 2020, the “plumber’s crack” issue would have been solved. I replaced the lycra with a denser weave version. As the bibshort ages, it will inevitably deteriorate, but with this denser weave, it will not show your skin. Do note that because it is a more compressive lycra it is tighter. You may need a larger size. Check the updated sizing charts before purchasing again.
@LES MARSTON : Thank you for the kind words Lee :).
@HANS VAN DER VOORN : I think the baselayers and socks I made were top notch quality stuff. I still use them especially the baselayers. Socks are wearing out now and I’ll probably need to look for another brand since I don’t have any more left in my wardrobe. It is painful to get rid off non-core stuff, but focus is important.
@LISA : I needed a critical mass of female customers to fund the product line extension for women. More to come in future ;)
Love hearing about the business development. Have been wearing RW for years, and appreciate the extensions in the women’s range. I’m about to head to Tasmania for a three-day MTB event, with three pairs in tow. Thanks Yuva.
Hi Yuva, I do rides up to 20 hrs long only use RW bibshorts, going back several years. As well as the quality and comfort the price is pretty competitive too. I can see why you wanted to focus on being the best at bib shorts, but I also liked the singlets and socks that you used to sell. I liked the jersey colours too, but they didn’t last as long and were a bit undersized. Looking forward to the ultra-distance chamois option. Cheers, Hans
Only bibs I use. 20 minutes on the trainer or all day outside. Outstanding product ✌️
RW bibs are my go to bibs, don’t know what it is about them but they just work, better than my LG, Assos and Pearl Izumi bibs, my only complaint is about a 6" area above the back of the chamois that wears out and the bibs start to show the plumbers crack when riding, friends tell me to retire them, not sure if anyone else has pointed this out but if that area could be reinforced by a thicker material that might be great. Maybe it might just be my 200lb build, but all my RW bibs have worn out in that area, hang dry all my bibs. Love my RW bibs. Murph
I forgot to mention that I am super excited by any advancements in long-distance chamois technology!
Agreed that Cycling Shorts makes no sense since the market segment of RW is not the entry riders that look for a cycling pant that is no strap. In Hong Kong, 90% rider either not wearing any cycling pant or take a bib short.
No really willing to see the cycling short production line just like the jersey and bottle one……
I own a lot of bibs, but the ones I reach for for longer rides are the RedWhites. Every time I wear them I’m amazed at how they just make riding better.
I’m happy to learn that you’ll be making 3/4 tights (knickers). I really love that configuration in both fleecy and regular Lycra for temps between 40-65F.
The only suggestion I have is that the regular bibs could be longer. The small fits my frame perfectly but only goes to the middle of my thigh (175cm height). Current trends are to be quite long, and I think there is no downside to adding 6cm or more to the length. This would also make them work better in combination with knee warmers.
I’m also excited for the ultra distance chamois. The regular one is already better than anything else I’ve tried.
You’ve developed excellent products and a committed group of users. I’m now riding #3 & #4 bibshorts outdoors, #2 indoors on the trainer. My #1 has finally retired. To top it off and despite that they no longer have any gel to speak of, I still love my RW gloves. Wishing you much success, because your success makes my rides more pleasant.
I would skip the shorts… I think most serious riders (seems like RW’s target market) prefer bibs. I also prefer knee warmers to 3/4 for versatility. Just MY thoughts. I would like to see warmers and sun blockers.
You’ve made some good decisions to keep RedWhite in business, Yuva. Thanks for sharing your insights. Having said that, the socks and jerseys that you’ve discontinued are the best socks and jerseys that I own. Another indication of your high standards. All the best.
Sounds greaaaaat about chamois for looooong riding!
I will definitely buy some and take them to France at next PBP!
Looking forward to unveil the product!
You are amazing! Sharing your business details is such a warm and inviting gesture, I feel closer every time you post. Succeeding in business can’t be easy, and your writings show just that, but your diligence and belief in a strong product makes your path look simple and easy. Your refocus on your core product has strengthened the name.
@SIMON RACE : Thank you for the very kind words!
@LUKMAN : A lot of customers in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia keep asking for this. I do respond to customer demand if it reaches a certain critical scale.
@BOLIS IOANNIS : The EU is a challenging market mostly because of VAT and tax compliance. I think it will change as Brussels understands that they have to radically simplify things to incentivise foreign small businesses to incorporate and pay tax within the EU. Everyone wins this way.
@CHRIS : Keep an eye out ;)
@AZERIL : Graphic design isn’t my strong suit. I do know what you mean. I currently play to my strengths (manufacturing and engineering design) and keep the graphic design simple. As the business grows, I will pay more attention to appearance.
@MICHAEL CUFF : I think bibshorts for indoor training is redundant because the current bibshorts are designed for riding in hot, tropical climates. You can make something that’s already lightweight and breathable marginally more lightweight and breathable, but the return on investment is hard to justify. Instead of that, I think a shorts (with no straps + long distance pad) makes more sense for indoor training. It’ll also double up as a product for customers who just don’t like bibs. I prefer investing in products that can serve a dual (or more) purpose. The customer also gets a better deal this way.
@KOH SUN YEW : Yes you did and I did say no. However, I do change my mind in response to a critical mass of feedback and demand. You likely won’t see this until 2022 at least though.
@PAT FORD, @DAVID : I can’t thank you’ll enough for continuing to purchase and recommend my bibshorts to your friends. It really helps the business grow.
Put me down for both summer and winter bibs! Love your work (I’ve bought at least a dozen pairs of your bibs)
Three friends who wear your bibshorts got out for a first Spring ride yesterday (Canada). We’re all great fans, both of the bibs and of how you’re building the business. I’m thrilled as well that you have an ultra chamois in your plans. Keep it up Yuva!
I asked recently about summer bib tights for woman and your reply was No. Glad to see that it is coming soon.