Hello, I'm Yuva and I run RedWhite Apparel.
I get asked about my day by customers sometimes. Usually, I reply with a simple, "pretty good, thanks for asking". Some customers have gone further, asking about what life is like, running RedWhite Apparel. Some have even specifically asked about my Mondays.
I thought i'd change things up a little by writing a blog post about what my Mondays are like. If you like this article, consider leaving a comment below about how your Monday is like.
5.13 am : Wake Up
My wife dictates my waking time. My wife starts work early and is usually out of the house by 6.45am. She wakes up as early as 5.13am to get a workout in.
Why 5.13am you ask? It's because she has a thing for odd numbers on the clock. Rather than 5.15am, she prefers something odd like 5.13am or 5.17am. I've been married long enough to not question this. Happy wife, happy life.
PS : Sometimes, I just sleep in until 7.00am. It's nice to sleep in a bit.
5.45 am : Emails
I get a cup of coffee and power through my email inbox. Over 60% of RedWhite's customers are located in North America and Europe and many of them send emails during their waking hours (my sleeping hours in Singapore).
I get a variety of emails from customers. Most of them are rather lovely ones (customers who enjoy the bibs and write in to me about them). I also get a good number of customers with sizing issues (bibs too tight or too loose). I have a Returns Policy which covers customers who bought the wrong size and I implement it for this group of customers.
Obviously I get my share of challenging emails. Like any business, there will be customers who are unhappy with the product and write in to me about it. These emails are always the most challenging ones to handle. In all cases, I do my best to create a win-win solution and customers usually get a good outcome. However, there will always be rare cases where a customer will not be satisfied with the outcome. My job as a steward of RedWhite is minimise this as much as possible.
6.30 am : Sizing HelpDesk
Emails out of the way, I start working through sizing requests on the Sizing HelpDesk.
Customers use this service to get a personalised size recommendation from me. I actively encourage customers to use the Sizing Helpdesk if unsure about which bibshort size to purchase.
Customers send in their Height, Weight and Waist Size. This is usually more than enough for me to make an accurate size recommendation.
Sometimes, I ask customers for additional information about their bodies. I could ask for information such as Hip Circumference, Torso Length and Thigh Circumference. More data points allow me to make a more accurate recommendation in some cases.
In rare cases, I will advise customers to not purchase my bibshorts if none of my offeres sizes will fit well.
A recent example was a potential customer who had wide hips, but very slim legs. This customer would need a size L bibshort to fit his hips, but because his legs were slim, the size L bibshort will fit loosely on this thighs. Because of this potential fit issue, I advised the customer against making a purchase.
7.15 am : Review Orders
I review orders placed by customers.
Reviewing orders is important because it allows me to catch any mistakes made by customers. The most common error is a customer buying an incorrect size. I am able to catch this because I cross check sizing helpdesk requests against customer orders.
Reviewing orders used to take up far more time in the past. Thanks to software, the time taken to review orders has dramatically fallen for me, despite an increase in order volume since 2014 (when RedWhite started)
7.30 am : Send Orders
RedWhite Apparel uses a 3rd party warehouse to store and ship inventory from. All I need to do is click a button on my shipping software and all new orders get sent directly to the warehouse's management system. The amazing power of modern software!
This is where my work ends.
The warehouse staff will review and pack each order and schedule FedEx or DHL to collect packages. Orders take 1-2 days to be packed and picked up for delivery.
7.40 am : Ride Time!
I head out for a 2 hour ride on Mondays.
I often pick a flat route and ride at a steady tempo. My Monday rides' purpose is to put my mind into a thinking-zone.
Most good ideas for RedWhite come during these 2 hours. My mind tends to wander and I mull over topics ranging from product development to customer service. I also mentally review the week prior and think about the overall health of the business and the brand.
This ride is sometimes peaceful (when things are going well and RedWhite is firing on all cylinders) and sometimes not so peaceful (if there are problems that need resolving and I haven't resolved them yet).
I like my Monday rides to be more peaceful so I can focus on larger ideas. In order to do this, I may choose not to ride if there is an ongoing issue I have to resolve first.
If this happens, I end up doing a short 5km run or strength training in my home gym.
10.00 am : Reading
Non-RedWhite related reading - usually investment related.
I read extensively beyond my work at RedWhite. A large area of interest for me is investing and finance. I manage my family's investments and do a lot of work identifying companies in the public market to invest in.
Usually I read Form 10Ks and do a deep dive into a particular business. I will then determine if buying shares in it will increase our probability of generating above market long term returns.
My readings can take weeks and I dedicate a few hours every day on this. I enjoy it tremendously and is the only reason I spend so much time on it.
If you're interested in any topic (non-cycling related), shoot me an email. I'm more than happy to talk about it it.
11.30 am : Lunch & Anime
I eat an early lunch at home. While enjoying lunch, I often watch Anime.
Netflix in Singapore has recently acquired / licensed a lot of fantastic anime. I highly recommend Yowamushi Pedal (cycling anime), Fullmetal Alchemist (pretty dark, mature themed anime) and Demon Slayer (also dark, but a bit more modern).
12.30 pm : Finance Work
Every Monday, I do a comprehensive breakdown of RedWhite's finances. I go over the business' cash flow, balance sheet, revenue and outstanding liabilities. If there are any invoices to be paid, I pay it on Mondays.
RedWhite Apparel is run in a conservative manner. The business has no debt on the balance sheet. Every invoice is balanced by adequate cash flow. The business also has a healthy amount of savings to tide over any reasonable rough patch.
I do think the business' balance sheet could be more robust, but I am quite happy with where it is now. I also think I could use debt more strategically rather than not using any at all. For example, I could avoid running out of inventory by using a working capital loan to fund inventory purchases upfront.
I deliberately chose not to do so to derisk the business. RedWhite is a small, one-man shop which allows me to run it conservatively and still generate enough cash flow to pay my mortgage and living expenses.
3.00 pm : Suppliers
I finish my day by replying emails sent by my suppliers. These emails usually cover topics like :
- Inventory Production
- New Product Development
3.30pm to Dinner : Free Time
I'm usually done with work by 3.30pm on most days. I spend the rest of my evening reading or on my hobbies.
A friend introduced me to Warhammer 40,000 in early 2020 and I have been spending some spare time building toy figurines to play with. Warhammer 40,000 is a table-top war game. You build armies and you use your army to fight against someone else's army. I spend my free time building plastic figurines to add to my ever growing armies.
Warhammer 40,000 is an incredibly immersive, dark and rich world. If you enjoy table top games, definitely check it out.
I'm a sub-par 40,000 player, but I am slowly getting better at it.
9.45pm : Bed
I'm in bed early on most days. I hit my pillow by 9.45pm and am usually asleep 20+ mins later.
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I hope you enjoyed this blog post. I'd love to hear about your day, so tell me about it in the comment section below.
@VENKAT GURRAM : Thanks! Really happy you enjoyed that little tour ;).
@CHRISTOPHER N HEREFORD : Mondays are pretty wild on the spectrum for me as well. Can be really good, or really bad. I do my best to maintain a schedule, but I don’t beat myself up if I have to deviate from it. I spent my last Monday building a new model for my army (since I woke up early and decided not to ride, freeing up an extra 2-3 hours for my hobbies).
@CHUA SEK CHUAN : I actually am taking more “off-bike weeks” these days, so not a lot of riding week in and week out. This week I am running more and also doing more strength training in my home gym. I might go for my first ride of the week on Wednesday and then run again on Thursday. What scale models do you build? I like Warhammer because I get to use my models in a war game against someone. Nice to play like that.
No cycling in your daily routine? :-(
Kidding, I happy that you are producing these bibs, and as soon as I save up enough, I will make a purchase. Promise.
On another note: Warhammer! I build scale models to keep my sanity, in addition to cycling.
Keep up the great work sir!
I really appreciate your blog writings. This description of your Mondays is very interesting, and personal. When we consumers are able to sense that we are buying from a human, our transactions become an actual relationship.
We all have Mondays also, and mine is sometimes the worst day of the week, and sometimes the best. I admire your ability to maintain a schedule and to operate such a great business.
Keep at it!
Thanks for giving us virtual insights into RedWhite’s Monday. Really interesting workday and good time management!
Also liked your idea of a minimalistic workplace & business( Just visited REDWHITE 2020 HQ virtually), alongside spending time for toy building and tech stuff!
Well, I am a person of odd numbers, not just on clocks!