Hello and welcome to Year 2021.
We're not out of the woods yet. The pandemic is still in full swing, but there is hope now that a vaccine is available and is being distributed. Humanity has faced many challenges along our way to a better life. We often take 1 step back and then march 2 full steps forward. This is how we have progressed as a species.
I believe the future is bright as long as we can survive the short term setbacks.
2020 was all about Luck & Survival
Covid-19 took me by surprise. But RedWhite Apparel survived thanks to a mix of luck and financial prudence. I was lucky when I made the (long overdue) decision to close the RedWhite office and moved HQ to my home. Doing so shaved rental cost from this company's monthly burn.
Inventory is now stored and shipped from a Fulfilment Center. This was done in January 2020 after I took delivery of a large production order.
This was sheer, dumb luck.
COVID-19 started rampaging in February and lockdowns in Singapore and Italy came soon. Because I had taken delivery of fresh inventory and was operating out of a fulfilment center, I could still ship bibshorts to customers.
My luck did run out in May / June when inventory ran out, but because fixed costs were low with zero debt, the company remained financially healthy during the lean period. I was also helped along by my decision in 2020 to focus on bibshorts and jettison every other product I used to make.
RedWhite Apparel survived 2020 and emerged a stronger company. Revenue grew 4% while marketing and fixed costs declined 10%. The additional profit generated was reinvested primarily in Free Worldwide Express Shipping.
What's Coming in 2021
I've been busy laying groundwork to improve your experience purchasing from RedWhite Apparel in 2021. Shipping is now fast and customers in some countries can even purchase subsidised return labels on this website.
UK VAT Compliance
My immediate focus for 2021 is improving my service for customers in the United Kingdom. This is critical in the face of Brexit. Currently, UK customers who purchase from RedWhite Apparel have to pay VAT and a GBP 12 VAT collection fee to FedEx during delivery. This is not an ideal experience.
To solve this, RedWhite Apparel is now VAT registered with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC). This will allow me to charge VAT at checkout for all U.K. customers and pay that collected tax to HMRC from Singapore.
Your package will be delivered without the hassle of paying VAT to FedEx and the GBP 12 VAT collection fee. I am working with my couriers to apply this company's VAT registration number on all shipping labels and you can expect this feature soon.
In the meantime, do take note of VAT and the GBP 12 fee here (UK Customers only).
New Cycling Bib Shorts
I have been busy developing multiple new bibshorts in 2020. These new products are currently being manufactured and will be ready for purchase in Week 4 of January 2021. More information here.
While waiting for these to drop, I highly recommend picking up a pair of new bibshorts here.
Projects I'll be actively working on in 2021
I will be actively working on a new ultra-distance chamois in 2021. The current chamois in my long-distance bibshorts is excellent. Designing a better chamois is very difficult. I have been working on this project for well over a year and believe I am finally close to a final design.
This is very much a slow, long-term project and you can only expect to see a finished product in 2022 or later.
Recycled Material Bibshort
It is currently impossible to go completely carbon neutral. However, I believe RedWhite Apparel can do more to reduce waste. One solution is to produce a bibshort that is made of a lycra that uses recycled plastic bottles.
I am currently testing a prototype of this bibshort for 6 months now. It is holding up really well and performs like regular "non-recycled" lycra. Once I finish a full year of use, I will likely produce this in a small batch.
If that small batch does well, I might replace the lycra on all my bibshorts with this new fabric. I see no reason not to if it performs as well as my current bibshorts' lycra.
If time and capital allows it, I will be working on some stretch projects as well. These don't have a clear product development plan yet. These are :
- Pee-break friendly women's bibshorts
- Padded cycling underwear (for commuting / casual riding)
- Armoured MTB Bibshorts (with tough fabric & hip guard)
- Women's Entry Bibshort
I hope you found this article informative. I wish you a very Happy New Year!
Your year sounded exciting and demanding! Yet worth it. I’m eager to follow along with your near and future projects.
You’re a very smart business man! The cycling community is very lucky to have you/RW !
HERE’S TO MILES AND SMILES 2021 ALWAYS
I have no suggestions for new products Yuva. The Men’s Stealth Bib is by far the best thing in my bile clothes drawer. I happily wore it for every ride in my 2020 pandemic Super Rando series. It shows no sign of wear but I will be buying another this year. Thanks for keeping up the good work!
@GREGG SAUNDERS : Thank you for the very kind words Gregg. Happy retirement and I hope it is filled with many miles of riding.
Your communication throughout the year was amazing and this was a really well done wrap up. I am retiring this year with plan of many bike miles and will be purchasing bib shorts to enhance my riding enjoyment. Keep up the great work keeping the company financially stable yet R/D efforts continues. Well done.
@JESS, @JOHN WILLIAMSON : Pee-break friendly bibs are still some ways off. My immediate focus is getting more women riding RedWhites first to generate the revenue required to invest in these new products.
@DEVERY ANDREWS : Thanks!
@JAKE PRESTON : I can’t avoid the tax unfortunately. Most countries are still stuck in a world that doesn’t exist anymore. E-commerce has been growing fast and tax policies haven’t covered that yet. It makes little sense to tax cross border commerce because many people are trading across borders now. The idea of “protecting a small local business” is outdated since RedWhite is a small local business that operates on a global scale. It is possible in 2020. What the UK is doing (and Singapore as well) is smart. Rather than tax heavily, these countries extend their local consumption taxes (GST for SG and VAT for the UK) to imports. It’s simple, effective and fair.
@WESLEY KING : Very few people who buy a RedWhite regret doing so ;). I’d recommend dipping your toe in with The Entry Bibshort.
@ALVIN P. JACKSON : Crisis has a way of making survivors stronger. I wish the pandemic didn’t happen, but I believe humanity will move forward. A pandemic has a way of exposing weaknesses in current health systems which is always a good thing.
@JOEL FALTER : My customers are the only stakeholders in this business (apart from my suppliers and myself). These blog posts are a way to connect with you in a more meaningful way.
Looking forward to Pee-break friendly women’s bib shorts!
RW bibs are my go to bibs. Keep up the great work!
Stoked you and RW survived 2020. Thanks for all the efforts you’ve made to help out customers and refocus as ever more environmentally friendly. That’s extremely admirable. Looking forward to the new bibs, just need to find a way to get them into Korea with being hit by massive tax. Happy New Year, stay healthy and happy mate!
Haven’t purchased product yet, but have enjoyed reading your blogs and seeing how you are doing. Perhaps I’ll give them a try this year. Best wishes for 2021!
I am so happy that you survived all the negativity of 2020, we in America definitely have made a change politically and my state of Georgia is in a critical Senate race that will significantly impact our state. Ok, enough of that. I just love all things red/white when I ride.
Yuva, Thank you for sharing with us the health of RedWhite Apparel. It is nice to get these updates from you and insight regarding products coming in the near future. Reads like a mini board meeting. Happy New Year to you and cyclists everywhere. Stay safe and ride often.
Love the story! Looking forward to the tights and the women’s “pee break” shorts! Best to you in 2021!