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Small business inspiration from Singapore start-ups that became global successes

Singapore is a hotbed of entrepreneurial talent, with many homegrown small businesses becoming global success stories. 

RedWhite Apparel and Zelos Watches are two such stories of entrepreneurs with the tireless commitment to turn their passion into business success. Delving into their journeys can give other budding entrepreneurs the inspiration and insights they need to enable their own success journeys.

RedWhite Apparel: Revolutionising cycling comfort

Yuva Viswanathan founded RedWhite Apparel with a simple yet powerful idea – to make high-performance cycling bib shorts for everyone. His own passion for long-distance cycling helped him identify a gap in the market – the need for cyclists to ride comfortably in high-performance shorts that are also affordable. 

His newly founded business then got a boost when he won the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest. Since then RedWhite Apparel has seen consistent growth year on year. 

He initially adopted a conservative approach to business growth – focusing on economies of scale and prudent pricing strategies to avoid unnecessary debt. This allowed the business to be resilient even in a niche market. He outsourced many of his business operations from warehousing to order fulfilment. This helped him manage his inventory and control his cash flow. It has also helped him build strong relationships with his suppliers and partners.

His entrepreneurial gene has always kept him looking for the next new business opportunity.  During the pandemic, he identified an untapped market – many prospective customers who had newly taken up long-distance cycling.  These beginners needed the ‘entry bib short’ made specifically to meet their requirements and at a lower price than other products. This new product helped the business register a steady growth in sales and acquire a whole new set of customers.

And by constantly listening to customer feedback, RedWhite Apparel has continuously ideated and refined its product offerings. This has helped it win and retain the loyalty of its customers. 

One other factor has contributed to its customer success – working with a reliable logistics partner. RedWhite Apparel’s relationship with FedEx has given it the ability to connect and reach its customers wherever they are, quickly and promptly. This has made the business more efficient and set it up for future success.

Zelos Watches: Crafting timeless elegance

Elshan Tang has been driven by his love for analogue timepieces since his high school days. It is this drive that saw him launch Zelos Watches and run a Kickstarter campaign to fund his business growth. 

This helped him reach out to a global target audience and since then, the brand has climbed to the top of many international watch enthusiasts’ lists. 

Elshan’s mission is to make great timepiece designs accessible to a wider audience beyond the confines of luxury brands. The idea is to use only the best quality components and unique materials, so customers can compare across brands – the bigger ones and Zelos – to decide for themselves which is a better investment.

This uncompromising approach has made Zelos a sought-after brand among watch enthusiasts looking to get acquainted with regional microbrands.

Like any other start-up, Zelos has had to navigate through highs and lows. Elshan has had to deal with a host of operational hurdles in his business plans – from suppliers and customer service to marketing and customer satisfaction.

What has helped him navigate many challenges in expanding his business globally is having the right logistics partner. With FedEx’s reliable and fast worldwide shipping, Zelos has been able to deliver its watches to customers quickly and cost-effectively. What’s more, the business gets access to digital tools like the Shopify Ship, Rate and Track app for generating FedEx labels – this has cut down processing time by 25%.

Building a business is hard work. By working with a reliable logistics partner like FedEx, you too can streamline and simplify your e-commerce so you can focus more on business growth. For more resources and guidance to empower your business, visit the FedEx Small Business Center today.

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