The butterfly effect is the idea that small things can have accidental impacts on a complex system. The concept suggests that something as simple as a butterfly flapping its wings could ultimately cause a typhoon. According to AKU's director and founder Ruz "Man, 2020 was meant to be our year. After the Thai League deal, I was speaking to an international team about their kits for the Olympics". Then, of course, everything got cancelled. "You kind of wake up one day and people are dying and suddenly i've been in lockdown for 6 months.", with Ruz's hometown Melbourne experiencing some of the toughest restrictions in the world.
Like a butterly flapping its wings, the lockdown has allowed the AKU Australia team to focusing their energies on refining key parts of their business and products, as well as focus on fast tracking their expansion into the lucrative Asian market. Ruz documents part of an AKU work day in September for AKUONLINE.
8.00AM Forgot to turn my weekday alarm off and can't go back to bed. First things first and check the endless AKU related notifications across Gmail, Messenger, Whatsapp, LINE & SLACK platforms from different countries. We have so many projects across different locations happening and it's daunting but i'm pretty excited with what's going on and the progress.
10.00AM I've started every single morning morning with a HIIT workout from YouTube in lockdown and usually rotate between the Bodycoach, Jordan Yeoh and Bullyjuice who have good 30 minute interval workouts to start the day. I never eat breakfast, less so for health reasons, and more because I have a sensitive Asian stomach and feel bloated if I eat anything before midday. (It's science). Ironically, we're collabing with a few small businesses by creating one off merchandise with some of my favourite places to eat starting with Westall Charcoal Chicken so I check in with our operations team to make sure the first batch of tees were printed and delivered ok. Check them out HERE.
11.00AM Digitally inspect some samples from our factory for a new collection of T-Shirts we're releasing only in Thailand. We've made a big name for ourselves being a part of the 2020 Futsal Thai League as well as signing a bunch of elite athletes who have been dominating in the league. The local kit market is so saturated with cheap brands so we're releasing a bunch of AKU tees to experiment with ways to monetise our presence there. I give design adjustments to one of the tees but the other 3 look good and clear them to be mass produced and shipped.
1.00PM There's a large established football academy in Sydney who want to get on a call and I have a good productive chat with the owner. AKU usually have customer service reps but I work through the big clubs and sponsorship conversations. I learn more about the academies vision post COVID and they agree that a uniform refresh is a good idea for their rebrand. Ask him to email me all the requirments and the details and will get back to him with a price that works for both of us.
2.00PM Get on a video call with Minh, our manufacturing manager in Da Nang, Vietnam. We've worked on a massive collab with the Da Nang Basketball Centre and sponsored one of the outdoor courts there so I get to see a glimpse of the artwork and AKU logos on the court itself. It looks sick and we're really excited to start our presence in the Vietnamese market, as well as, of course, giving the locals a place to play some ball. Check out the VIDEO.
3.00PM I have sashimi for lunch and spend it eating in front of my laptop, this time reviewing our social media calendar and our upcoming content plan. We're on the verge of releasing our first Australian 2020 streetwear collection and have no way to get content. With our entire team in Melboure in lockdown and unable to shoot for the past 6 months, we're desperately running out of ideas so our photographer Lawrence has to be a little creative and play around with some flatlays for some kits we're really excited to share. Lawrence live's 5KM's from me (Melbournians are only allowed to venture 5KM's from home) but I tell him that I haven't had a haircut and don't want any photos of me without a fade. We decide to put the streetwear collection on hold till lockdown is over.
5.00PM The AKU ALL group chat is on fire as the entire team settle in to watch our Thai Futsal League Club PBRU play their game. It's still surreal seeing our kits on National Thai TV, sometimes with over 250,000 viewers. PBRU lose in a close one and we're all a little disappointed but agree the kits look sexy as. I stay logged in and watch the remaining games where the AKU athletes are involved.
8.00PM The AKU Thailand Rep Hassan calls me for an hour. He's just been made the youngest head coach of a Thai League team and gets 3 points in his first game. We're both excited and are less like colleagues than we are just really good friends and end up talking about futsal, life in Thailand, who he wants to sign for the season and only spend 2 minutes on what we actually wanted to talk about, which is the upcoming Thailand T-Shirt Launch, a pop up store and organising a mid season thank you dinner for all our AKU athletes.
9.30PM We have our weekly scheduled video call with our new business partners in Japan about the AKU JP launch. Japan is the holy grail of teamwear and we're due to launch to the market in 2021. It's a super exciting meeting as they confirm the signing of a Nagoya Oceans and Japanese International star as the AKU JP ambassador. There's alot of paperwork, finance and legal work that's discussed and my eyes and ears begin to gloss over this influx of information. Needless to say, things are going well and language barriers aside, we're well on track for our proposed launch date.
11.00PM United is on tonight so I finish my daily 1.5 hour weights and HIIT work out a little later than usual. I've managed with only a set of dumbells and youtube workouts over the past 6 months and I'm tracking at 10.7% body fat. I make sure to message everyone that i'm at 10.7% and the worlds greatest.
2.30AM Watch Manchester United and spend the next 90 minutes cursing and wondering why I support this piece of shit team as we lose to Crystal Palace and make my way to bed trying to decide if I should support Spurs because of Son-Hueng Min...