Jimmy Poh, co-founder of Kydra.

Lab Series has rebranded itself for a new generation of confident, ambitious modern men who constantly seek to do better and go further. Just like these three high-powered leaders who are not only taking care of their businesses and their families, the modern man understands that success also means taking care of themselves. These are their stories of what drives them and how they continue to strive to be on top.

Jimmy Poh got into tennis by accident. The co-founder of burgeoning athleisure wear brand Kydra wanted to play football, but St Andrew’s Secondary School didn’t offer the sport. So, he picked up the tennis racket instead. He’s been hooked ever since. “My most memorable competition was when my tertiary institution, Temasek Polytechnic, finally won a medal after a three-year losing streak,” says the 30-year-old.

Although his championship days are behind him now, Poh still enjoys the sport. When he isn’t growing his company or returning a yellow optic ball across the net, he coaches others to do the same. “Even on holidays, we founders are always on duty. But we make sure that we have time to breathe and be active,” says Poh. “Tennis gives me that outlet. I usually coach or play early in the morning or late at night. It helps to put my mind at ease.”

The court has taught him many lessons that he’s applied to entrepreneurship. Fundamentals are essential in both arenas, but Poh believes that “understanding that failure is feedback” is the most significant takeaway. He also understands that staying still is death, especially with the glut of athleisure brands flooding the market. “We are always sampling and researching the latest trends so that our apparel can perform better while maintaining the functions Kydra is famous for: second-skin comfort, urban functions such as zip pockets, and breathable, sweat-wicking properties.”

Kydra, which celebrated its 4th anniversary this year in July, hit record revenues, boosted by the pandemic, an emphasis on quality and a society that is embracing healthy living. The brand plans to expand regionally in the next few years.

It’s going to be a busy few years for Poh and his team, but he’s excited. He also understands that it’s important to keep in top condition despite the manic schedule, which is why he always makes time to work out and meditate. Because he spends so much time outdoors, Poh always uses sunblock before heading out. He also prefers gentle cleansing products to protect and keep his sensitive skin properly hydrated. At the end of a long day, Poh uses an oil cleanser to remove the sunblock. It’s a step most men neglect, but it epitomises his approach to business and tennis. To stay ahead of the curve, it’s all about the small details.

Prioritising helps Alex Chua, CEO of Goldbell Financial Services, stay ahead

Between splitting his time between Brazilian jiu-jitsu and managing a company, carving out a few minutes in the day for basic skincare routine has become second nature.

Alex Chua, CEO of Goldbell Financial Services.

Alex Chua sized up the man standing in front of him on the mat. He looked like he hadn’t seen the sun in ages. Visions of heading to the 2018 World Master IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu Championship final crossed Chua’s mind as he bowed and bumped fists with his opponent. After a split second, the man had Chua in double underhooks and quickly brought him down.

“I was pissed at myself,” he recalls. “Based on his looks, I severely underestimated him. I didn’t know he was a collegiate wrestler.” Chua, who is usually the underdog, made a rare error. Still, he was proud. He won the bronze medal in his 82kg weight class, which had 72 competitors.

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Ruchdi Hajjar shares how he juggles life and multiple roles

Being the founder at SGMC Capital and The Ring Boxing Community are just two roles this disciplined multi-hyphenate plays.

Ruchdi Hajjar, partner at SGMC Capital and founder of The Ring Boxing Community.
Ruchdi Hajjar, partner at SGMC Capital and founder of The Ring Boxing Community.

Busy doesn’t even begin to describe Ruchdi Hajjar’s life. The man is a machine. Besides being a founder at SGMC Capital, a multi-family office, Hajjar also runs The Ring Boxing Community and invests in as well as monitors multiple businesses overseas. He is also raising three young children with his wife.

“I’m driven in everything I do,” the effervescent Hajjar replies when I ask him how he manages all his responsibilities. “I push myself a lot and pull my team along with me, although I admit that my vision is too crazy sometimes.”

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