When James Yurichuk was traded from the B.C. Lions to the Toronto Argonauts in 2013, the Canadian Football League linebacker knew it wouldn’t be easy convincing his Brazilian girlfriend to join him. He’d definitely need to buy her a stylish parka that could withstand the colder climes of eastern Canada.

But finding a warm coat made from animal-free materials proved impossible, so he decided to make it himself—and the Wuxly Movement was born. The sustainable outwear company is growing quickly and is currently shipping worldwide.

In these frigid temperatures, we caught up with Yurichuk to ask him to take us through a typical day in the life of an entrepreneur, father of two and exporter.

6:30 a.m. Wake up with the sunrise. My day starts when the sun comes up, getting my sons ready to take on the day. I have to make sure they’re fed, lunches are made and packed, and then they’re out the door for school.

8:30 a.m. Coffee time! I like to get into the office before 9 a.m., to set the precedent as a leader. It also gives me time to do my coffee ritual. I learned early on, I would need a lot of caffeine to get me through the day, so I invested right away in a high-end espresso machine for the office. It keeps the team humming all day.

9:30 a.m. Team meeting. Everyone gathers, so we can go over our priorities for the day, whether it’s looking at new patterns for our coats, checking out mock-ups from the marketing team for our new ad campaign, or catching up with the production department. There’s always something to chat about.

My tip for entrepreneurs:

It takes a team effort. As the CEO, I see myself as the coach of a team full of executors, in all different categories: product developers, marketing co-ordinators, graphic designers—all of these people are essential and key weapons for the team. So, as the coach I try to show them the vision and provide motivation, so we can cohesively move forward together. I believe the daily meeting is key for this.

11 a.m. Catch up on correspondence: I’ll take some time to catch up via email or by phone with our suppliers and manufacturers, to make sure everything is going well. It’s important for us to keep all of our production in Canada, so I like to keep close relationships with all of our manufacturers. 

A day in the life of an exporter: James Yurichuk, Wuxly Movement

My tip for entrepreneurs:

Build your own brand, and what’s unique and different about it, all the way through your supply chain. At Wuxly, the laces for our jackets are sourced from a fourth-generation company on Dufferin Street in Toronto, a company well-known for selling hockey laces. We also have a primary manufacturer in Winnipeg that works out of a 100-year-old factory, and the shells of our jackets are made in Montreal at a family-owned, sustainable plant. They reuse the heat from the dying process to power the plant.

Noon. Lunch. It’s time to run out of the office for a quick lunch. Luckily, right around the corner from our office is a tasty vegetarian restaurant called Fresh. I don’t have time to be as active as I once was in my football days, so I like to eat as healthily as possible.

1 p.m. Back to meetings. I like to stay in touch with what’s going on with all of our program projects, so I’ll catch up with my colleague, Sean Melo, who runs our Trade Up Program

My tip for entrepreneurs:

Pay it forward. As you build your business, try to find ways to give back to the community. Our Trade Up Program is something I’m very proud of. When someone comes into Wuxly with another Canadian brand parka that uses animal products, we offer them a credit towards one of our jackets and redistribute the donated jackets to six homeless shelters we’ve partnered with across the country. Sean does a great job making sure the jackets are sent out to the shelters, so we can get them to the right people who are cold on the streets.

2:30 p.m.  Call with eShipper. I take some time to catch up with eShipper, our distribution partner. They do a great job ensuring our jackets that are sold through our e-commerce platform are sent out in a timely manner, because that’s part of the customer experience. At Wuxly, we don’t like to have a “hi” and “bye” experience with our customers. We cultivate an ongoing relationship to provide them with the best experience, so they stay in our brand family.

My tip for entrepreneurs:

Choose the right shipping partner. Not only do we ship our products across Canada, but we get orders from the United States, Sweden, Germany, Norway and even a recent order from Japan.  Shipping is time-consuming and huge part of the customer experience, so knowing that everything is going well puts my mind at ease.

4 p.m. Put out any fires. As the workday comes to an end, I try to catch up on any emails I received while I was in meetings and deal with any issues that might have come up throughout the day.

5 p.m. Back to dad duty. It doesn’t always happen, but I try to leave the office on time, so my other job can start—being an Uber driver for my kids. Jokes aside, I try my best to be there to take my kids to their sports and activities. Whether it’s jiu-jitsu, hockey or soccer, I like to be there with them to show my support.

A day in the life of an exporter: James Yurichuk, Wuxly Movement

8:30 p.m. Get the kids to bed and unwind. After getting the kids settled in, I like to spend time with my wife* and relax. You’ll probably find us watching Dragon’s Den or Shark Tank. I see some of the entrepreneurs on that show and I admire their efforts. 

My tip for entrepreneurs:

Keep the faith. Sometimes as an entrepreneur you feel alone in your struggles, but when you see the commitment of other entrepreneurs and the risks they take, it gives you comfort to realize you’re not alone. It’s inspiring—if I see an entrepreneur on Shark Tank doing something differently, I think, “Maybe I should pick up my game a little bit.”

*Yes, my Brazilian girlfriend must have liked her Wuxly parka, because not only did she come to Toronto with me, she also became my wife!

10:30 p.m. Time for bed. It’s time to rest for another day. The best part about being a small business owner who is exporting is that every day is different.


Photos by: George Pimentel