When former investment banker Veeral Rathod co-founded J. Hilburn, in 2007, his goal was to offer custom menswear at affordable prices. Today, the $18 million company sells custom shirts and suits, plus cashmere sweaters and accessories, to some 45,000 customers online and through a nationwide direct sales force of 1,500. Rathod travels about twice a month from company headquarters in Dallas to meet with sales reps in the U.S. and once a quarter to visit manufacturers abroad. Here are three things he brings along.
LARK Silent Alarm Clock, Sleep Sensor, and Personal Sleep Coach
I usually get up at 5 a.m. and work out before getting to the office at 8:15. I use the Lark iPhone app to set my wake-up time, and the wristband wakes me up with gentle vibrations in the morning, without bothering my wife. The rate of vibration keeps changing, so your body never gets used to it. There's an audible backup alarm that goes off on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch if you don't wake up in 10 minutes or if the wristband falls off. The app also tracks how many hours I've slept, and you can buy a feature that measures sleep quality.
Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation
After a day of checking e-mail and making calls on my iPhone, my battery would be dead by 6 or 7 o'clock. My wife gave me this lightweight external battery for Christmas, and it's been a lifesaver, especially on the road. It can recharge my iPhone up to two times or my iPad once. I can also use it to juice up my Verizon MiFi Mobile Hotspot, Jawbone ERA headset, or any device with a USB connection. I usually carry it in my work bag in a pouch with a few adapters.
New Balance MR10
When I'm traveling for business, I try to de-stress by working out in the hotel gym, instead of drinking or overeating. These superlightweight athletic shoes pack easily into my carry-on bag. I roll up my gym clothes and stuff a T-shirt in one shoe and shorts in the other. If I don't feel like wearing my dress shoes on the plane, I can pair these sneakers with jeans and not look totally ridiculous. I got them about a year ago and bought a second pair to keep at home.
Tip: Skip the Line
After getting stuck in immigration and nearly missing flights multiple times, I applied for the Transportation Safety Administration's Global Entry membership, which costs $100. I had to be interviewed, undergo a background check, and get fingerprinted. It took about two months. Now, when I swipe my boarding pass, I go to a special security line where I put my stuff through the X-ray and walk through without removing my shoes or unpacking my belongings.