Remember the freaky 80s and the baggy 90s?
In the late 2010s men are doing at least a little bit better at dressing themselves. In no small part that trend (no pun intended) is due to a crop of startups that tailor, style, and deliver whole wardrobes. One of that cohort, Bombfell, assigns a stylist so its clients can be busy “doing awesome guy stuff.”
Grit Daily caught up with cofounders Jason Kim and Sarah Lee to take a deeper look at how they compartmentalize both mens’ wardrobes and their personal and work lives.
You’ve had your own interesting backgrounds before Bombfell. Share those.
Jason Kim (purportedly doing “awesome guy stuff”):
I started working really early on with my real first job being a peer tutor when I was in sixth grade. My first job out of college was as an engineer for Microsoft. It was a great start to a career as an engineer and it helped me learn a lot about processes and how big companies work. All of my occupations have really shaped my career, as I’ve almost never known life where I wasn’t dedicated to a job and working hard. It’s almost ingrained into who I am.
Sarah Lee (helping men including Jason Kim style themselves a bit better so they can do more “awesome guy stuff”):
My first job was working for the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts because I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. Then I went through a series of seemingly unrelated career paths and met several incredible mentors along the way, many of whom I am still in touch with today. Because of my past experiences and support from mentors and family, I’m standing where I am today as a co-founder and COO of Bombfell.
How do your own clients differ by geography?
We serve men in all 50 states but our clients are typically between ages 25-44, college-educated and skew higher in annual household income since our average price point is $75 per item. Traditionally, across all states, our clients’ desires focus on elevated classics and polished looks for the office.
Anything particularly wild in your forecast for 2019?
Nothing in particular that we can publicly disclose. Just still committed to our mission to deliver the easiest way for men to get better clothes.
What have been your best marketing channels so far? How has that changed?
Like many direct-to-consumer brands that launched in the late 2000s and early 2010s, Bombfell was among the first movers in leveraging social media as the primary means of growing a business. While the big social media channels are still part of how we attract new customers, we have also diversified our marketing mix quite a bit.
What’s behind the name?
Bombfell is short for “bomb fellow,” think “bombshell” meets “fellow.”
Any tales of woe from a couple-founded startup?
Especially in small businesses and startups, the workload can be overwhelming. Through communication, we’ve developed a level of faith and trust that we’re looking out for the best, not just for each other, but for the company as well.
The biggest challenge we have faced in the process has been to not mix work and home life. Practice compartmentalizing by trying to make decisions together about work while at work and decisions about home while at home. We’ve gotten much better at handling these situations as they come. Overall though, we couldn’t imagine Bombfell running any other way, we loving working together.
Jordan French is the Executive Editor of Grit Daily. An award-winning journalist, he is on the editorial staff at TheStreet.com and a Fast 50 and Inc. 500-ranked entrepreneur.
He is the founder of Notability Partners and the co-founder of BNB Shield, Lisbon Hill Farms, Status Labs, BeeHex, BlockTelegraph, and Grit Daily. A biomedical engineer and intellectual-property attorney, French is the author of upcoming book, The Gritty Entrepreneur.