“You won’t figure it out sitting around and thinking – just do.”
Jason Kim and Bernie Yoo have been friends for 12 years and have rounded up cattle in Wyoming and Montana, competed in scavenger hunts in New York and San Francisco and dug latrines in Australia.
Prior to Bombfell, Jason co-founded a YCombinator-backed eCommerce site, was a lead engineer at social game developer Lolapps and worked at Microsoft and Goldman Sachs. Prior to Bombfell, Bernie led business development for the Nickelodeon Games Group, worked at MTV Networks and, after losing a fiddling contest with the devil, worked in investment banking at Morgan Stanley.
They originally met as college roommates at Harvard, where they built their respective wardrobes on a shaky foundation of free t-shirts handed out by dot-com companies.
After graduating, they found they lacked the time and more importantly, the knowledge necessary to dress well, and would often ask girl friends to pick out clothes for them on the rare occasions when they were able to go shopping. They realized you could only ask someone to shop for you so many times, though, so instead they created Bombfell.
What are you working on right now?
We’re building a a subscription service for clothes called Bombfell that sends female-selected clothes to busy guys. Bombfell is like having a fashion-savvy friend pick out and send you clothes that fit and look great every month. Subscribers tell us their body measurements and our shoppers take care of the rest.
Our ambition is to enable guys to look put together without any effort or knowledge required, and you can discover cool new brands you’d normally only find at boutiques along the way.
What does your typical day look like?
Submitting orders with clothing brands, coding the site, refining our algorithm for fitting clothes to body types, testing the onboarding funnel, packing and shipping out boxes.
3 trends that excite you?
1) The merging of commerce and entertainment. Ecommerce is starting to move beyond a straightforward, “just send me what I order” utilitarian model towards a model that can also incorporate entertainment, excitement and an experience beyond simply delivering a good. I mean, Gilt is actually wooing writers away from the top fashion and cooking magazines – that’s pretty crazy to think about.
2) Increasing personalization of eCommerce. Amazon started it off, but there’s a lot of cool startups pushing beyond just personalized recommendations to provide a more personal shopping experience.
3) The internet enabling guys to keep horsing around well into adulthood. Previous generations didn’t have time left over to hang out with guy friends once you got a job, got married, had kids. With Reddit, memes and Youtube, we can still act like we’re 18 years old and laugh at immature jokes. And it’s increasingly socially acceptable for 30-40 year old guys to play videogames. Hooray for the Nintendo generation!
How do you bring ideas to life?
Gray hairs and increasingly out of shape bodies.
What inspires you?
Really positive feedback from users. Seeing entrepreneur friends persevere. The Haters Gonna Hate eagle.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
We tested out a “DailyCandy for dating” email newsletter last year, where we hypothesized that you could get around the user acquisition problem for dating sites by presenting prospective singles in a city as content that could be forwarded and shared – similar to how Thrillist and DailyCandy grew through users forwarding emails about cool new bars and restaurants.
We learned pretty quickly though that dating online is a very private activity that people are loathe to share, so we stopped the test after a month.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Male-selected clothes for women. Anyone?
What do you read every day, and why?
Reddit, for its ceaseless juvenile entertainment interspersed with actual interesting things to learn.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?
Hot Lights, Cold Steel by Michael Collins. It’s a fascinating autobiography of a surgeon’s 4 years of residency at the Mayo Clinic.
What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?
The Charcoal Companion Amazing Bug Zapper – it’s a bug zapper shaped like a tennis racket that you use to fry mosquitos and flies. It makes it shockingly fun to rid your apartment of flying insects.
Three people we should follow on Twitter, and why?
@Humblebrag: Retweets obnoxious humblebrags from Twitter. Like the live blogger of the Osama raid: “Fact: I don’t own a TV set and stopped watching TV many years ago. Sorry three-lettered-big-tv-news-channels for not replying to your emails”
@StephenAtHome: One of the most consistently funny twitter accounts, courtesy of the Colbert Report
@newsycombinator: Helps stay on top of Hacker News
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
Anson Tsai and Timothy Wong from Cardpool. Two crazy smart guys and a startup attacking a really big pain point.
When is the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it.
We saw that a Japanese company started manufacturing jean underwear (or “junderwear”) and promptly wrote a mocking blog post that became one of the most popular posts on our blog: http://www.bombfell.com/blog/post/junderwear-anyone.
Why would I use Bombfell?
If you’re a guy who:
a) Wants to dress well
b) Lacks the time to shop or get knowledgeable about clothes
c) Would enjoy discovering awesome new brands you wouldn’t have found otherwise
…then you’ll love Bombfell.
What’s the meaning of it all?
You won’t figure it out sitting around and thinking – just do.