Computer geeks are not known to be best dressers. Just look at the pictures of Apple’s Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak from their Homebrew Computer club days, or the famous hoodies of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. But now, San Francisco-based startup Bombfell wants to change the disheveled, underdressed image of nerds by offering them branded clothing solutions and curated styling.
At first, I thought their name ‘Bombfell’ actually meant ‘a bomb fell’ somewhere, but turns out the name stands for Bomb fellow, meant as a counter to ‘bombshell’, the word used to refer to gorgeous women.
By now, you have figured that this is a quirky startup from a bunch of quirky entrepreneurs. That’s true. Look at the description of founders Jason Kim and Bernie Yoo on the Bombfell site.
“Jason constructs the tech underlying Bombfell out of metal and brawn, with a brain a third the size of us. He subsists on a strict diet of sriracha and Skittles.”
“Bernie imbues Bombfell with its je ne sais quoi, but isn't quite sure what that means. He chews on business and operations and spits out rainbows and spreadsheets.”
Way back in 2007, these two best friends and roomies from Harvard University asked friends in trendy New York to improve their outdated wardrobes. In 2011, they found themselves wearing the same cloths in Frisco, and wanted to change that. They figured, and rightly so, that there must be scores of others who wear their cloths into extinction rather than going with the trend, mostly because they just don’t seem to have the time, and sometimes because they just don’t care or don’t have a clue about styling.
Enter Sarah Lee, who had been into fashion and styling, and a curated monthly subscription platform for men’s clothes is born.
This is as good as it gets for fashion-challenged geeks who mostly seem to enjoy hanging out in khaki shorts and T-shirts. Here is a service that does not require you to know much about style or fashion and will still help you dress up impeccably. And for as little as $69. The Bombfell ideal customer is described as afﬂuent, educated men in the 25-40 age groups with a good sense of humor, who are also power users of social media.
So where does technology fit in in the fitting room? The site uses a combination of human and computer intelligence to pick the right cloths. The stylists work with algorithms that bring out the best matches based on fit and style. The stylists have the final word in making a selection, taking into account special requests and other factors like skin tone. Just like a boutique, Bombfell sources cloths from different brands and makes money through online retail, with a little helping from technology.
Jason Kim has worked as a developer at Lolapps, Microsoft and Goldman Sachs. He is also the co-founder of Foodoro, a food startup backed by Y-Combinator.
Bernie Yoo was formerly the Head of Business Development at MTVN Games and brings in experiences at MTV Networks. The Economics graduate from Harvard had worked in the past as Investment Banking Analyst at Morgan Stanley.
Sarah Lee, who oversees the buying and styling for the site, has worked as a fashion designer at Jones New York, London Fog and Sean John and was Personal shopper at Saks. She handled merchandising at Theory and sourcing at Bare Escentual.
Bombfell is backed by 500 Startups, funded by Silicon Valley angels and is an alumni of Dogpatch Labs.
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