Bombfell.com tells its customers “Upgrade your look – no shopping or fashion knowledge required”. This is a great thing to hear for men considering 90% of women think guys should dress better. Bombfell’s the subscription clothing service that’s like having a fashion-savvy girlfriend send you stylish clothes every month. With Bombfell you can find awesome things to wear without shopping and discover the best brands carried in menswear boutiques — all with Zappos-style free shipping and returns.
Bernie Yoo and Jason Kim, Co-Founders of Bombfell are proud to boast that they captured the #1 Google search result for “junderwear” – and yes this does mean jean underwear. While they don’t actually send junderwear to subscribers, writing tongue-in-cheek about clothing and style from the perspective of the “normal guy” has resulted in a flood of inbound traffic.
MO: Tell us about the need you saw for a company like Bombfell and the beginnings of making your idea a reality?
Bernie: We came up with the idea when we realized we were still wearing jeans that we’d bought 4 years ago despite the telltale signs of being old and worn-out: holes in the crotch and around the pockets, saggy “diaper butt” and an outdated wash. So we asked ourselves, why were we still wearing these when we knew they made us look bad?
Well, we found that for a lot of guys there’s two significant barriers to getting new clothes: 1) a lack of time to go shopping and 2) a lack of knowledge about what looks good on them.
With Bombfell, we’ve built a service that gets around those barriers by having someone knowledgeable about men’s style select clothes that will look great on you, and then delivering those clothes to your doorstep every month. We’ve always wanted to see something like Bombfell exist so we could use it ourselves, and we got tired of waiting for it – so we decided to go out and build it instead.
We went about starting the company very much on a shoestring budget. We laid out the vision for Bombfell on an online forum called Hacker News, and asked anyone interested in the concept to give us their email address. We had no website, no clothes, nothing. We wanted to see if anyone was interested in such a service before building anything, and luckily, it turned out a lot of guys were.
For the first month our stylist physically shopped for clothes from department stores and local boutiques. Everything was very manual and laborious.
Since then, we’ve established wholesale accounts with dozens of amazing clothing brands, including many you’d normally only find in menswear boutiques in New York and Los Angeles. So things are much more efficient and “built out” operationally on the back-end now.
MO: Your site makes the user experience seem fairly simple. Can you tell our readers what happens when they sign up for a subscription with Bombfell?
Bernie: When a user signs up, we ask him to tell us what brand & size clothes he’s wearing now, where he likes to shop, favorite colors and other preferences.
We also optionally ask for body measurements to ensure a better fit (we mail out a tape measure for free if a guy doesn’t have one), and users can also upload photos of themselves.
And that’s it! We’re able to piece all this information together to get a well-rounded picture of the person and what types of clothes will best suit and flatter their shape.
Once you’ve finished signing up, you’ll start getting one stylish clothing item in your size delivered every month to your doorstep.
MO: My hesitation would be that if I am getting clothes from a subscription service other guys I know will be getting delivered the same clothes and soon enough we will show up all matching! How do you customize the experience for each of your customers?
We’re extremely proactive about ensuring that there’s no “twinning” among friends. We have a referral system whereby users can refer their friends to Bombfell via a personal invite link, and both friends get $10 credit towards buying clothes if they sign up. Not only is it a great way to lower the price of your clothes, but it also enables us to track who knows whom.
Every item we send out is handpicked for that specific user by one of our stylists, and we take great pains to ensure that friends who know each other will never get sent the same item.
MO: Tell us about the “female approved” aspect of the site. Do you have women on staff that pick out the clothing, focus groups of women who approve the options?
Bernie: All the clothes we send are “female-selected” by female curators we have on staff. For the curators we look for women who aren’t necessarily professional stylists, but do possess a deep knowledge of or background in fashion. Our lead stylist Sarah, for example, worked as a designer for Jones New York, London Fog and Sean John; as a personal shopper at Saks; and as a costume designer for films.
At present, our service is geared to representing the “girl next door’s taste” – a put-together, clean look that anyone can appreciate – but we have plans to expand into different styles (eg, metro/urban, hipster, professional etc).
MO: It is awesome that you have such a great return policy. Tell our readers about the “zero-risk” aspect of Bombfell.
Bernie: We offer 100% free shipping, returns and exchanges. So if you don’t like what we’ve sent you, return it for free on us. If it doesn’t quite fit the way it should, we’ll ship out a better size and a return label to send the old item back, again all on us.
We view it as an important signal to our users. The whole business won’t work economically if we’re trying to peddle schlock that nobody wants, because we literally pay every time we get it wrong. The onus is on us to send clothes that you’ll love and will fit great, and our return policy stakes the survival of the business on our ability to do that.
MO: Last question, we have to know. Where did the name Bombfell come from??
Bernie: It’s short for “Bombfellow”. Goodlooking women are called “bombshells”, but there’s no corresponding term for guys – it’s a glaring gender imbalance. So Bombfell’s the male equivalent of a bombshell (your move, Title IX).
When we were brainstorming names, we threw Bombfell out as a joke at first, but the name grew on us and we decided to run with it. When a normal guy sees men’s fashion magazines and shopping sites that take on highly polished and sophisticated airs, it practically screams “GUYS WHO ARE NOT LIKE YOU.”
We’re trying to provide normal guys who aren’t obsessed with fashion an easy shortcut to looking put together. We don’t think you should take yourself too seriously if you’re looking to reach those type of guys.
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