Monday, April 7, 2008

Kindred Spirits in Bonobos

Tonight I listened to a small talk given by a fellow CEO and founder of a new consumer business, Andy Dunn, of Bonobos Pants.

I have been following Bonobos since they were founded as we share a mutual friend who is an investor in the business.

Andy, gracefully, tackled a room full of entrepreneurs in-waiting (and in-wishing) imparting his heartfelt lessons-learned and vignettes from the cutting room floor.

-don't go into the apparel business with just a better product, you better have a better business model
-don't go into the apparel business at all
-don't "get an MBA" if there is a choice to "make something and sell it", you'll be a better entrepreneur for doing the later
-2 MBAs is 1 too many in a start-up
-You can't do it without having at least a little money - you must eat and you must pay rent (oh! and you must pay loans)
-the expected value of a private equity job with solid cash flow, cannot compare to experience and thrill of doing something about which you are passionate

I, admittedly, do not know much about the apparel business (though I have put shamdaisies on my birthday wishlist), but I do recognize a kindred spirit when I meet one.

Bonobos Pants is a Non-Conformist play in a market where customers (young male adults) are dying for great fashion that is moderately priced...I get it. Local Motors is a Non-Conformist play in a market where customers (car crazy adults) are dying for great auto fashion that is moderately priced...he got it. We are both in the Right Place.

See this complex scientific chart to help explain our positioning:

(courtesy of one of the founders of Benchmark Capital)

Bravo to Bonobos for all of your hard work. You are an inspiration, and I expect to see Bonobos-wearing, young, consumers sporting their new Local Motors car in about 2 years.

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