Daniel Webster-Clark, BSBA’11 & MSF’11, is currently getting his MBA at Kellogg. He and three classmates got to talking about men’s fashion one night and the conversation turned to rompers for guys. Yes, ROMPERS.
Daniel and his friends (soon-to-be-co-founders) got serious and passionate about their romper idea. They saw a void in the fashion universe and believed it could be filled with a romper for men that would allow “guys to be more stylish and fun without also sacrificing comfort, fit, and versatility.” GQ, Vogue, and Buzzfeed have already hailed the RompHim as a welcome innovation. The Chicago Times calls RompHim the Kickstarter campaign that “broke the Internet.”
Daniel took time out of his busy schedule to tell us more about his journey from finance to fashion and the birth of the RompHim.
What did you do between Olin and going back to school for your MBA?
After spending the summer between junior and senior year interning with Bain & Co., I began working there full time in fall 2011. While at Bain, I continued my role as an enlisted member of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve. I also took six months away from Bain & Co. to work with the San Francisco 49ers in their Business Operations group as they prepared to open their new stadium.
From finance to fashion is quite a pivot. How did that happen?
My time at Bain & Co. has been instrumental in helping prepare me to tackle a wide range of problems; while I never worked in fashion specifically, I had experience in projects covering everything from supply chain to marketing. In addition, Kellogg’s general entrepreneurial support system encouraged me to explore passion projects. ACED Design and creating the Original RompHim™ began as one of those passion projects.
How long from idea to actual consumer product (RompHim™)?
We launched ACED Design in earnest right as 2017 kicked off, and our Kickstarter went live in mid-May. [Kickstarter campaign was completed in one week. Aced Design expects to start shipping RompHim in August.]
What is your role at RompHim™?
As a small team of 4 co-founders, our roles have evolved quite a bit and are always changing. I dipped my toes into everything from managing a design partner to building our business plan; more recently I’ve taken on the role of running our marketing efforts.
Is being an entrepreneur what you thought it would be?
In some ways yes, in some ways no – certainly a lot of sleepless nights since we kicked off in earnest and a lot of personal investment in how our brand and products are received.
Do you plan to continue with RompHim™ post-MBA?
Absolutely – we’re excited that we had so much initial interest, and believe we have a long way to go as we grow the business. Our first priority is ensuring our Kickstarter backers get a very high quality product in their hands as quickly as possible, followed by delivering on pre-orders we’re collecting through our website, www.romphim.com.
Predictions for next big fashion trend?
Beats me, but it’ll be fun to find out! We get excited about finding ways for people to help express themselves, so hopefully as more and more direct to consumer brands emerge and share their new fun ideas.
Any career advice for the Class of 2017?
Find something you enjoy doing that challenges you. Life’s too short to “put in time” somewhere while hoping things turn around and improve.