- Andy Dunn is the cofounder and former CEO of the Bonobos brand.
- In her new memoir “Burn Rate,” she details a paradoxical challenge she faced while leading the fashion company: She’s not fashionable.
- Dunn says his co-founder, Brian Spaly, bought him clothes, writing, “We need a fashion-startup front man, not a neon orange liability.”
How do you run a fashion company if you don’t fashion yourself?
Andy Dunn recalls finding himself in this predicament as cofounder and former CEO of menswear brand Bonobos in his new memoir “Burn Rate: Launching a Startup and Losing My Mind,” which hit fans shelves on Tuesday.
In the book, Dunn remembers meeting his Bonobos cofounder Brian Spaly while the two were students at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.
“We quickly became friends and decided to share a room at Schwab, the dorm where most of the first-year business school students lived,” Dunn wrote. “I admire Spaly. He’s better at sports. He’s funnier. He has more money. He’s self-motivated, disciplined, and frugal. I don’t have those things.”
Concerning the most important difference between them, Dunn writes, “What defines our future, though, is this difference: she’s fashionable and I’m not.”
The two went on to launch Bonobos online in 2007, initially only selling pants before offering other clothing. Spaly was skeptical about Dunn being the company’s CEO because of his approach to dress, according to the book.
“Spaly and I ran,” Dunn recalls. “He made a comment that would have served as a bit of a warning. ‘My only problem with you running this company is that you’re not very trendy.’ It’s cutting edge and real. ”
“But Spaly is right: for a guy who runs a fashion company, fashion is not my strong suit,” Dunn wrote. “I wore weird combinations. We had thicker orange corduroy pants, with fatter wales, called F. Scotts. I paired those with a tight T-shirt I bought. on eBay, a replica Walter Payton Chicago Bears jersey, matching the orange pop of the Bears stripes to the pants. As Spaly said: ‘Oh boy.’ “
At the start of the two building Bonobos, Spaly was involved in giving a hand in Dunn’s sartorial style, the book says.
“Spaly started buying me clothes,” Dunn wrote. “We needed a fashion-startup front man, not a neon orange liability. He went to a Ralph Lauren sample sale and came back with a light purple cashmere sweater, a half-zip cotton pullover, and a prep school black-and-red. embroidered jacket. He will suggest what pants I should wear with each item and advise me on appropriate shoe purchases. “
Outside of the book, Dunn previously talks about not being more stylish. In fact, Bonobos was built in part for men who found themselves in the same boat, he said.
“I’m kind of the youngest person you can think of to be a CEO of a fashion company, and even at the same time I think it’s almost perfect, because Bonobos are really built to make it easier for men. to get beautiful clothes., “he told the Associated Press in 2017.” We built the brand not just for men with a good sense of fashion, but for men who need a little help. “
In “Burn Rate,” Dunn also recounts his experience running a business as a person with bipolar disorder and shares his advice for other business leaders who also have mental illness.