A Veterans Day Conversation with Bombfell’s Resident Veteran and Accounting Wizard
Not only is Ken Stumder Bombfell’s SVP of Finance, he’s also a proud veteran.
After joining the Marine Corps straight out of high school, he went on to college and a career in accounting. He’s worked everywhere from major accounting firms down to a plucky menswear startup called Bombfell. Heard of it?
This Veterans Day, we sat down with Ken to hear a little bit about his history with the military, his career, and his relationship with clothing. (Note: Ken is consistently one of the best-dressed guys in the office.)
1. On his background.
Ken: “So, basically, I joined the Marine Corps right after high school, and that was during Desert Storm. The funny thing about that was I went in gung-ho, ready to serve, go to Iraq. But the war was over in, literally, three months.
So, now looking back on it, maybe I was lucky… although I do think it is an honorable distinction to have gone overseas and served. I think that I am maybe more envious of those who have that distinction than I consider myself lucky I never saw combat and didn’t get seriously injured.
Bombfell: “And what was your path after leaving the military? How did you end up where you are today?”
K: “It’s all tied in, if you think about, one step before the other and that’s how your life decisions get made. So, when I got back from the military, I always knew I would go to college (that was never in doubt). The military was a great place to mature a little bit.
Anyway, the economy was a lot different back then, and I realized I needed a career that would provide a clear and stable path. I actually remember someone asking me what I was interested in, and I said, “Oh, I’m interested in business.” They said, “You should try accounting.”
B: “Seems like that worked out.”
2. On the origin of his love of clothes.
Bombfell: “I’ve heard it said that you are perhaps one of the most put together gentlemen in the office.”
Ken: “Hah! Well, it didn’t start that way.”
B:“I was curious, since the military isn’t exactly known for being fashion forward or anything–”
K: “Make no mistake though, the uniform is actually one of the biggest selling points that the Armed Forces has. Think about it, young guys in the best shape of their lives in that uniform, as a kid you think, “Wow that looks really cool.”
B: “Agreed. I’m interested then in where did you develop your personal sense of style and interest in civilian clothing? I’m assuming that was before you arrived at Bombfell, but you tell me.”
K: “Probably during the military because pretty much you wear the same thing to work everyday. The uniform. So, when you’re dressing in civilian clothing, when you’re out with your buddies or whatever, that’s your time to stand out. That’s how you distinguish yourself.
Especially in the military because you have people from everywhere. You have guys from the farthest corners of the US. You have guys in tight jeans, cowboy boots and big belt buckles, next to guys wearing hip hop gear, and guys from New York wearing leather jackets like they’re in the mafia–which is the joke they used to have on us. All of this all together, so you gotta look your best.”
3. On his sense of style.
Ken: “I think it’s always evolving. You know, Bombfell will send out style tips or guides to our customers and those can be really helpful. For instance, the “French tuck” email we sent out was a big deal for me. Everyday when I put on a shirt, I stand in front of the mirror, like I’m guessing a lot of guys do, and ask, “Does this look better in or out?” Some days you like it better one way or the other, and that French tuck advice was actually a compromise that solved that problem for me.
So, I’m still constantly learning about dressing–age appropriate–which for me, being older now, means trying to look about 10 years younger than I am. Also, though, I have kids and they also influence what I think looks good. So, the reality is you never stop learning.”
4. On Veterans Day.
Ken: “I hope everyone enjoys their Veterans Day. Do something special. Treat yourself to maybe a nice meal… and celebrate with loved ones. There are a lot of places out there showing appreciation for veterans, and I want everyone to know that we are thankful for their service.”
Bombfell: “And thank you for your service, Ken.”