On a mission to make everything he wears: Q&A, Dan Stumpf, Global Compensation Consultant
If you ask anyone, one of the most fulfilling parts of working at Certinia is without a doubt the people. Our vibrant culture is built from a wide range of talent from all over the globe, each person brings a unique personality and background to the mix.
One of those people is Dan Stumpf, Global Compensation Consultant based in the San Francisco office. If you know Dan, you know he’s a great dresser, but until recently, what we didn’t know was that he actually designs and makes the majority of his own clothes! It’s a passion of Dan’s that’s been in the making for years and earlier this summer, he sat down with KQED to share more about what inspires his fashion design and how he got started.
I interviewed Dan recently to chat about his KQED profile and to learn a bit more. Check out the Q&A below:
Allie: First off, can you give us a brief overview of your background and role at Certinia?
Dan: I started in May 2016 as a Global Compensation Consultant on Certinia’s Employee Success team. I help research, analyze, plan and design all of our non-sales compensation plans. I really enjoy the challenge of taking large amounts of data and applying that to a practical solution.
Allie: For those who didn’t catch your KQED profile, how did you first get inspired to design and create clothes? What keeps you motivated now to continue to make your own outfits?
Dan: I’ve always been interested in standing out from the crowd and about 10 years ago I started taking fashion and style seriously as a way to do just that. I quickly saw that the things I liked (high quality fabrics, attention to detail and great fit) cost a lot more than I was used to spending. I have a bit of a maker gene so the thought that maybe I could make my own clothes became an exciting idea. I borrowed my mom’s old sewing machine and found that the detailed, precision work was right in my wheelhouse. At first it was all about how I could tackle this thing, achieve a certain mastery and make myself some great and wearable clothing. Over time I’ve started to look for ways my passion can grow beyond my own wardrobe and benefit other people. It’s something I’m just beginning to explore so stay tuned!
Allie: In your interview you noted you enjoy wearing your own pieces at work because it “makes me feel like I’m taking a piece of that creativity with me. I can stand out.” It’s so great to hear that you feel comfortable showcasing your clothing at Certinia. How important is having that type of inviting company culture to you?
Dan: I believe that diversity can benefit a company’s business and culture so working at a company that also values it is foundational for me. Expressing and celebrating different cultures, skills, points of views, and creativity is rewarding. I love seeing a variety of ages, races and countries represented in the office and I’m glad I can contribute something to that variety with the clothing I create.
Allie: You said that it will probably take you about 5 years to get to the point where you are wearing everything that you have made. How many clothing items have you made so far?
Dan: I’ve made it to the point where I can make shirts, pants, vests, coats and accessories like watchbands, bags and belts. The pattern-making class I attended taught me how to design something from the ground up so I can tackle almost anything I’d want. To get to this point, though, took many hundreds of items. My first goal was a tailored shirt and that alone took close to one hundred tries before I felt good about the result!
Allie: Wow! Talk about perseverance. What pieces are you most excited to tackle next?
Dan: I’m interested in adding functional touches to different tailored pieces. Integrating a tasteful cell phone pocket so you don’t have that bulk in places that are annoying but also have easy access. Pants that look dressy but can be easy to wear while riding a bike. Plus my wife really wants some things too.
Allie: I don’t blame her! You can add me to the list too. Last question, do you have any advice for someone who has an interest in learning how to design and sew? Where should they begin?
Dan: Projects like curtains, simple bags, and other non wearable pieces are not too hard to complete. You can even rent sewing machines so you don’t have to invest a lot until you know it’s going to stick. Plus the internet has lots of great tutorials and templates to get you going. Good luck and most importantly, have fun with it!
Read Dan’s full story on KQED here.