Dress for the Job You Want With Musician Kevin Joseph
Behind every great man is a great … wardrobe. Yes, it’s true — at least when it comes to the handsomely clad, professionally accomplished chaps in our series, Dress for the Job You Want, which profiles more than a few good men who have proven that success is an equation of both substance and style.
They’ve cut their teeth in the fashion industry, climbed the corporate ladder, created their own companies, and conjured plenty of new ideas — and have looked damn good doing it. For these guys, dressing for the occasion is simply part of the gig.
But you don’t have to be a fully suited, buttoned-up show-off to stake your claim in the game, as suave subtlety often wins in the end. And, with our apologies to Mark Twain, it takes a lot more than just clothes to make the man. However, a good sartorial statement can go a long way when it comes to charting your career course.
You could call Kevin Joseph something of a modern-day Renaissance man. While he puts his advertising background to good use in the eCommerce department at PepsiCo, representing titan brands including Gatorade, Mountain Dew, and Doritos, he has more than a few “extracurriculars” on his resume including an impressive gig as a musician. Since he was 3, he has been playing the violin with various orchestras, ensembles, and bands. And, he’s also not bad with a tennis racket either. Since age 6, he’s been traveling the country to compete in tournaments. At Southern Methodist University, he played the fiddle in a country band and coached SMU tennis camp.
Clearly, Joseph isn’t one to sit still—and his daily style reflects that. A functional yet fashionable dress code is his way to make a statement no matter if he’s performing on stage or serving up strategy in the office. Here’s how he dresses for the job — make that jobs.
The Cheat Sheet: What is your background and what led you to your current profession?
Kevin Joseph: I basically grew up playing music and swinging a tennis racquet, and while I love my full-time job at Pepsico, it’s really several of my projects outside of work that are my passion. First of all, I sing and play mandolin in the Texas bluegrass band Spare The Horses, and I’m also the VP of Marketing for the local ergonomics startup, BackVert.
Music will always be my hobby, and after playing every genre I know of, bluegrass has really stolen my heart! Dallas, Texas has a music scene full of talented musicians and friendly people, and I’ve been fortunate to have met and played with a ton of them.
BackVert is what also really excites me right now. I joined BackVert after the founder and CEO, David Calvert, introduced me to his product. It wasn’t just what the product did that excited me, but why he was building it. BackVert’s mission is to bring active, fulfilling moments back into people’s lives. Millions of people suffer from back pain, and that pain has taken us away from the activities and moments we love. BackVert’s ergonomic back-support device makes those moments possible again.
CS: What do you love most about your job?
KJ: I love working on projects with a purpose (much like BackVert, and even our band!). When working at a startup, you deal with lots of road bumps, late nights, and sacrifices. If profit is your main concern, you’ll likely burn out or fail. If your values are driving you, and if there’s a genuine, underlying purpose behind your work, then you’ll find success in every corner. I study at a lot of transformative companies, and the ones who’ve truly impacted the world are the ones rooted in purpose.
A friend of mine at PepsiCo lost his ability to come home, pick up his 2-year old daughter and swing her around — all because of back pain. After using a BackVert, he now leaps through the door, scoops her up and twirls her around, giggling and smiling. Enabling moments like this are what I love most.
CS: Workday essentials?
KJ: I’m definitely conscious of my ergonomic set-up at work; I use an ergonomic mouse, an ergonomic footrest, and of course, a BackVert on my commute and on my desk chair. Other than that, I always have earphones and a good-looking pair of shoes.
CS: What’s your morning routine?
KJ: I wake up somewhere in the 6 o’clock hour, put a YETI mug under the Keurig machine, then stumble to the shower. Later, after getting dressed in my usual (a pair of Bonobos pants and a button-down), I drink a cup of coffee while writing my daily gratitudes and affirmations in The 5 Minute Journal. Next, I check email for 15-20 minutes to get my day set up.
Once that’s in check, I practice a 15-minute meditation through the Calm app. The first minute is usually just getting myself settled, and the next 12 to 14 minutes are in one of Calm’s meditation lessons. It may sound weird, but this app has made my focus 100% stronger and my worries infinitely smaller.
Then I eat a banana, take a shot of Round Rock local honey, and hit the road!
CS: How do you view the relationship between your clothes and your career?
KJ: I look at everything in terms of form and function. BackVert was designed to prevent back pain and provide comfort, while also looking strong, sleek, and low-maintenance — great form, great function.
The clothes I wear do the same thing –- provide comfort, versatility, and consistency. Bonobos are the only brand of pants I wear. Seriously. I love their fit, the quality is high, and their customer service is second to none.
I also look for comfortable, attractive button-downs that are low maintenance. Dallas-based Mizzen+Main are the best shirts I’ve found in terms of fit, quality, comfort, and maintenance. Their stuff is wrinkle-free, breathable, and comfortable — right up my alley.
CS: Where do you like to spend your off-duty hours?
KJ: On the tennis courts at Cole Park, or playing the guitar or mandolin at local jams. Whenever I’m playing our Spare The Horses shows, you can see me “off duty” too!