Being an enduring brand has been part of Komodo’s DNA since its founding in 1988. The fashion brand is committed to building a better tomorrow with today’s decisions – which is why the lion’s share of their collections is made from premium organic products, natural and recycled fibers and innovative materials that present an alternative to less eco-friendly ones. offering an earthy yet vibrant color palette and classic, relaxed shapes that stand the test of In this interview, US sales agent Eric Padan provides insight into the development of brands and how his field of work supports the retail expansion of Komodo in the United States.
Komodo works with over 35 physical outlets in the United States. What do you look for in a retailer and what are the decisive criteria for a partnership?
My agency’s goal is to help mainstream sustainable fashion in North America, and so I’m not exclusively looking for stores that specialize in sustainable clothing (although it’s always nice to find some). Instead, I look for stores that appreciate Komodo’s offering for all its strengths: Style, quality, natural fibers, etc. More often than not, sustainable and ethical factors are a plus, but hopefully these retailers will eventually turn around and ask their other brands “if Komodo can provide this type of product, while reducing their impact, why can’t you ?”
What does Komodo offer its business partners and how does the brand stand out from its competitors?
The durability factor is the most obvious answer, but there is also a very clear quality story to tell. For the fall 2023 season, I had a very easy time selling our fine merino and organic cotton sweaters, because no one else was offering this kind of premium product, certainly not at our price point. The fact that it was made in Nepal further sets us apart and intrigues our customers. I love when I can put a product in the hands of my customers, and they immediately fall in love. I’ve seen similar reactions to some of the more “exotic” fabrics in the Spring 2023 collection, like cupro, linen, and our beautiful tencel blends. Also: banana viscose! It’s always fun to sell products that have a story behind them.
Despite living in the age of e-commerce, Komodo only works with three online retailers. What is the strategy behind this and is there a prospect of change?
I make my living selling to small and medium retailers, so of course I’m biased. I believe local retail still has value as a place in communities where people meet and interact. Also, while there is money to be made in e-commerce and every brand needs an online presence, the little brick and mortar can be a much stronger foundation on which to build a brand. . I have deamazonized my life in virtually every aspect, and I invite everyone to do the same. These giant corporations have a lot of money to spend, but in the end they are making us all poorer.
As a commercial agent, you have unfiltered insight into the industry. What kinds of obstacles and opportunities do you currently see in the fashion and retail industry?
Things are a little different everywhere. Some of my retailers are doing well, and some are struggling. I think the post-covid hump has ended a little faster than some retailers hoped, but those with strong fundamentals will continue to do well.
Given your journey with Komodo: what is the key to a successful business?
Although our world and our industry are changing, I think there are fundamental principles that will always remain: Offer your retailers something new, but familiar enough that they have confidence that they can sell it. Set the right price, ship it on time, and make sure the product is right. When things go wrong, because things will always go wrong, take ownership of the problem immediately and impress your client with the way you handle it. There’s a lot more you can do to be successful, but I think if you can do those things then you’ll have a very strong business. So far, I’d say Komodo does all of those things, so I’m very excited about the future of our business together.
Looking ahead: How do you see Komodo in a few years from a local and international perspective?
In North America, we haven’t even scratched the surface yet. Over the next few seasons, I plan to hire a few more sub-agents to help cover the whole of the United States and expand the business into Canada as well. As long as Komodo can continue to bring us both the novelty and consistency we need, we will continue to grow this business. The United States is a huge market, and although Canada is much smaller, it is a territory where stores are very loyal and buy deep. There are a ton of opportunities here.