Leadership, Longevity, and Continuously Pivoting in Retail | Interview with Danny Kole

Aug 2, 2023



In this episode, Stephanie talks to Danny Kole, Co-President, Kole Imports & Closeouts.

  • 1:47: The Story – How Two Brothers started a business at swap meets using wait lines to source merchandise before the meets started.
  • 3:35: The Pivot – from swap meets to selling promotional, new merchandise.
  • 4:36: Sourcing – Diving to LA and using sourcing wholesale merchandise from import businesses in downtown Los Angeles.
  • 7:55: Trade Shows – If you build it, they will come. How trade shows laid the foundation for Kole Imports & Exports.
  • 8:30: Re-packaging existing products to develop items that could retail for .99 stores.
  • 11:00: You need to find and sell merchandise that customers recognize in order for it to sell well.
  • 13:55: Lessons from family, be impeccable to your word.  Show up and be authentic to your customers.
  • 15:00: Longevity and retention is important. Having your employees stay with you is critical to your success.
  • 17:15:  Creating a team with an entrepreneur mindset.  People don’t work for us, they work with us.
  • 20:38: Defining leadership and adapting with shifting environments.
  • 23:00: Focus your energy on what you can influence. Find the positive in all situations and focus your attention on progress.
  • 24:30: Learning to pivot with the industry and being a considerate leader.
  • 27:00: Building grit and learning to problem solve for personal success.
  • 31:00: The importance of generational family-owned business and how family members play key roles in the future of the company.
  • 34:22: Learning from mistakes and moving forward.
  • 36:12: Make your booth a party, don’t be afraid to stand out! In 36 years, we’ve learned that makes all the difference. We started with ONE booth, and now we have 38.
  • 38:00: Balance your booth merchandise, Kole Imports carries 50% closeouts and 50% imports.
  • 37:00: Closeouts allow retailers to create excitement in their stores with consumers! Trending now – closeout buys are at an all time high.
  • 38:00: ASD Market Week is an order writing, high volume, show.
Macala Rose

Macala Rose

Macala Rose is a writer and researcher who specializes in health, wellness, and consumer behavior. Her expertise has been published in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, and many more publications. When she’s not writing about consumer behavior or food, she can be found scouring for deals in antique shops or on the back of her horse. You can with her on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/macala or via https://www.maca.la.