Kathmandu Man


The hunt is over!

Those who know me will be stunned to hear I spent more than $500 on clothing last month.

That’s about as much as I’ve spent in the last five years.

I’m a style disaster.

I hate clothes and shops (and they hate me right back).

So how did one retailer win my dubious custom in the worst conditions for a generation?

This tale has tips for both sides of the till.

Spinning a yarn

It was cold, wet and windy as I cycled some rented movies back.

Opposite the video store, Kathmandu was holding a 20%-off sale.

My $10 Adidas liquidation-stock jacket wasn’t cutting it any more. (In fact, it never had.)

Dripping and shivering, I just had to see how the Kathmandu side lived.

It was busy.

Infants hurled themselves from change-room chairs while a melee of punters circled the store.

There was only one salesperson free, but she saw me milling and swiftly divined my needs.

She led me to the jacket I should have bought long ago: light, soft, warm, waterproof, elegantly designed and very well made.

And, thanks to a special deal, within my grasp.

If I joined Kathmandu’s Summit Club for $10, I’d get double the discount – i.e. 40%.

Also, for every $500 I spent in the coming year I’d get a $25 gift voucher.

My last barrier to entry fell away.

Fully mental jacket

It was the most comfortable garment I’d ever worn.

The next day, I returned for the matching pants.

Two days later, I duplicated the ensemble.

Then I studied Kathmandu’s website to see what else they sold.

Then I bought hiking shoes and socks.

Each time I entered the store, the staff:

  • Greeted me within seconds.
  • Refrained from laughing at my appearance.
  • Answered all my dumb questions.
  • Weren’t snooty – even though the only hills I ever climbed lay between suburbs.
  • Were remarkably polite, friendly, helpful, credible and grateful for my business.

When Fonnie came home to see me fully kitted out, she couldn’t believe it.

Her many efforts to dress me had long been thwarted.

Yet here I was: a grown man – buying his own (stylish, matching) clothes!

Vox pop

I quizzed a few Kathmandu staff for this blog post and learnt that:

  • They only run the Summit Club deal twice a year, so as not to devalue it.
  • It’s very popular – especially in New Zealand (the firm’s country of origin).
  • Though Aussies are less brand loyal and more price driven, the company is navigating the retail doldrums better than many.

I find this a good-news story on many levels.

I’ll definitely go back again.

So what say you

to  Kathmandu?

Paul Hassing | Founder & Senior Writer – The Feisty Empire