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  • Renée C. Byer /

    Ada Komorniczak juggles her 2-month year old, Kaia Amelie Deferrari, while choosing leather to go with her ADA Collection line of jewelry, belts, and headbands in her design studio in Folsom on Monday September 16, 2013 in Folsom, Calif.

  • Renée C. Byer /

    Alexia belts are one of many items showcased in the ADA Collection line of jewelry, belts, and headbands in Ada Komorniczak and Gaston Deferrari's design studio in Folsom on Monday September 16, 2013 in Folsom, Calif.

  • Renée C. Byer /

    Ada Komorniczak wears some of her ADA signature collection of jewelry in her design studio in Folsom on Monday September 16, 2013, in Folsom, Calif.

  • Cathie Anderson

Cathie Anderson: Folsom’s ADA Collection accessorizes its way onto Inc. list of fast-growing small companies

Published: Tuesday, Sep. 17, 2013 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Thursday, Sep. 19, 2013 - 11:27 pm

After withering criticism from a Nordstrom buyer, Ada Komorniczak and Gastón Deferrari could have given up trying to get their belts, headbands and jewelry into the upscale fashion retailer’s stores.

Their designs, after all, were selling in hundreds of small boutiques around the world. Rather than surrender, the husband-and-wife team returned to the drawing boards at their Folsom design studio and tried again. Three years later, Nordstrom is one of many major accounts for ADA Collection.

“We sell to 2,000 retail stores in the U.S. but also to majors such as Bloomingdale’s; Nordstrom; Garnet Hill, which is a catalog company; South Moon Under; Henri Bendel; … Amazon,” Komorniczak said. “We also do private label for Guess and other major companies. For Guess, it goes under their brand. But we do co-branding where like it’s ADA For Calypso St. Barth.”

Komorniczak and Deferrari recently learned that ADA Collection landed at No.588 on Inc.’s list of the nation’s 5,000 fastest-growing companies. Their company’s revenue was $2million last year, up almost nine times from where it stood in 2009 before they swallowed that tough Nordstrom critique. They employ about 20 people in Folsom; Portland, Ore.; and Buenos Aires.

Their website proudly displays fashion spreads from Glamour, Redbook, O the Oprah Magazine and Marie Claire that feature their jewelry. Besides Nordstrom, their products can be found in Sacramento at The Pink House, 1462 33rd St., and Krazy Mary’s Boutique, 3230 Folsom Blvd.

Komorniczak met Deferrari, an Argentine native, when she went to Buenos Aires to learn the leather trade. She earned degrees in Spanish and law and society from UC Santa Barbara in 2004, and two years later, she completed a master’s in business administration at Sacramento State while gaining real-life experience in Argentina.

Deferrari sold his interest in about 20 Kinko’s-type stores, married Komorniczak and dove right in with her on a business that captured his passion. He recalled how the economic crisis dealt them a big reality check. Their handbags, priced at $400 or $500, weren’t selling.

“The fashion editors started pushing, ‘Don’t change your wardrobe this season. Just accessorize it,’” he said. “We decided to adjust to the environment of the times. We really focused on the belts and then immediately after that, the jewelry.”

They continued to emphasize soft Argentine leather in their design. They focused on fashion belts and accessories that could be styled in numerous ways. They acquired them in diverse colors and finishes.

“People loved that,” Komorniczak said. “They would walk into our booth and see color everywhere, and it was such a refreshing change because they would see mostly black, tan, cognac and maybe one pop color from other companies.”

Where’s the Pomodoro?

Granite Bay resident John Dineen ate at Roseville’s Pasta Pomodoro restaurant a couple times a week, and he was surprised to find that it had abruptly closed in late August.

“They had been there for 10 years, and they have 19 stores in the Bay Area,” said Dineen, who retired as a police chief in the Bay Area. “I got to know the Roseville manager quite well, and he was saying that of all the stores, the one in Roseville was making the most money for them.”

David Wallace, president of Pasta Pomodoro, said the restaurant’s lease was up at the shopping center at the corner of Sierra College and Douglas boulevards, and the location would no longer have been profitable at the new rates.

Dineen said he doesn’t understand how that could be possible since the restaurant was always busy when he was there.

Wallace said the San Bruno-based chain has no plans to return to the capital region, and it does not plan to close any other locations. He would not say how many employees lost their jobs, but he said they were given two weeks’ notice of the closing.

In a holding pattern

Josh Nelson said the Selland family isn’t planning on opening one of its gourmet cafés at the former site of Crepe Escape on Freeport Boulevard, despite the rumors that are floating around the Curtis Park and Land Park neighborhoods.

Jeffrey Tu, the owner of the property, told me he hasn’t been able to show the property to prospective tenants yet because the insurance companies are still investigating a fire that damaged it.

“Our insurance is investigating it now, and we cannot rent it out right away,” Tu said. “There’s a lot of damage. … All the seating and the walls and the floors are all damaged.”

The electrical and water systems also will require repairs, Tu said. He noted that reimbursement is complicated by the fact that he and his tenant had separate insurers, and the insurers are discussing which company should pay each expense.

Call The Bee’s Cathie Anderson, (916)321-1193. Follow her on Twitter @CathieA_SacBee.

Read more articles by Cathie Anderson

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