WWD | LISA LOCKWOOD
Farm Rio, the popular Brazilian-based vertical retailer, launched a U.S. web site on Tuesday. The site, farmrio.com, will sell the company’s colorful collection that captures the vibrant spirit of Rio de Janeiro.
In addition, Farm Rio will open its first U.S. store in SoHo on April 25. The store, at 113 Prince Street, will have 2,264 square feet of selling space. The company expects to open stores in Miami and Los Angeles later this year.
Farm Rio began in 1997 at a marketplace in Rio de Janeiro, founded by Katia Barros and Marcello Bastos. Today, Farm Rio has 70 locations in Brazil and is known for its feminine prints, colorful designs and bold silhouettes. It already has a web site for the Brazilian market.
The company, which sells such U.S. retailers as Shopbop and Anthropologie, has had numerous collaborations in the U.S. with companies such as Adidas, Havaianas, JanSport and Lee Jeans.
Barros, cofounder and creative director of Farm Rio, told WWD that after having success in the U.S. market through partnerships with brands such as Adidas, “we knew there was demand for a permanent U.S. presence.
“We see the U.S. as the ideal first step toward global expansion,” she said.
Since Farm Rio launched the brand in 1997, it has always told a unique story, she said. “Our brand is inspired by the infinite colors of nature, the beauty of the female spirit and the energy of Rio. We take great care in the development of our unique prints in order to convey this feeling and pair them with silhouettes that are easy to wear, style and feel special in. I think this fresh perspective is something that will resonate with U.S. customers,” said Barros.
The U.S. social media plan is to engage with the consumer on Instagram, as well as maintain a robust online presence and offer digital video campaigns, she said.
Barros said they chose SoHo because it’s a popular shopping destination and it felt like a natural first location for the brand. The store will be brought to life with sanded areas and a flower shop to capture the spirit of Brazil. The company also plans to offer complimentary WiFi, charging stations and a seamless check-out process.
Asked how she describes her target customer, Barros said, “We don’t typically define our customers by demographic, but by their lifestyle. Our customer is young at heart and has a playful spirit,” she said.
The collection that’s offered on the U.S. web site will differ from the one in Brazil, given the differences in climate and opposite seasons. However, Barros said, it draws from the best of Farm Rio’s archival prints.
“With over 90 unique prints a season, the brand has a rich archive to choose from. The U.S. collection features the prints that are most evocative of the Brazilian and Carioca lifestyles, including a playful mix of bananas, toucans, cashews and other elements found in nature,” she said.
Robert Burke, chairman and chief executive officer of Robert Burke Associates, who has been working with Farm Rio, said, “Farm Rio has been loved in Brazil for many years because of their vibrant and unique prints and how they encapsulate the Rio lifestyle. Fashion consumers today are looking for something unique, special and emotional. Farm Rio achieves that in the way it embodies everything Brazil represents.”