Cariuma

Brazilian sneaker brand Cariuma has no plans to tiptoe into the market with a launch that includes an online store, experiential pop-ups and an ad campaign featuring Luka Sabbat as it engages in talks with potential wholesale partners.

The unisex brand is launching with one style in three fabrications: canvas, suede and leather, with starting prices for each at $79, $98 and $139, respectively.

It also bows with an ad campaign that includes Sabbat, model and star of “Grown-ish,” and model Pietro Baltazar, in addition to its first pop-up at The Grove shopping center in Los Angeles, bringing a Brazilian rainforest setting into its store, complete with real plants and the sounds of birds and frogs in the background.

“Everyone is talking a lot about experience,” chief creative officer and cofounder Fernando Porto said. “It’s the age of experience, but I think it’s also the age of the brand. We are a direct-to-consumer company and brand and really focus on the e-commerce. What we think when we activate locally and physically is, what can we offer that the customers cannot get online? If it’s about the whole brand experience, you have to make sure that you create an environment that people are not going to forget.”

It’s also about going to market with full momentum. The company intends to follow up The Grove pop-up in mid-June with another temporary store on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice. In mid-August, a pop-up is planned for Soho. The company’s dedicated pop-up team focused on the physical retail has also identified London, Paris and Hong Kong for stores. Porto said specific dates have not been set for those locations. Each experience will also differ from the next.

“We really think that, at this point, this [pop-ups] is the best way to go,” he said. “I’m not saying we’re never going to have a [permanent] physical store, but we really believe that we can deliver something special and set ourselves apart doing these projects instead of doing the regular brick-and-mortar store.”

Porto also confirmed that, while the company is launching as a direct-to-consumer brand, it is also in talks with prospective wholesale partners. However, he tempered any wholesale plans by saying distribution would be limited in the first year with retail partners carefully selected based on exclusivity and how they work with brands. Porto said the company is open to specialty and major retailers so long as they help cultivate the brand.

“We have a whole lifestyle that’s a little bit different that comes from our culture and we really believe that our culture has a lot to offer in terms of lifestyle,” Porto said. “If you think about the product, we’re truly positioned between fashion and streetwear.”

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