Maris Collective founder and chief executive officer LeeAnn Sauter is taking aim at Cabana Miami, the swimwear market, which on Friday begins a three-day run at the Miami Beach Convention Center as part of Miami Swim Week.
“These marketplaces are always held at convention centers,” Sauter said. “It’s not fun going from booth to booth.”
The sprawling Cabana Show, which features hundreds of brands, touts its “exceptionally refined brand mix” displayed in a setting designed to invoke “the most inspirational jet-set destinations around the globe…with the warm tones of a Bali sunset.”
Sauter’s experience with tropical rays comes from Maris Collective’s network of resort boutiques at properties such as the Fairmont Kea Lani; Four Seasons, Anguilla; and Esperanza, Cabo San Lucas.
Sauter said she’s applying Maris Collective’s service ethos of “overexceeding clients’ expectations” to disrupt Miami Swim Week with pop-up shops that allow buyers — and the public — to peruse products in a resort-like environment. Faena Bazaar will activate spaces at Faena Hotel Miami Beach, such as Pao’s ocean view terrace, and the Library Lounge for designer pop-up shops for Rosa Cha, Miguelina, Zimmermann, The Lady and The Sailor, Adriana Iglesias, and immersive experiences for Miami Swim Week participants.
Across the street from the Faena Hotel, Coterie and UBM will intersect with Faena Bazaar for the second year, this time as Destination Miami. The concept challenges the traditional trade show format with 50 brands, including Carolina K, Caroline Constas, Anemone, Lelloue, McQ Alexander McQueen, Mes Demoiselles Paris, Rebecca de Ravenel and Punta Mar.
Maris Collective two years ago got its feet wet when it built a beach club “at the convention center in partnership with UBM [Fashion, a producer of trade shows such as Magic, Coterie, Project and Platform],” Sauter said. “We had a rosé [wine] bar, pergola and handout area. The merchandise in that space looked gorgeous. That was the first step.
“The Cabana show during Miami Swim Week was the only one buyers liked to go to, because it was near the beach,” Sauter said. “When it moved to the convention center this year, buyers were left with having to attend another convention center event in Florida — in the middle of summer. I knew this was coming and knew UBM wanted to launch a specialty market that was super-curated, where the buyers could buy products as if they were shoppers.”
Sauter first partnered with Faena Hotel Miami Beach in 2016 to launch the four-level Faena Bazaar in a building designed by Rem Koolhaas’ OMA and Shohei Shigematsu, partner and director of the New York office.
“There are more than 500 brands at the Miami Beach Convention Center,” Sauter said. “We’re hovering at around 100, so we’re doing this as a small stepping stone. Next year, we’ll have a whole tent experience as an extension, but it won’t feel like you’re going through rack after rack after rack. There will be food and music, and it will be like a party atmosphere.”
With the project expected to outgrow the 20,000 square feet of space at Faena Bazaar next year, the tent-like structure in the parking lot will provide an additional 20,000 square feet, Sauter said.
“Because retail is such a hard climate, the attendance at markets is getting to be less and less,” Sauter said. “Designers aren’t showing at these shows because they’re not getting the results they’re looking for. You can’t just have racks of clothes. It’s always been a dream of mine to treat buyers like consumers.”