MEXICO CITY — Mexican designer brand Lorena Saravia hopes to double sales to eight million pesos, or $500,000 at current exchange, this year when it hopes to be carried in 15 doors, the chain’s lead investor Christian Papayanopulos told WWD.
He disclosed the target as Saravia opened her first corner shop in luxury department-store network El Palacio de Hierro here on Thursday.
“I’m very excited,” she said on the fringes of a launch event in El Palacio’s newly expanded Polanco flagship, where her corner stands next to top global luxury brands. “It’s a privilege to be selling right next to Alexander McQueen, but it’s going to be hard work to maintain the high standards and sales volumes needed for this store.”
Saravia, who received a $2 million capital injection from Papayanopulos’ Ventura Capital in 2014 (billed as the biggest for any Mexican designer), hopes to roll out five new boutique doors this year, mainly in Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla and Cancun, according to Papayanopulos.
The expansion will see it be carried in 15 doors, including stand-alone stores in Mexico City’s upmarket Polanco and trendy Roma quarters and corners in Saks Fifth Avenue Mexico, as well as in five boutiques in the Mexican capital.
Saravia recently hired consultancy Launch Collective to explore growth opportunities in the U.S. and enter boutiques in New York and Los Angeles. The brand also hopes to enter Saks Fifth Avenue and other department stores.
“We want to come into the U.S. strongly next year, probably in the fall with boutiques and with department stores in 2018,” Papayanopulos said. “We hope this will be our main growth driver.”
Papayanopulos hopes Saravia will eventually be carried in 30 to 50 doors in the U.S.
The expansion of the designer, one of Mexico’s most promising after winning Vogue’s Who’s On Next two years ago, has not happened as quickly as planned.
In 2014, shortly after Saravia secured the investment, she told WWD the chain could operate 200 doors by 2017. Papayanopulos said difficult negotiations to sell in Liverpool and El Palacio de Hierro, coupled with plans to cement the brand in Mexico, had delayed that target by 12 to 18 months.
“Lorena is still a very new brand for Mexican consumers,” Papayanopulos said. “We had complicated negotiations with Liverpool and El Palacio because they both wanted exclusivity.”
After an uneventful e-commerce trial at Liverpool, Saravia decided to expand with El Palacio, he said.
“We still want to invest in Lorena Saravia,” Papayanopulos said. “When we made the investment she had 700,000 pesos in sales. Last year she had four million.”