Brazilian brand Farm Rio, which has seen increased demand for its happy resort lifestyle clothing during the pandemic, is expanding its retail footprint in Southern California.
This week, the brand is opening two pop-up stores: one at The Grove shopping center and one on buzzy Abbot Kinney in the beach-y Venice neighborhood.
Brazilian architect Marcelo Rosenbaum transformed the spaces into tropical oases, inspired by flea market booths, a reference to the brand’s history. (Farm Rio was born in 1997 at indie fashion market Babilonia Feira Hype, and has grown to include 75 stores across Brazil and two in the U.S.)
The pop-ups are filled with artisanal furnishings and other accessories selected to create an immersive experience. Open July 11 to Aug. 8, the Grove location is a glass box in the center court, which has been decorated with jungle flowers and palms, and has a coconut cart serving drinks outside. The Venice location, open through November, features a sidewalk mural made for selfies, and is located next door to Adidas Originals, which has been a longtime Farm Rio collaborator.
“Our slogan is ‘dressing in happiness,’ and that mood is fitting with the moment.…We had a great first quarter and we’re getting ready for a great summer,” said Fabio Barreto, chief executive officer of Farm Rio Global, sharing that the brand’s sales grew 135 percent compared to the first quarter of 2020. “We’ve been having great momentum in the U.S. for a while,” he said, referencing the brand’s growing social media presence, new flagships in SoHo and Miami, and strengthening relationships with Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and other department stores.
“California has always been one of our biggest markets, and our plan was to expand there last year, but with COVID-19 we postponed,” he said. “These two pop-ups are a hint of the flagship we want to open next spring around Melrose Avenue.”
Barreto said his international strategy has been to grow awareness for Farm Rio through digital channels, then expand to physical experiences. “Farm has a very Instagrammable product,” he said, noting that through influencers, the company has been able to acquire customers, and enhance the brand experience. (In the U.S., sales are split 60/40 direct-to-consumer/wholesale.)
He wants to open two more flagships in the U.S. in 2022 (L.A. and Brooklyn), and two in Europe, starting with London and Paris.
It’s not the first time Farm Rio has come to L.A.; the brand had a pop-up in Century City for 45 days in 2019. “It exceeded our plan by double,” Barreto said of sales results. “It’s a great way to test markets; we did the Hamptons in 2019, and a pop-up at Le Bon Marche last year. We were invited to pop-up at a ski resort, too. And we had great success with our puffer jackets, so we’re contemplating. Anyplace that relates to our resort lifestyle, we will keep an eye out.”