Farm Rio

OLÁ, LOS ANGELES: Brazil-based clothing label Farm Rio sees the U.S. as its ticket to overseas expansion, with the company unveiling its first West Coast store on the heels of a New York door opening this past spring and one planned for Miami in the fall.

The 900-square-foot pop-up store opening this week at Westfield Century City is part of a larger strategy to grow the business in the U.S. before a broader global expansion.

Farm Rio was launched in 1997 by Katia Barros and Marcello Bastos and gained ground among consumers for its bold colors and tropical prints across a line that now includes dresses, jumpsuits, skirts, pants and tops. The brand now counts more than 70 stores in Brazil.

This year the company began laying the groundwork for U.S. expansion, first with the launch of an online shop in March. The following month Farm Rio opened a New York store, which the company said beat projections by 50 percent in its first month in business. In May there was a Surf Lodge pop-up, with Los Angeles now set to see the brand.

Farm Rio

Farm Rio totaling 900 square feet at Westfield Century City.  Courtesy Photo

Barros cited the Los Angeles weather and its synergies to Brazil’s as the reason for bringing the brand to Westfield Century City and next Miami in the fall. There will be more stores, Barros confirmed.

“The other [future] locations we’re kind of studying,” she said. “Yes, we have lots of conversation [about it] and we talk about Texas, but we’re not sure. We also have the e-commerce and we can sell to everybody all over the country, so it goes step by step. [Test] the market to understand how [consumers] respond.”

Barros and company have big plans for the U.S., though.

“We’re so big here [in Brazil] and any business I believe that you have to keep growing,” she said. “It’s just like walking or riding a bicycle. We cannot stop, so we decided to go abroad.”

With Brazil now totaling 72 stores, Barros said the U.S., being larger than Brazil, could very well accommodate more stores over time. It’s a challenging market full of competition, though, she said, and the reason why, if the brand can succeed Stateside, it will be able to unlock other overseas markets, such as Europe and Asia.

“For sure we can have more [stores]. That’s what we believe,” Barros said. “We’re working on it. We’ve been around for 22 years, so it takes a while.”