Activewear brand Track and Field might be virtually unknown in the United States, but with 120 stores in Brazil, it's like Lululemon or Adidas to fitness-loving Brazilians.
Now, the 26-year-old company is setting its sights on the US with two stores in New York City and Los Angeles, plans for 10 more across the country over the next 18 months, and an aggressive strategy of 30 to 40 new stores each year for two to five years after that. We're telling you this so you can make room in a dresser drawer now.
"There are a lot of similarities between Brazil and the United States in the way of life and how people are very keen to be active," co-founder Fred Wagner says. "There's also a very big adoption from the US of Brazilian products." Think waxes, blowouts, and hair products. So it was an obvious move to expand here, he says.
Track and Field's first NYC boutique opened on the Upper East Side in 2010 as an initial test lab for the US market, while the Los Angeles boutique opened in Brentwood in January. This summer, stores will open in the Southpark Mall in Charlotte, North Carolina, and at One World Trade Center in NYC, followed by "warmer markets like Florida and California" where they plan to develop locations "mostly in shopping malls."
As for the apparel, Track and Field's designs embody a young, vibrant, sexy aesthetic that says, I'm from Brazil. Pieces tend toward the bold with "wowie!" colors and prints (but could be toned down when mixed with basics). And they come in high-performance fabrics, like a special "Redtech" technology with "minerals woven in" that Wagner says reduces lactic acid. (We didn't run a lab test on his claim, just FYI.) He says those unique fabrics account for the price point, which he describes as 20 to 25 percent higher than mass brands like Nike.
Like a great workout, the brand also doesn't give you even a fleeting chance to get bored. While it has a permanent collection, Track and Field releases a new capsule collection every single week. "Our consumers in Brazil love the novelty of the special edition capsule collection," Wagner explains. "It works very well. It's a totally different model than other stores. We're interested to see how the US will respond."
They'll find out soon. In addition to the many stores, a new US e-commerce site is launching in late April. So if Track and Field doesn't show up in a mall near you, it'll definitely make it to your laptop. —Jamie McKillop
For more information, visit www.tfstore.com
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