Silvia Tcherassi’s family business will add more to the Colombian brand’s ‘family’ by expanding its retail reach and recently developed wholesale business. Naturally, the loyal fan base of the effortlessly elegant ready-to-wear lifestyle brand that draws heavily on classic South American designs—think bold prints and colors, puff sleeves, accented waistlines, and full skirts—is sure to expand. Helping lead the company for the next 30 years is the next Tcherassi generation, Sofia as Director of RTW and Mauricio as Director of Innovation. Leading off the 2022 expansion plans is a retail store number in the Dominican Republic.
The brand will celebrate the official store opening this week at the uber-chic Puntacana Resort, which was made famous by its association with the late fashion designer Oscar de la Renta. In fact, the only boutique on the grounds thus far has been an Oscar de la Renta shop. Tcherassi’s son Mauricio worked with Grupo Puntacana, led by the Rainieri family who owns the resort and helped develop the area and cites the airport as the reason the location made sense. “The Punta Cana airport is the busiest in the Caribbean, bringing in over 14M travelers with direct flights from major international cities Paris, Belgium, Mexico City, and more,” noted the elder child of Tcherassi.
Bal Harbor on Miami Beach is another tropical hotspot that has proved to be a boon to business. “We opened a pop-up there in 2020 for three months, but then because of the pandemic, we ended up having it for a year,” explained Sofia. “We closed for two months, but when we opened again, Miami was booming during the pandemic because everyone escaped there.”
This prompted the brand to commit to opening a second store in the region. They opened a Coral Gables store in 2014 and will open Bal Harbour with a permanent location currently in-contract in 2023.
Including the Dominican Republic, the family-owned business counts 11 boutiques, and each location tracks where the customers go. “We have a huge business in Latin America, so Miami was the perfect space to see our clients because they come here,” she continued noting it was similar to why they opened in Madrid in 2014.
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For the first twenty-five years, the business-focused solely vertical retail stores with a loyal clientele that dictated collections to suit their needs more than following a traditional seasonal delivery schedule. When Tcherassi’s children joined the business about five years ago, the first step towards expansion was a wholesale model, e-commerce launches, and plans for more locations.
“We opened wholesale with the Resort 2017 collection, which was exclusive to Net-a-Porter for a year,” she noted, adding, “Producing four collections a year to meet retail deliveries is challenging. Everyone wants an exclusive. But it’s exciting to see the client expand.” She called out a charity event with Tootsies in Dallas that especially aligned with the brand and customer. The younger sibling joined the company following studies as the wholesale business began to take shape.
She and her brother were in New York while their mother was in Miami working on a special project to debut the Fall 2022 collection, which emphasized fluidity, organic shapes, and Mid-Century Modern and retro Seventies-inspired custom prints. For the first time, the brand offered a complete line of knitwear in keeping with the current retail trend made from 100 percent cotton.
Tcherassi’s son Mauricio helped launch the e-commerce business in the past five years. The US growth has grown steady; YOY percentage for 2019 was 24 percent, 2020 was 97 percent, and 2021 was 43 percent. But the elder child claimed, “It’s up every year but not a huge part of the business.”
“We are firmly rooted in brick and mortar; it’s 60 percent of the business. When I joined, we launched the wholesale, which accounts for 30 percent, e-comm slash special events such as trunk shows, and private sales account for ten percent,” he explained. Wholesale YOY growth has charted at +122 percent in 2019, -37 percent in 2020 due to the pandemic, +30 percent in 2021, with projections for 2022 at +137 percent. The brand which is a household name in Colombia is paced to do the same here.