Melissa Makes Expansion Moves

NEW YORK — Melissa is thinking big. The Brazilian brand is building its global retail presence, introducing new collaborations and bolstering its e-commerce.

After bowing the U.S. concept store Galleria Melissa in New York in February, the company now is targeting London. Melissa is slated to open a flagship in that city by the end of 2013, a move spurred by strong sales at its pop-up shop there during the 2012 Olympic Games.

“We had great success with the pop-up store and are currently looking at all areas of Europe,” said Paulo Pedó, international CEO of the label, who noted that the U.K is already the brand’s second-largest market. Asia also is being considered for a flagship store, he added.

At home, the label, which has 50 franchises throughout Brazil, inked a deal in July with master franchise firm Franqueadora Jelly Ltd. with the goal of opening 100 new Melissa stores by 2017.

On the product front, the brand is getting a boost from the current jelly shoe trend. “Jellies are [becoming] more and more aligned with fashion,” Pedó said.

Collaborations with such designers as Vivienne Westwood and Jason Wu have connected Melissa with high fashion. The label will continue its Westwood and Wu partnerships for spring ’13, while also teaming up with new designers including Pedro Lourenço, the Campana Brothers and Elisabeth de Senneville. Pedó added that Melissa handbags are also in the works for future seasons.

Company execs noted that partnerships are key to building a strong presence in the U.S. and overseas.

“In the Brazilian market, Melissa has a [strong] position,” Pedó said, “but in the international market, including the U.S., we are still working to build our brand image and get closer to our consumers.”

The company’s retail partners were upbeat about the prospects for the line. “Melissa clients are loyal,” said Ty McBride, brand director and creative director of Solestruck in Portland, Ore., which began carrying the label a year ago. “The jelly shoe always is [on-trend], but Melissa takes it to the next level. They incorporate great design with functionality and value.”

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