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Ipanema, sandals
Courtesy of Ipanema

After a three-year hiatus, Ipanema sandals has returned to the U.S. market with a new wholesale and retail strategy.

According to Kate Minner, chief marketing officer of Ipanema’s parent company Grendene Global Brands, the relaunch in the U.S. started in-stores last month with the spring/summer 2023 collection of sandals, slides and flip flops, followed by the debut of a new e-commerce website, shopipanema.com.

As for its physical presence in the States, Minner told FN in an interview that the brand is “testing the retail waters” by opening four new Ipanema kiosks in Florida. As of now, Ipanema has kiosks at Dadeland Mall, Town Center at Boca Raton, Orlando International Premium Outlets and Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets.

Minner noted that the kiosks are between 8’ x 8’ and 10’ x 10’ and can feature around 200 pairs of flip-flops. For now, the kiosks are focused on highlighting the brand’s women’s and kids’ collections with colorful, brand-right marketing and branding covering the fixture.

Ipanema, sandals

“So far these kiosks have been doing really well,” Minner said. “They’re located in areas with really high foot traffic, which is giving us great insight into the market and how we can best drive that relationship forward with our consumers.”

Minner hinted at more expansion in warmer weather climates. “We are considering opening kiosks in Glendale, Calif. and Houston, Texas in the near future,” the executive said.

Turning to wholesale, Minner said the brand is making an “aggressive” investment in the division in order to establish distribution with the “right” partnerships. “This first season, we’re in a limited amount of doors with Macy’s, Nordstrom, Shoe Carnival, Famous Footwear, and others,” Minner said. “We’re with some really strong retailers, and we’re doing a lot of door testing.”

Ipanema, sandals, dadeland mall, kiosk, florida
An Ipanema Sandals kiosk at Dadeland Mall in Kendall, Fla.Courtesy of Ipanema

She added that now is about “building equity” with its retail partners in order to drive sell-through and to find the right assortment for their consumers. “Our longer-term plan is to start to penetrate more in-store and have a more solid business across retail, e-commerce and our in-store business,” Minner noted.

Ipanema’s re-entry into the U.S. was made possible by the new joint venture the flip-flop company’s parent brand embarked on at the end of 2021.

At the time of the deal, Brazilian sandal giant Grendene formed a joint venture with independent investment company 3G Radar to accelerate growth for its portfolio of footwear brands.

Ipanema, sandals

The new entity, called Grendene Global Brands, draws on 3G Radar’s business management expertise and Grendene’s manufacturing capabilities to handle the production and operations of eight brands: Melissa and Mini Melissa, Ipanema, Rider, Cartago, Zaxy, Grendha and Pega Forte.

In February, Grendene Global Brands CEO Gustavo Assumpcao told FN that there was a “big expectation” when the venture was formed.

“The idea was that we could be able to accelerate the growth rates for these brands in both the United States and China,” Assumpcao said at the time. “We believe that our products and our brands have a point of differentiation that hasn’t been communicated with intensity to the consumers, so their growth expectations are very high. Last year, our e-comm business grew around 300 percent versus the previous year for Melissa. That’s the kind of growth that we would like to see. We need to deliver.”

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Ipanema Sandals Relaunches in US With New Wholesale & Retail Strategy
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