São Paulo – Brazilian brand Shorts Co., which specializes in men’s shorts, is opening a store in Saudi Arabia. It has partnered up with a Saudi distributor, which will be responsible for opening the franchise outlet. It’ll also sell the items to multi-brand stores in Arab countries across the Middle East. Shorts Co. CEO Michel Lassner (pictured above, on the left), expects the unit to open in the second half of this year. He points out, however, that certificates and registers are pending issuance before an actual date is set.
This Saudi distributor has already ordered 3,500 items, which should kickstart the brand in the Arab market. Lassner believes in his brand’s potential in Saudi Arabia, since the summer’s hot and men wear short shorts. Women will put on beachwear in closed-off places, or underneath their Islamic attire. According to him, the pricing will be competitive.
Shorts Co. features a comprehensive, sophisticated beachwear line, with items for men, women and kids. The catalog includes bikinis, speedos, one-piece swimsuits and shorts; beach wraps, T-shirts, shirts, polo shirts, jackets, blouses and shoes. The brand’s idea is that besides being worn to the beach or swimming pool, men’s shorts can be an addition to post-beach outfits with linen or polo shirts, for instance.
The Shorts Co. rep in Germany was the one who first got in touch with the Saudi distributor. Lassner relates that talks evolved until trust had been secured. That was when he introduced Shorts Co. to this Saudi player, who distributes international brands in the Middle East. The Brazilian company invited him to Brazil, to see the operations up close, and then the agreement was reached.
Shorts Co. items will get shipped to Saudi Arabia as-is, with no adaptations, but short shorts containing prints of drinks or bodies will be left out. The advertising campaign itself will be adapted.
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The company went international four years ago. It began exporting through contacts made at trade shows in other countries, which Shorts Co. began to go to with backing from the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil) and the Brazilian Designers Association (Abest). The company has shipped product to 20-plus countries. The biggest markets are United States, the Caribbean and Europe. Shorts Co. regularly joins four international shows, in the USA, France and Germany.
Ever since the brand’s inception in 2013, its founders knew the product would have international appeal. Shorts Co. shorts’ designs are international-standard, and the brand’s name was created with foreign sales in mind, according to its CEO.
It was during an international trip, by the way, that the executive got the idea for the brand. He was looking at the shorts available in France and realized that although Brazil is a tropical country, there were no brand specializing in the product. A production engineer by trade, Lassner called up a colleague, Alexandre Reitzfeld (pictured, on the right), to start the business together.
Shorts Co. currently has eight stores – five in São Paulo, one in Rio de Janeiro, one in Recife and one franchise outlet in Salvador. The unit on Oscar Freire Street – a major high-end shopping street in São Paulo – is the brand’s flagship outlet. Manufacturing is outsourced, and all items are designed by an in-house team, including the prints. Apart from proprietary stores, the brand is carried by over 100 multi-brand shops throughout Brazil.
Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum