POKO PANO

In 1987, Paola Robba was a trainee of a great multinational company in Brazil; she had an envied and coveted position for almost her whole university studies. However, it didn't represent a thing for her. Her dreams and desires were beyond her functions. At that time, Paola had a friend who owned a fashion beachwear store and it was necessary in the business to have good suppliers. So, everything started! All of a sudden, Paola thought: "If I've always been able to make bikinis and maillots for my dolls, why not try to do something new in my life?" Thirteen years of her life have already passed by as a businesswoman and as a fashion designer of one of the most known and promising grifes of beachwear. At first, everything was hard. She had only one dress and her studio was in the garage of her house. She only produced three pieces a day. She drew, cut, and commercialized. Her small production was sold in a short period of time. But she only had one customer. Time went by and soon her production reached 150 pieces a month. It was already a success, but she wanted more and more, so she started to look for new customers. Her studio in her garage was then excessively small and she went for the next step. She found a bigger place and opened new business and markets. Now she is settled and has a partner who used to be only a customer. In 1986, her company was called "LE GARAGE", and it was in a shed with a team of 10 professionals. Then the first problem arose: what to do seasonally with this segment? It wasn't exactly a problem for her. Paola faced it as a challenge and she went for the solutions. It was the beginning of a new dream and a new goal: exportation. In the mid 1990's, the brand contracted a trading agreement and her pieces reached a foreign market: Venezuela. The domestic market became a great business. Year by year, the success was quick. Everything produced was sold. In 1992, 1,500 pieces. In 1993, 2,000 pieces. In 1994, they already had a good "know-how." It was time to invest big in the internal market. So they did. They were occupying a small room, complete with logistics, qualified employees, and they were accepted with the visibility of their products in Brazil. It was through Portugal that Poko Pano restarted its route of distribution throughout the external market by publicizing a special program of Brazilian products and manufacturers overseas. At first, many samples were sent in a small order just to try the market. The demand for the products was so high that in the same year, 1994, Poko Pano had its grand opening: the first retail store. The "dream" became reality: the bikinis which Paola used to make for her dolls were dressing many women. In 1995, Poko Pano's bikinis and bathing suits saw big demand in Lisbon. In 1997, Portugal was too little for the brand, and Japan, Spain, and other European countries started to sell Poko Pano. In each country, they had a representative office. In Brazil, the sales grew each season and their own stores came quickly. In 1999, Mexico, the US, Australia, Chile, Hawaii, South Africa looked for the quality and design the brand possessed, increasing Poko Pano's sales. With such a success, they started to participate in international trade shows, specializing in beachwear and surfwear, in Miami, San Diego, Mexico City and the Canary Islands. In 2000, Portugal held 15% of its total production. It opened two more stores, one in Moura Village, Algarve surroundings and another one in the Coast of Caparica, Lisbon. Then, Poko Pano was turned into a multinational company with Brazilian investment. In 2001, the brand flowed with triumph. More fortified, with 560 points of sale and several distributors across the world. In 2002, Poko Pano gained amazing respect in the fashion world, being invited to participate in one of the biggest fashion events in Brazil, and one of the greatest in the world, "Sao Paulo Fashion Week." In 2006, the brand was sold in more than 380 sell points around Brazil with 2 stores in Brazil and 2 in the international market. In 2007, Poko Pano was invited to participate in Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim in Miami.

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