Bogotá’s ‘Concept Stores’ Showcase Colombia’s Emerging Brands
By Michael Laris •Published September 31, 2016•Updated on September 30, 2017 at 5:20pm
Colombia is the world’s sixth largest consumer market, with a $1.7 trillion economy and 4.9 million jobs. That’s a lot of consumer dollars. In order to survive, however, a country needs to attract large amounts of money, and a consumer-driven economy is a good place to start.
In its infancy, Colombia had a number of small-scale retailers that offered affordable clothing for men and women. They were in-store boutiques selling a limited range of products, from sweaters and outerwear to accessories and fashion. Even so, the number of people participating in such stores was small and their products were of a limited range.
In recent years, Colombian companies have moved away from retail, focusing instead on more sophisticated concepts that aim to become more relevant to its consumer. These concepts, like Concept Stores, are a way of creating new markets and reaching beyond current shopping habits and expectations in a country obsessed with fashion.
Founded by Carlos Véliz on the beaches of Punta Uva, near Cucao, in 1997, Concept Stores is now run by a management team with a long-term vision to build a new market for innovative and high quality products.
The company is a unique case in that it’s not run by a single owner. It has a board of directors, with members chosen from the company’s management. It’s also not focused on a single location: Concept Stores is open all over the country, including retail spaces in urban locations, as well as in the countryside and on beaches.
In Colombia, the company has three stores: one in Bogotá, with two branches in Cali and Medellín; two in Cali; one in Cartagena, with two branches in Cali and Santander; and one in Medellín.
But there are many more Concept Stores in Colombia than you might think.