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How Farm Rio’s Katia Barros Built Her ‘Authentic, Far From the Ordinary’ Brand


What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I really enjoy training people and supporting them in their professional development. I like to highlight skills and not focus on flaws. I am happy to follow those who started at Farm Rio, flourished and grew within the company to achieve leadership positions. I like to feel the pride, not only of our team, but also of the customers, friends and all those who accompany us on this long and successful journey. Our story inspires other designers and brings pride and self-esteem to our country. I feel honored to have built a company made up mostly of women. Our social and sustainable commitments are also rewarding. We increasingly want to have a positive impact on the world. And finally, emotion: I get emotional when we, as a fashion brand, move people through meaningful products. Farm Rio is about happiness and people love it. We are playful and affectionate, and the world needs that love now more than ever.

Do you have any advice for aspiring Latinx designers?

My advice is: “Look inside yourself.” Being true to yourself can take us further than we ever imagined. Another message I would like to convey to future generations is the understanding that fashion has become a platform through which collectively we can make the world a fairer and more enjoyable place. Embrace inclusion, sustainability, social, artistic and cultural projects. And remember that nothing is built without a thousand drops of sweat. Always fly with your feet on the ground!

When you were growing up, how did you imagine your career?

I didn’t really envisage a career in fashion and I studied accounting because my parents were involved in the business world. Ultimately, I decided I needed a creative outlet and found my way into retail and design.

How do you create boundaries between work and your personal life?

This is a big challenge for all female entrepreneurs and businesswomen, who can also be mothers and wives. I try to be disciplined. So, as I am passionate about my work, I watch myself to know when to stop. The mobile phone imposed an additional challenge on us. Sometimes it is necessary to put it aside to disconnect for a while. I enjoy spending time with my family whether at home or on vacation, as well as meeting up with friends. I also prioritize my sleep routine: I religiously sleep nine hours a day.

What do you think is the most misunderstood part of your job?

The world is going through a serious environmental crisis and as a brand we have established sustainability commitments and goals. There is a huge effort in this direction. However, consumer expectations and urgency sometimes outweigh our ability to move in this direction, and I fully understand that. We can’t always move as fast as we would like.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Early in my professional journey, I heard from a very special person: “Tell your story and be true to yourself. Look inside, not outside. This advice stuck with me and I have carried it with me throughout my career.

What do you usually wear to the office?

Farm Rio’s office, our greenhouse of creatives, is very colorful and has the carioca way of life. It is marked by an elegant and fun atmosphere resulting from our close relationship with the sea and the atmosphere of the beach. So my way of dressing is linked to this mood: I wear comfortable, feminine and colorful pieces. I literally dress myself in happiness

How do you handle rejection?

It is a complex subject. I have been in therapy for 26 years and have learned that rejection is part of human life. However, this is not something that particularly worries me.

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