Maria Jesús achieved her childhood dream of running a clothing store after moving to Portugal two years ago. She is now making a splash with her beach and swimwear shop in Faro.
Originally from Chile, Maria went travelling in Australia after University. While there, she met her husband, the son of Portuguese immigrants. She settled in Australia from 2011 to 2018. Having trained in commerce and with a ‘passion for fashion’ she found herself working for Ozzy swimwear brand Seafolly from 2014 to 2018.
After relocating back to Chile she worked for a small company, Ac Mare, as a brand manager. But the company folded. Now with two daughters, her family decided to move to her husband’s homeland and the city of Faro two years ago.
After looking at the market here in Algarve and realising that there are not many swimwear stores with good quality brands, she decided to set up her own. She named her new store in Faro, Zinnia. Named after the flower, it reflects femininity and the beautiful shape that good swimwear can give to women.
“I always loved fashion and tried to get into the fashion industry and having my own shop was a dream since I was a child. So I made the decision of jumping on this new adventure.”
She aims to distribute brands from Australia, Brazil and Colombia that she views as good quality with nice designs. She currently distributes Agua Doce, Cia Maritima and Freedom Moses, along with Seafolly. With all the bikinis you can mix and match top and bottoms with brands, sizes and colours. Bikini tops come in different shapes up to double D-cup.
“I want to give a personalised service to people that come into the shop. I know what fits and looks good on different bodies. Whatever size or shape you are, you will leave with nice swimwear.” But, if you can’t make it to her shop she has an online store with free delivery in Portugal for purchases over 70€.
Maria also sells beachwear, including kaftans, maxi dresses and accessories. She has a range of beach shoes, including Havaianas and Chinelos. She also stocks the super-comfy Walk in Pitas, which weigh only 150 grams each. For dedicated beachgoers, she can also offer stylish towels and comfortable beach pillows and bags which match your bikini, as well as bags for wet swimwear.
So the men don’t get bored while their wives shop, she also has some men’s items, including swim shorts and t-shirts plus Havainas for men.
“The feedback I’ve got since I opened in April is that my customers really like the products, the design, quality and the service so I would really like to spread the news into the Algarvian community. I know many women look for better quality products, especially expats who all say that it’s hard to find quality swimwear in the area.”
Next season, she is hoping to import hand-made jewellery and accessories from South America.
Maria’s small shop explodes with colour and enthusiasm and should you visit you will be sure to make an impression in the Algarve sun this summer.
Maria’s Top Tips
• Bright and fluorescent colours are in this year with lilac shades particularly popular
• A one-shoulder style is en vogue on the beaches this summer
• High-waisted bottoms in an ’80s style are still ‘in’ and especially popular with Mummies who want to hide their muffin tops!
How to Choose the Right Swimsuit for Your Shape
• If you have small breasts choose a triangle shape bikini top or a sporty shape
• For bigger breasts choose the tops that have more shape and support
• It is essential to feel comfortable and remember if you have young children, they particularly like to untie string straps, so opt for a more supportive design!
• If you have a larger stomach choose a one-piece with two layers of good quality fabric that give support
Rua Alexandre Herculano nº20 8000-204, Faro
Open Mon to Fri: 10:30h to 14h and 15:30h to 19h