Seriously guys! I’m so excited. It was like Christmas morning when these arrived today! If you haven’t heard of PATOS (handmade Peruvian sneakers), let me introduce you.
PATOS is a shoe company started by a Gen Z entrepreneur out of his dorm room at UPenn. I first read about PATOS in a recent Forbes article and was so fascinated by this story that I referenced it in the Marketing to Gen Z presentation I gave at the KCDMA Symposium last week. I ordered my PATOS earlier in the week, hoping they’d arrive in time for me to wear for the presentation. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way. I can’t complain though because shipping was FREE and it still only took four days for them to arrive.
Oh, and as soon as they got here, Gabby decided she MUST have her own pair. She actually wanted to steal mine.
I suggested she get a white pair so we can share both pairs. She’s excited to be a trend-setter at her middle school with her PATOS — already popular with Gen Z, but as most fashion trends tend to go, they haven’t quite hit the Midwest just yet.
Fernando Rojo, the 21-year-old son of Argentinian immigrants, spent his time growing up between the U.S. and Argentina. While visiting his family in Argentina as a college freshman, he met a man named Rafael at a local artisan fair, where he sold women’s flats with colorful, intricate textiles. After Rafael told Rojo his story – one of a skilled artisan in a struggling economy – Rojo was inspired to partner with him to sell his shoes in the United States.
Rojo also realized two things:
- the sneaker industry was dominated by European inspiration and
- mainstream fashion was neglecting Latin America’s beautiful textiles and exploited its workers. He set out to change that.
I never understood why there weren’t cool sneakers accented by these textiles in the US. So, I thought, why not team up with locals to create them, and have an economic impact in the communities we work?
So what did Rojo do? He created a (really comfortable!) shoe that combines the modern sneaker “that we know and love” with traditional textiles from Peru. He launched the company on Kickstarter, and it became a Kickstarter hit! In the first month alone, Rojo grew the brand to hire over a dozen Peruvian artisans, sell products in 15 countries and partner with J.Crew. PATOS’ collection is 100% made and sourced in Peru. PATOS’ mission is to empower Latin American artisans in poor communities by providing them with sustainable jobs.
My box included a thank you card with a photo of Maribel, the artisan who handcrafted my very own PATOS! I love knowing who made my shoes and that my purchase is keeping Maribel employed, allowing her to continue practicing her craft. THANK YOU Maribel! I ADORE my shoes and can’t wait to wear them with pride!
My box also included a bag made out of the leftover material from my shoes! How cool is that? I also got a cute PATOS duck logo sticker! I love the little extra touches!
Check out more about the PATOS story. It’s fascinating and inspiring! I’m in awe, yet not surprised, that Rojo was only 20 when he launched this company. Gen Z is an incredibly entrepreneurial generation. According to a recent Inc.com article, 61% of Gen Z who are still in high school and 43% of Gen Z who are in college say they would rather be entrepreneurs than employees when they graduate.
Want your own PATOS? Use my code to receive $15 off your order. You’ll get your own code to share with others too!! It’s a win/win!