PATOS Shoes is an online marketplace that partners with Latin American artisans to create hand-crafted shoes. Founder Fernando Rojo, a University of Pennsylvania student, was inspired by a visit to an artisan fair in Buenos Aires to manufacture the first PATOS shoe line, the Rafael Collection. The startup aims to empower artisans across Latin America through its network, allowing them to work under fair conditions and maintain their centuries-old handcrafting techniques while creating a platform for their products to enter the international markets.
The startup has grown its number of artisan partnerships from one to 20 since its launch, working with shoemakers in Argentina, Peru and Bolivia. Its monthly production capability has also tripled to more than 12,000 pairs of shoes in the same period. PATOS has two retail partnerships with socially-conscious boutiques in Michigan but is focused on e-commerce growth for scalability. PATOS now makes 11 different shoes in 45 different textile designs, with each pair retailing from $50 to $75. The startup plans to launch a free mobile Android app this month for its artisans in Argentina and Peru.