8 Lessons I Learned Starting A Business In College

Fernando Rojo, Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship Founder of PATOS

By Fernando Rojo C’18, Founder of PATOS

“Working in a third-world country will be a logistical nightmare.”

“No one will want such bright patterns on shoes.”

“Why aren’t your sales higher already?”

These are a few of the sorts of things people said to me as I started PATOS, a line of modern sneakers made with traditional Peruvian textiles that I’ve spent the last two years bringing to market. The idea for the business came to me during my freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania. I was visiting extended family in Argentina and met an artisan named Rafael at a flea market there. He made these incredible shoes with vibrant textiles. I heard his story and perspective as a talented artisan in a struggling economy, and I was hooked; a few days later, I got on a plane back to the U.S. with 100 pairs of Rafael’s textile-covered shoes and the idea for PATOS: I’d partner with him and other talented artisans across Latin America, building a global brand for their handcrafted, one-of-a-kind sneakers. Read more 8 Lessons I Learned Starting A Business In College