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Tomás Pando, Francisco Murray, and Francisco Piasentini founded PAEZ in 2007, a shoe company with the intention of developing a brand that sells innovative, value-added products through a worldwide entrepreneurial community and acts with a strong commitment to sustainability.
PAEZ’s team has a long history. Tomás moved to Buenos Aires when he was seven. His childhood friend Willy, who had moved to Buenos Aires to attend the Universidad de Buenos Aires, and Pancho, his high school friend, had always discussed starting a business.
One day, Tomás saw an advertisement for Tom’s Shoes, and wanted to get involved. The company turned him down, and thus created their own competitor. Tomás convinced Francisco to quit his job, and the two worked together to design and manufacture their own alpargatas sandals. Willy joined them in 2007.
At the time alparagatas were treated as a commodity good in Argentina, but PAEZ set about differentiating themselves. After signing with multinational companies, they opened their own factory in Buenos Aires.
Their core product, the slip-on alpargata, is an ideal consumer product: inexpensive to make, easy to redesign, and 50% less expensive than competitors’ offerings. In 2010, PAEZ introduced sneakers, boots, and bags to complement its growing brand. Tomás and his team partner with smaller entrepreneurs in markets where it needs to build its brand.
Despite small hitches and misfires in the early stages of the company, Tomás, Pancho and Willy have done a remarkable job growing the business while keeping it in good financial standing.
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