Juntos, A Miami-Based Startup, Uses Shoes To Educate At-Risk Ecuadorian Youth

MIAMI, Fla. – Aug. 13, 2013 – Juntos, a fashion startup based in Miami, has launched with the goal of educating Ecuadorian children, one shoe at a time. The brand, which reimagines the traditional Ecuadorian el Zapato de Lona, or Canvas Shoe, offers the style-savvy a chance to do good by donating a school supply-filled backpack to a child in Ecuador for every pair purchased. The shoes are available in black, white and powder blue, and retail for $48.00 a pair.

The brainchild of Mauricio Laniado and Andrew Tupper, Juntos was sparked by a trip to Ecuador and Laniado’s observations about the social stigmas surrounding the working class.

“I was so inspired by the way Ecuador’s working class wore their shoes,” says Laniado. “They don’t let their economic situation define them. They wear beaten-up shoes like badges of honor. As a first-generation Ecuadorian living in the States, I wanted to do something to give back to my home.”

With every pair of shoes purchased, Juntos donates an educational pack to an at-risk child from the same neighborhoods that inspired the original design. Each pack contains a year’s worth of critical school supplies, including pencils, pens, rulers and notebooks. To call attention to the shoes’ roots, Laniado and Tupper have added a map of Ecuador to each insole, serving as a constant reminder of the shoe’s origin.

Juntos made its initial debut through a food truck takeover followed by a tented installation at Soho Beach House during Art Basel Miami 2012. The brand has since continued its innovative business strategies with an Indiegogo campaign to fund its first large batch production. Fundraising goals began in August 2013 and the five-figure benchmark was surpassed in just nine days.  

To view and take part in Juntos’ Indiegogo campaign, please visit FirstStepJuntos.com 


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