Fletcher student launches shoe company with help from Tufts consulting groups

Final-year Fletcher student Peter Sacco, the founder of startup Adelante Shoe Company, speaks to members of 180 Degrees Consulting on Nov. 17. (Courtesy Ashley Miller)

Adelante Shoe Company — startup founded in Oct. 2015 by Peter Sacco, a student in his final year of the Master’s of Arts in Law and Diplomacy program at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy — recently launched its first Kickstarter campaign with the help of several Tufts undergraduate groups. 

Sacco said that while he has been working on the company since the fall of last year, it began to gain traction throughout the undergraduate community this past summer, when he teamed up with Tufts Consulting Collective (TCC), a student organization that provides consulting services for free.

“We started working with [TCC] going into last summer,” Sacco said. “[TCC] is working on … logistical options like shipping and packaging. They were the first ones to start working with us — a little bit of a leap of faith I would say on their part, and I think that they’re great … We worked with a couple of groups in Fletcher as well.”

Following this, Adelante paired up with two more Tufts undergraduate student groups: 180 Degrees Consulting, an international student-run consulting club, and the Tufts Entrepreneurs Society, a networking and skill-development organization for students interested in entrepreneurship. Both are helping him to bridge the gap between Tufts undergraduate and graduate programs.

Sacco explained that he chose to reach out to the student groups because these partnerships would not require Adelante to pay for services, as the groups all work for free to gain consulting and business experience.

“We chose to reach out to them because we’re a startup,” Sacco said. “We have no money and a ton to do and Tufts students are brilliant and it was a win-win for us. The Tufts community, the broader university including Fletcher has just been so supportive.”

Mia Marrazza, consulting director for 180 Degree Consulting’s project with Adelante, explained that the club’s main contributions to the company were efforts in outreach within the Tufts community.

“The big part of it is research for future endeavors and part of it is researching new models as the company goes forward,” Marrazza, a junior, said. “Then we helped out with the marketing campaign to get the campus involved, which was a lot of fun.”

Marazza said working with a company started at Tufts was a unique experience for her as a student consultant.

“It’s nice when it’s connected to Tufts because it kind of makes it more real. We also had a personal investment in it,” Marazza said.

Yuta Okada, one of the members of the 180 Degree Consulting team working with Adelante, said working with a startup offered the group important hands-on experience.

“In my experience, if the group doesn’t really need help, then that’s not fun because you feel that you’re not contributing as much. But Adelante, they need brand power and they need [people] executing ideas … that’s what’s great about working with a start-up social enterprise like Adelante,” Okada, a junior, said.

As the company looks forward beyond Tufts, Sacco said he remains grateful for the support of the various members and organizations at Tufts who helped get the company off the ground.

“There’s no way we would be where we are today if it wasn’t for this institution backing us,” Sacco said. “[Adelante] literally came from Tufts; it was born here from a Tufts student and is deeply ingrained in the university campus life,” Sacco said