Adelante Shoes to Open First Store in Boston

Adelante, the made-to-order footwear brand, on Sunday will open its first brick-and-mortar location in its home city of Boston.

The 1,500-square-foot location on 321 Newbury Street brings Adelante’s direct-to-consumer experience to life. Customers can be fitted for shoes to order, up to size 16 with five widths, or buy lightly used product in store. The brand also offers different calf sizes in riding boots.

“Physical retail has always been a big part of our sales strategy,” said founder Peter Sacco. “We’ve always seen benefits from consumers that see us as a physical location, but we see benefits of the omnichannel approach and synergy of retail and e-commerce.”

Sacco launched Adelante in 2017 with the mission to provide value to the consumer and an economic lifeline to the cobblers of Pastores, Guatemala, where over 1,000 cobblers handcraft the shoes. He grew interested in Latin America during his education and moved to Honduras, Guatemala and Belize to do nonprofit mission-driven work. He developed Adelante while at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and decided to focus on the brand full-time while in grad school.

Adelante launched with five products, and now offers as many as 20 options for men and women. The brand will connect each customer to the cobbler who made their shoes, and also compensates the cobblers more than double the local market rate. Sacco said the brand “more than doubled sales” from 2018 to 2019 and increased topline revenue in 2020 as well.

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Prior to COVID-19, Adelante would participate at high-end craft markets like Artists & Fleas, Brooklyn Flea, SoWa Open Market in Boston, and La Cosecha in Washington, D.C. “The first two summers, I probably worked 300 sales events personally and you get tons of time interfacing and talking about the product and what problems you’re solving,” Sacco said.

He added that the brand is a favorite among customers with nonstandard shoe sizes, and it has a high repeat purchase rate and low exchange and return rate.

Adelante saw 42 percent of its sales in 2019 come from retail events which, like in much of the world, was impacted by the pandemic. Last year “was no one’s favorite year,” Sacco said, “but the growth we had was largely driven by e-commerce and we’re continuing to focus on that going forward.”

He continued, “This year, we’re finishing a capital raise, investing in digital marketing and looking forward to another step forward in revenue.”

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