Repairing well-worn footwear favorites ensures fewer resources are used for production and less waste is generated. Therefore the newly launched Wildling Shoes Repair Center is truly a labor of love. Here’s how the project got started and what’s coming up next.
Effective immediately, necessary repairs to Wildling minimal shoes that come up during the warranty period can now be conducted at the Repair Center!
Please notify Customer Service as usual about necessary repairs. Together with your Customer Service contact you will determine the best ways to repair your shoes and they will let you know about your individual next steps, always with the priority, “As simple as possible, as sustainably as possible.” :)
Gradually stepping away from that urge to always own the very latest things and instead using what we already have for as long as possible: This can free up headspace, but most importantly, it helps to require fewer new resources. Especially if a favorite item doesn’t have to be thrown out right when it breaks – but easily gets repaired. Wildling Shoes has now taken a big step in this direction. Previously having Wildling shoes repaired has been possible with third-party service providers. But expanding and simplifying repairs to our minimal shoes has been a long-held wish at Wildling Shoes. And not just for sentimental reasons – repairing favorite items suffering from the wear and tear of frequent use is an important step: fewer resources are used for new production, and waste prevention is promoted. Making this not-so-small contribution to the Re:generation a reality requires a great deal of preparation.
Image: Kayla Kauffman
What (and who) is behind the Repair Center
Four to six people at Wildling Shoes are involved in a single repair – Customer Service registers the repair request and gets the ball rolling, another person repairs the shoe, the Logistics team logs the returned shoes (and of course sends them back once they’re fixed) – and none of this would even be possible without the IT team processing the whole procedure. So the employees who fulfill these roles come from different teams where each member has to know what to do within their area of responsibility.
“Quality Management works with all the coworkers involved in the journey a Wildling shoe takes to be repaired from the moment the customer requests that repair,” explains Julian, who as the Team Lead in Wildling Shoes’ Quality Management has been involved in setting up the Repair Center right from the start. “This even includes the production facilities in Portugal, since larger repairs wouldn’t be possible without having their machinery on site.” That brings the total number of people involved in setting up the Repair Center to around 50. And since the whole thing is designed to be as user-friendly as possible, this development is happening on multiple levels. work is already in progress for the next improvements and expansion phases while the first version of the Repair Center has now kicked off its work for all to see.
Image: Kayla Kauffman
Warranty repairs and how it all works
That’s right: The time has come for necessary repairs to Wildling minimal shoes within the warranty period, they can be tackled via the Repair Center. "And we absolutely want that," says Julian, "to ensure the longevity of Wildling shoes. After all, any shoe that’s sent back worn and defective can no longer be sold and can only be donated or used internally, for example, for recycling projects or internal testing."
There are many options available at the Repair Center already: in Engelskirchen, its main location, for instance, eyelets can be repaired or re-set and outsoles repaired. For more extensive repairs, such as when a sole needs to be completely replaced or more complex sewing work is required, the shoe is sent to the production facility in Portugal. The experts there have all the machines needed to repair even major damage to our favorite minimal shoes as part of the warranty. However, this process can sometimes take a while, in the interest of conserving resources, repair cases are collected and shipped together and not every pair in need of repair is sent to Portugal individually. The Wildling Shoes customer service provides ample information on the scheduling in advance – so each customer can decide on whether the longer repair time fits their personal needs.
Step by step to more than just warranties
A lot is possible already, but there's still room for improvement. Initially, the Repair Center will set itself up so that all repairs are possible without the support of our external partners. This will enable us to make repairs specifically to the unique Wildling shoes’ features (even though we will always think back happily to the cooperation and the great support!) At the same time, all steps are constantly optimized and fine-tuned to ensure the customer-friendliness of the Repair Center. Furthermore, the entire project is already heading towards the next important goal: "The plan is that eventually, all repairs can be carried out and not only warranties will be covered," says Julian.
Image: Kayla Kauffman
The Repair Center project is thus driven by big (and achievable!) ambitions – and in that regard, it's also flexible. Back when the initial planning began, Wildling Shoes' quality management anticipated more types of repairs than we’re actually in need of because the quality of newly produced shoes is constantly improving. This has made the planning process substantially easier. What remains is: everyone at Wildling Shoes is eager to get the Repair Center up and running with its full range of services after kicking it off with warranty repairs. "We experience an incredible amount of support, from other teams within Wildling Shoes too," Julian confirms, "it's still a passion project." And after a little pause, he adds with a laugh: "Even though I've since moved from the initial crush-phase to a stable, long-term relationship with the Repair Center." Perhaps that's a pretty good allegory for the feeling that emerges when a much-worn pair of favorite shoes breaks, and you neither want nor need to let go (yay!).
Header-Image: Kayla Kauffman
Find out what happens next with the Repair Center and as of when more than warranty repairs will be made possible either here in the Blogazine, on social media or in the newsletter.