Right from when Wildling Shoes was founded, the Wildling Facebook community has been very popular. Members have discussions there, sharing experiences, care tips and pictures.
Annica Vetter, too, is a member of the community. Her before-and-after pictures have been causing a stir in the group for some time. She has a knack for upgrading Wildlings that are past their prime. And she never tires of giving tips to other Wildling fans. If you don’t know what to do, Annica is the person to ask. We think her ideas are just waiting to be tried out, and we asked her a few questions.
Wildling Shoes: How long have you been wearing Wildlings and how did you get the idea of doing them up?
Annica Vetter: I ordered my first pair of Wildlings on - let me have a quick look - 25th November 2018. So I haven't been involved for long. After a few weeks they were joined by a second pair, and it moved on quickly from there. I don’t have any more “normal” shoes at all.
I got the idea of repairing them when I received a wonderful and cheap pair of Red Riding Hoods. I was already the third owner, and that's what they looked like. Throwing them away wasn't an option for me, so I started to think about what I could do.
Annica gave this Wildings a new life. Picture: Annica Vetter
Wildling Shoes: Repairing things, instead of throwing them away and replacing them with new ones, is very sustainable. Do you do anything else in order to live even more sustainably?
Annica Vetter: Well, this and that. I buy most of my clothes at flea markets, and in general I try not to throw much away. And I don’t eat meat.
“I was overcome by Wildling fever”
Wildling Shoes: You not only glue and repair the Wildlings, but you also paint them. And that results in wonderful works of art. Do you work as a designer, or do you just have a particularly artistic gene?
Annica Vetter: Oh, thank you very much! In my “real” life I’m in the third year of training to become a therapeutic educator. For many people with particular needs, barefoot shoes are a real blessing. I hope very much that I’ll see them more and more often in the future, also at work. After I'd repaired and dyed the first pair of Wildlings (which really still looked a bit shabby), I got the bug. So I got hold of more beaten-up Wildlings, and somehow it took on momentum from there.
Exemt from unnecessary dye residues and refreshed. Now they are beautiful again. Picture: Annica Vetter
Wildling Shoes: Be honest - what can we do even better in the future, in your opinion?
Oh, I’m very happy. My shoes can put up with all sorts of things, and any little “issues” can be repaired quickly and easily. The community seems to want a different material for the patch, but for me personally it doesn’t wear down at all. The only thing I’d like is a green model, but that’s got nothing to do with “doing better”. You really handle customer requirements brilliantly, and that’s why I’m very confident that at some point I’ll get a pair of green Wildlings. What I found really great was that you responded to the call for Doves for big feet and Tanuki in sizes 47 and 48.
“You should always have a needle, thread and glue to hand”
Wildling Shoes: On the topic of upcycling: What are the most important tools that you should always have on hand? You once posted a brilliant first-aid kit.
Annica Vetter: Freesole glue, needle and thread, thin (artificial) leather and super glue. Up to now I’ve always managed with those. If you want the Wildlings to look really beautiful as well, there are a thousand other things that you can use.
Annicas "Erste-Hilfe-Set". Foto: Annica Vetter privat
Wildling Shoes: Do you have a special tip for other Wildling wearers?
Annica Vetter: Yes, I’d always give my shoes a second chance if something no longer looks as good as new. For example, you can glue the soles really well. I know that some people don't like it, but it’s a very easy way to give your Wildlings a new lease of life.
Wildling Shoes: What do you think differentiates Wildling Shoes from other shoe brands, and which are your favourite Wildlings?
Annica Vetter: I just think the founding story’s wonderful! And for me the sustainability aspect really sets Wildling apart from other brands. Regardless of that, I really like the look of the shoes and how they feel when I’m walking. The question about favourite Wildlings really isn't easy to answer; I’ll just have to mention several. In the summer, it has to be my Silver Foxes, in winter the Falcons, and for anything in between it’s my first Wildlings: Rose Reds.
“The comments in the community motivate me most”
Wildling Shoes: You're really creative. What motivates you most? How do you get the ideas for your designs?
Annica Vetter: Thank you very much! Mostly I’m motivated by comments in the community. It’s nice to get positive feedback, and also to sometimes read criticisms. But the best thing is that my mum’s happy. Her Fawns were completely worn down, and I worked for weeks to make them look good. So she wears them with pride. When I buy a beaten-up pair, or am given some by lovely people so I can make them “nice again”, I just immediately see what I can rescue and how. For example I had Lambs and Otters that needed iron-on patches to cover little holes. So I don’t really have new design ideas in that sense.
Wildling Shoes: Thank you for the
Run wild & be creative!
Anna, Ran & the Wildlings
If you're curious and want to check out the Wildling Facebook community, you can find it here.