The fact that planning a new Wildling collection requires a glance or two into the future is something we already know from reading this article. We also found out what happens when the forecast isn't accurate enough and we still have shoes in stock at the end of the season.
But what if the Wildling crystal ball was off its mark in the other direction and we actually needed a lot more pairs of a certain model?
Can I get a refill?
It sounds much, much simpler than it actually is to “just” put a Wildling model back into production. Since the required materials have already been purchased a year in advance and the ordered fabrics are usually specially produced and dyed, they’re only available for reordering from the supplier in exceptional cases.
That means it’s possible that reproducing a model could take so long that the season ends before it’s ready. Provided that the production facilities in Portugal even have the required capacity at all. So it’s a pretty tricky business. But not impossible.
Replenishment is just a phone call away? Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple with Wildlings. (Image: Wildling Shoes/Sarah Pabst)
When the honey runs out ...
The Wildlings of the world have taken a particular liking to one of the models in the Autumn/Winter 2020 collection. The demand for a yellow shoe was much greater than the supply chain team’s crystal ball had conjured, which meant that the gold-colored Honeybear sold out in no time.
Just how strong the demand really was became abundantly clear a short time later within the Wildling community: Voices clamoring for reproduction were raised on a daily basis. However, a pretty big obstacle stood in the path of this new addition to the family because, as is so often the case, the Honeybear’s material is among those that are custom-made. In order to secure a slot in production in Portugal, the material had to be delivered within four weeks at the latest – a deadline far too tight to accommodate manufacturing and dyeing the originally white outer fabric into a honey yellow.
Important detail: The matching color of the microfiber (Image: Wildling Shoes/Sarah Pabst)
A visit from relatives
Undeterred by this setback, the product team forged ahead with its work on solving the problem. A ready-made fabric that was just waiting to be shipped directly to Portugal had to be found, and indeed it was found shortly afterwards. Since the shade is somewhat darker than the original material, the microfibers had to be adapted to achieve a harmonious overall appearance. Here too, stock goods with abrasion properties that were already well known to the team came into play. Sometimes, good things are right under your nose ...
Granted, the shoe’s appearance has changed significantly. That’s why – instead of saying hello to Honeybear 2.0 – we welcome its cousin, Manukabear to the pack and hope that it, like its cousin, will satisfy the desire for yellow Wildlings.
Honeybear (left) and Manukabear (right) (Images: Wildling Shoes/Nora Tabel/Sandra Dienemann)
Perhaps this begs the question of whether it wouldn’t be more cost-effective to produce more shoes right from the outset – after all, that’s standard practice in the fashion industry. Yet for both ecological and economic reasons, this is not an option for Wildling. This blog article summarizes exactly what those reasons are.
Incidentally, sometimes we also end up with some material left over at the end of the season. And since throwing it away is out of the question, we are always happy to see some familiar faces in the webshop.
Of course, the Wildling supply chain team always tries to plan the required quantities as precisely as possible, but even the best crystal ball can sometimes be a little opaque and ambiguous. And even though it would be more practical if supply and demand were in perfect balance, these minor disparities also create a lot of room for further development, which is crucial to a sustainable company.
Anna, Ran and the Wildlings