Dr Martens links with Depop, plans big move into repair and resale
Dr Martens is embracing the repair and resale movement in a link-up with Depop and expects refurbished or secondhand boots could account for around 15% of sales within a decade.
It’s collaborating with the online secondhand clothing marketplace as resale on both a peer-to-peer and branded basis booms.
CEO Kenny Wilson said it’s important to work out how it can play a part in the move towards repair and resale and that if done right, this could account for a sizeable chunk of sales in 10 years’ time.
Given the durability of Dr Martens products and the classic designs with which it works, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Wilson sees such a big future for repair and resale. And the company previously offered a lifetime guarantee on its products between 2009 and 2018.
Wilson told The Guardian: “We think this is going to be a big part of how consumers shop in the future.” And he pointed out that other businesses are already trading in secondhand DMs. “This is part of something really important for the business longer term,” he continued. “Our incredible strength is the durability of the product. I can own a pair for seven or eight years and they are still perfectly good for someone else who wants to buy them.”
And he said there are plenty of “people of all ages saying they would rather buy something that is reconditioned rather than new”.
Resale has taken off in a big way globally with it having an obvious appeal in the luxury segment where high-quality designer label fashion can be bought more affordably. It’s also popular lower down the price scale where peer-to-peer sites such as Depop, Vinted and the ‘elder statesman’ site eBay have found a strong market among consumers seeking to raise extra cash and keep their unwanted clothes and accessories out of landfill.
More and more individual brands are now entering resale on their own behalf and alongside those, there’s a growing repair trend, particularly for leathergoods.
Resale is predicted by ThredUp to grow 11 times faster than the wider clothing market in the next half-decade and one report has said it will more than double by 2025.
The Dr Martens link-up with Depop will be called Resouled and means older DMs can be repolished with new laces, soles, heel loops and insoles before being put back on sale. They’ll sell for 80% of the price of a new pair, which is likely to appeal to consumers given the price rises due in July (a pair of classic 1460 boots will rise to £159 from £149).
The company has already been ensuring a new life for unwanted boots with thousands of pairs that have been sourced from returns to wholesale customers having been refurbished at the shoemaker’s own UK factory or in a deal with The Boot Repair Company.
Wilson told The Guardian that the Depop deal will likely be tested for around six months as the company also works out how to create a much larger scheme.
That would probably also mean more work for the UK factory in Northamptonshire. It currently only makes a tiny percentage of the total number of shoes and boots the brand sells, with it focusing on the higher-priced Made In England range.
It would also give a new life to many of the higher-priced collaborations that the company launches, the latest being with brands as diverse as Supreme and the UK's National Gallery.
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