Dr Martens to get a foot in the door of the resale market with the help of Depop | Dr Martens

Dr. Martens is looking to break into the repair and resale market through a new collaboration with online second-hand clothing marketplace Depopas, which is seeing increasing demand for refurbished clothes.

Kenny Wilson, managing director of the British footwear brand, said refurbished or second-hand boots could account for up to 15% of sales in 10 years and it was important to figure out how to play a role in this market.

“We believe this is going to play a big role in how consumers buy in the future,” he said, adding that there are already other companies selling used DMs. “It’s part of something really important for the business in the longer term. Our incredible strength is the durability of the product. I can own a pair of these for seven or eight years and they’re still perfectly good for someone in the future. anyone else who wants to buy them.

Depop’s customer base is young, but Wilson said the interest in sustainability has broad appeal. “There are people of all ages who say they’d rather buy something refurbished than new. There are still many other people who want something new. It’s a matter of choice,” Wilson said.

Dr Martens joins a rush to refurbish and resell at all levels of the fashion market – from Mulberry and Harvey Nichols to Marks & Spencer and H&M – as demand from buyers increases.

Dr Martens CEO Kenny Wilson at factory headquarters near Wellingborough. Photography: Fabio De Paola/The Guardian

Even reality show Love Island has recognized the trend of a new partnership with eBay where contestants wear “pre-loved” items, replacing previous sponsoring partners which included fast fashion brands Missguided and I Saw. it First.

The international resale market is expected to grow from $27bn (£21bn) today to $57bn by 2025, according to a report by Business of Fashion, and second-hand market ThredUp estimates that resale will grow 11 times faster than the overall apparel retail industry over the next five years.

Lorna Hall, fashion director at trend forecasting firm WGSN, said consumers now view “clothing as currency”, with the sale of used items funding new outfits, and brands that don’t participate would cut off from rapid growth. market.

“There are three big drivers,” she said. “It’s become part of the retail experience for the free-time shopper, who is often someone young who likes to research items, create individual looks and own something you can’t buy. now in droves. [on the mass market].

“Then there’s a public that thinks it’s a more sustainable way to shop, and there’s the cost of living crisis, which will drive even more buyers to seek better resale value. .”

Market entry has become easier for brands with the rise of companies that manage the return and resale process, such as ThredUp and resale technology firm Reflaunt, she said. .

As part of Dr. Martens’ ReSouled program with Depop, aging DMs can be re-polished, given new laces, soles, heel loops and insoles before being put back on the market. The price of the shoes is about 80% of that of a new pair. The lower price should have wider appeal after Dr Martens raised the price of its classic 1460 eight-hole boots in the UK by £10 a pair to £159 in July.

Prices are rising in Europe, including the UK and USA, as costs for leather, metal eyelets, soles and shipping skyrocket due to demand for raw materials and the wage inflation.

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Many thousands of DM pairs from returns to wholesale customers have already been given new life, either through a partnership with specialist reconditioner The Boot Repair Company or at Dr Martens’ UK factory.

Wilson said the company, which reports annual results on Wednesday, was considering designing a much larger program, but the business with Depop would likely be tested for about six months before any decisions were made on next steps.

A key part of developing any large-scale refurbishment plan would be figuring out how to refurbish the boots locally close to where they are sold, he said. This could include more work in the UK at the Wollaston factory, near Wellingborough in Northamptonshire, where the company was founded, which currently accounts for just 2% of sales.

Workers there use a mix of new technology, such as computer-guided cutting machines as well as old-looking bespoke sewing machines to make its Made in England range slightly more expensive.

The group has already had to diversify its production base. Four years ago 80% of its boots were made in China, but now a third are made in Vietnam and the UK factory expanded to a second site in 2019.

The company is taking cautious action after reversing an earlier stab in the services market. The For Life range, launched in 2009 offering a lifetime warranty on the boots, was canceled in 2018.

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