Here it is the annual preview. I would like to try to keep it a little shorter this year, because brevity is (also sometimes) the spice ;-).
In last year's preview we mentioned that no other product would be added in 2021, but the appeal of our spontaneous idea of the overshoe to our high-quality and customizable OverShoe was too great. In addition, there was simply no product like this before and we somehow wanted to carry on wearing all our Único shoes over the autumn and winter...
Well, a powerful autumn and winter project has emerged which we have realized within 3 months from the idea to the finished market readiness, with tight and often very long working days into the evening hours.;-). Now it's here, the OverShoe Light and is delighting the first thousand customers, it has firmly established itself and will be further developed over the course of the year. So we are also planning an OverShoe Pro variant, which is completely closed at the bottom, with an opening at the back and if it works with a very minimal Vibram Artic-Grip pad sole, so that you can stand and walk safely on slippery and icy surfaces.
But we were also extremely active in other ways over the winter. A special opportunity has arisen more by chance since autumn 2021. In conversation with a farmer from the Wildtal (Vogtshof), the problem crystallized that especially the small farmers often get nothing for the valuable raw skins. Slaughtering is very rare here (once a quarter or six months) and there are small artisanal slaughterhouses or even farm slaughterhouses, the valuable raw skins are often thrown away or disposed of at great expense. It has to be said that slaughtering is part of every sustainable farm management. Regardless of whether they are small farmers, organic farmers or Demeter farms, slaughter takes place for everyone. Only the way this happens and at what intervals, on what occasion and for what reasons are the farmers mentioned a decisive difference compared to the large animal industry...(With the entire topic of "slaughter" and why it is necessary, you can now delve even deeper into our new world of goods and read about our experiences.)
But back to the topic, at first I couldn't believe it, throwing away skins!? How can that be in today's times? I know from my tanner that it is very difficult to get good, sustainable and high-quality raw material skins. So what on earth is going wrong here? Obviously a lot, because neither the logistics, nor the appreciation, nor the overall value retention is right, but above all the large animal industry, price-pushing dubious middlemen and ultimately the little appreciation of the end customer play a decisive role. In short, the conversation was decisive for me to urgently change something here. I researched, talked to other farmers, my tanner and small craft slaughterhouses, everyone spoke of the same problems, no appreciation, no payment, skins and skins are thrown away and there are additional disposal costs, etc.
"I think as a manufacturer of sustainable products, you bear responsibility above all for the origin of your raw materials"
I could go a long way here, I tried to keep it short. However, in the last six months I have gained a small insight into the entire industry and I am shocked by the number of things that are thrown away here! It's clear that I first wanted to save all the skins from the surrounding farms in the Freiburg/Black Forest region. In any case, it went faster than expected without my intervention. In no time word got around among some courts and among the small court slaughterhouses. I got a call every few days asking if I was interested in the skins and wanted them. Many skins come from very small farms with suckler cows, 3/4 of the year on the pasture, where the meat is often marketed in their own farms or associated farm shops. Within a few weeks I had so many that I had to come up with something. How do I have to camp? How should they be preserved? Preparing to be my tanner of trust. Organize the complex logistical routes! What do I do with all the finished leather?...
I quickly got the idea that we should make something fine, very transparent and meaningful out of it. A Chala® sandals & Único shoe Black Forest collection with accurate court records. We break down the individual farms and origins, I often visited the farms beforehand, took a close look at everything and spoke to the farmers, especially how the animals are kept and are allowed to live, how they are usually processed in farm slaughter years later and finally collected or saved by us, preserved and taken to our tanner until the finished product is there at the end ;-).
It is a valuable and very limited raw material resource, because our rescued and collected hides and skins are only enough for a small number of pieces, i.e. we now have about 125-130 square meters of the particularly great leather for this year 2022. The amount is enough for about 600 Classic and 600 Premium sandals and 250 pairs of shoes, from which we produce the Black Forest collection. For all other products, the rule is never out of stock, since we produce on demand and can always supply raw materials indefinitely. But that's not the case with this collection, it's over after this number of pieces. This means that with every order that is shipped, it becomes rarer and less until everything is sold out...
Each order is numbered by us and signed according to farm and origin, so you know what you are really wearing on your feet. We continue to collect skins and save the valuable raw material, but the quantities vary and are rare, and the colors also change. Only this year there is the beautiful natural brown tone on tone collection.
I actually wanted to write shorter letters, but it can't always be controlled, some things have to be written out more precisely and I haven't explained everything in detail;-), I hope you're not bored!?
I have to say one more thing, I've rarely been so convinced of an idea as the Black Forest collection, but this one is one of the most sensible and sustainable ever...
So what exactly do we want to do and offer for you this year!?
* A total Black Forest collection, limited availability based on fur & cowhide rescue collected, guaranteed with farm pedigrees
* The Black Forest sandals Classic BF with high-quality integrated button laces and the premium models with side straps are available in two different widths.
* The Black Forest Premium sandals will be the first sandals without a toe post, because there are many people who can't get along with toe straps, there will be side straps made of recycled ECOnyl (made from recycled fishing nets), which we have also refined.
* There will be a great Único from the Black Forest collection as a wonderful brown smooth leather variant in 2 or 3 colors of outstanding quality.
* We are already working intensively on a reduced first Único Light variant, without the complex sole structure and the interchangeable sole concept, lighter, slimmed down, a little cheaper - we hope to make it by April.
* The popular EVO Kids will be available with a 15mm system band in a number of colors and up to size 39
* We are already planning our OverShoe Pro variant in early summer, hopefully with a Vibram Artic Grip pad sole, it will be a bit more complex and also more expensive.