In our Circular Center, the radio is on. Two people are working hard to finish their ongoing projects. One of them is gluing outsoles, and the other is working on a piece of leather that will become a new heel cap for a pair of Bodås. Soon we will start our campaign Green Week, and that means a busy period for these two. The goal is to be done with as many shoes as possible by then.
Hi there! Who are you?
“My name is Linda. I have been working in almost every department at Kavat. And now I am here, in our Circular Center.”
Linda sits by harsh light, gluing soles with a brush. The shoes are hanging upside-down in front of her with a layer of glue on them, waiting for the sole. A man sits at the table in the middle of the room – the cobbler himself. He is thinning the edges of his piece of leather with a rounded blade.
“I’m Peter. I’ve been a cobbler for sixteen years.”
There is a particular scent in the Repair-shop. The mix of leather, glue, and shoe cream. Some visitors say that it smells like bread that is just out of the oven; others think it reminds them of yogurt. It’s like cilantro – super tasty for some, taste like soap for others.
How did you come to work here?
“When we started this Repair-shop, it felt natural that I got to work here since I am one of the few ones left that used to work in the factory when it was located here in Kumla,” Linda says. “I worked in production for my first 10 years at Kavat. When I started in the Repair-shop, I wanted to bring Peter along. I wasn’t even meant to be working with the shoes but rather organize and plan out his work, do the shipping, and so on. Only Peter was supposed to work with the shoes. I don’t think we were prepared for it to be such a success.”
Peter continues to work on his leather with precision while saying, “I started with doing repairs, then I worked at the Kavat factory for a while. After that, I was at the shoe museum where I made shoes from scratch, and then they asked me to come back and start up this Circular Center.”
Do you ever get any horror examples that you manage to fix?
“Yes, those are actually quite common. Sometimes the leather is so corroded with sweat, and It crackles when you touch it. That’s when you know that the shoe is about to break.” There is an old boot in the middle of the table that has been worn and torn for a long time, it seems. “Take this, for example, it looks pretty bad, but the leather is still soft and smooth. This is no problem! As long as the leather is intact, we can fix the rest of the shoe. How old do you think this so is?” Peter looks at Linda, who gives it a quick look.
“That model was made at the old factory. I would say it’s at least ten years old.” She says. Peter nods in agreement and explains.
“There are shoes that get completely worn out after just a year. It all depends on how the customer uses their shoes. If you put on your boot when you buy it and then never take it off, it will not last for a very long time. And If you never care for your shoes, polish them, and so on, then it’s over pretty fast. But this shoe is ten years old, the owner has taken good care of them – and after a visit here, they will last for at least ten more years.”
Linda agrees and adds, “We have made over 500 Repair Services since we started a little over a year ago. And since then, we have deemed only two pairs to be beyond rescue.”
Linda and Peter return to their tasks. 500 pairs of shoes, that’s not bad. That is 500 shoes that otherwise would have ended up in the trash. We want to be the world's most sustainable shoemaker. And the most sustainable shoes are the ones that you already own. That’s why we don’t have a Black Friday sale at Kavat. That’s why we have a Green Week – to focus on our circular initiatives and to encourage you to take care of what you’ve already got.