Dr Martens plans to launch a shoe repair service in Britain next month as it seeks to polish its sustainability credentials, encourage customers to extend the life of their boots, and create a new revenue stream.
The London-listed maker of leather boots, shoes and sandals is currently testing the service with its employees, CEO Kenny Wilson said in an interview. The British launch is a pilot, with a view to expanding the service to continental Europe.
Even if the repair service displaces some demand as people opt for repairing their boots over buying a new pair, Wilson said the service would bring benefits overall.
"Could it potentially lose us some business short term? Yes, but we think about it long-term, therefore we think it will breed customer loyalty, and it's the right thing to do," he said.
"I get letters from people every week saying can I get my DMs repaired," he added.
Dr Martens is working with The Boot Repair Company in the northern English city of Leeds to offer repairs.
To replace worn-out soles on a pair of boots - a procedure that requires taking the whole boot apart - customers would pay £81 ($100.50), Wilson said, while other repairs would likely be less expensive. That compares with £169 ($209.68) for a new pair of Dr Martens 1460 boots.
Overall, Wilson said he sees a big opportunity in the second-hand market for Dr Martens, with the potential to grow to a tenth of group revenue. In May last year, the company launched a resale service with second-hand marketplace Depop.
Clothing and footwear brands around the world, including Zara and H&M, are seeking a toehold in the resale market as more sustainability-conscious young shoppers opt for second-hand over new.