Tech Startup Weev wants to digitize the shoe design process, starting with your materials

For shoemakers, it’s a familiar sight: giant binders of leathers and fabric samples piling up in desks season after season. These books are an essential part of the design process, although they often provide few details – not even prices or minimum order quantities (MOQs), as these change frequently – and they cost material companies costs. millions of dollars to produce and ship, not to mention the environmental impact.

This is why Weev, a new technology company, strives to digitize materials in order to improve the design process of all shoe companies.

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“What drives people right now is sustainability, circularity, speed to market and transparency. These are the most important parts of construction products right now, ”said Joanne Stetson, CEO of Weev. “You’ve got to have all of these things in place, but how do you get them. It is by having all the information at your fingertips.

In early 2022, Weev is set to launch a new SaaS (software as a solution) platform, in which materials companies can upload digital images of their products. Searchable files will come with up-to-date details, such as pricing, MOQs, and specs, as well as lasting accreditations from organizations like the Leather Working Group.

The in-line concept was originally developed three years ago in Europe by manufacturer Wilhelm Mohlmann, who built the Hugo Boss shoes in Germany. “He knew it was going to be a digital world, that he was going to change,” Stetson said. “So he started using his own workflow to create everything. “

Although now operating under a new name, the company is still run by a team of footwear veterans with extensive industry experience. Stetson, for example, got his start at Esprit in the 1980s and worked in shoe production for several companies including Diesel, Birkenstock and more recently Ariat.

Stetson added, “What makes us different is that we are industry people. We have been in your shoes and we know the pain points. So we designed the technology with these needs in mind.

For launch, the Weev platform is being marketed to designers, developers, and materials managers, who can purchase an annual subscription per user for free. First-time adopters will be entitled to a discount.

Despite this focused approach, Stetson said the software is designed with the entire brand ecosystem in mind. “We really want this to be useful to the whole product creation department,” she said. “We want to make sure that there are valuable tools for the procurement department, for the planning department, for production. “

She noted that on the Weev platform, brands will have the ability to apply materials to their 3D designs, and for future versions, she will deploy more features for 3D and PLM users. products).

But she recognized that not everyone will be interested in a digital design process. “We know some people can’t make a decision without touching a material, and that’s okay,” Stetson said, adding that brands can communicate directly with their suppliers to order specific samples. “By using the platform, you can get samples that are really targeted to you. Instead of having a huge filing cabinet with everything, you can have a meaningful filing cabinet of the most valuable materials.

Also through the Weev site, brands can collaborate with suppliers by sharing information about their moodboards and technical requirements, in order to better guide future interactions and purchases. “The whole idea is basically to make suppliers smarter at what they do and give everyone a more productive experience,” Stetson said.

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Abdul J. Gaspar