Since 1940 Botería Negreiros, a small family business, has been the leading equestrian and military made-to-measure bootmaker in Lima, Peru. Five years ago they decided to diversify their hand welted 100% genuine leather boots by making street footwear.
As a consultant, I worked on updating Botería Negreiros' brand image, improving order tracking and performance, and creating new ways to reach their customers during the summer off-season.
Why DID NEGREIROS NEED MY HELP?
STRENGTHS Reliable Product: Comfort + Durability Personalized Service: Made to Measure Timeless Designs Close Control Over Production Design Independence from Trends Increasing customer base
WEAKNESSES Poor efficiency and lack of performance metrics No consistency in leather quality from retail suppliers Retail purchase of materials Lack of accountability with customers Excessive product diversity Business at a loss during Summer off-season
OPPORTUNITIES Summer Shoe collection Standardized sizing stock production Domestic + International sales and shipping for loyal customers Collaborations with local designers and brands
THREATS Climate Change: Longer Summers and warmer Winters Rise in costs due to the devaluation of the peruvian Sol Varying seasonal workload jeopardizing good relationships with workers
3 steps: PRIORITIZing what I could do
1. Design an order tracking system to improve efficiency and accountability with customers
2. Create business for the Summer off-season
3. Generate a new distribution channel for domestic and international clients
1. Order Tracking
Orders at Botería Negreiros were basically spoken orders that had no physical form. In a made-to-measure business, with 10-20 custom orders a day during Winter boot season, figuring out what has already been made can become very confusing. And when things go wrong, there can't be any fingers pointed but to the fact that there is no order tracking system. After just a couple of weeks at Negreiros I realized communication was a critical issue in the efficiency of the production process, from taking a client's measurement to figuring out how much soling leather needed to be bought that week. So, I created a draft form with which anyone could obtain the key information needed during the production of a boot or shoe. The needs of Botería Negreiros are simple and, for the moment ($), can only remain as low-tech solutions. I went through different formats and level of detail of order customization before arriving at the final form. It included easy to understand and fill in key information starting with pointing out if the order was made to measure or stock, and ending with key checkpoint date input that allowed us to know exactly where in the process a pair of shoes was at and how long it took to make.
2. Summer Collection
Botería Negreiros had never had a Summer collection. They had once outsourced a selection of five sandals which did not match their design and quality standards, a decision made out of need to not have another summer season at a loss. My objective was to match Negreiros' timeless and "rugged" aesthetics with low and high heeled sandals that would be recognized by their loyal customers as a Negreiros shoe.
These sandals were produced in standardized sizes 34 through 41 and were available for customization in size and color for an extra fee. With comfort as one of our main differentials, we had special lasts made that were not only aesthetically pleasing but comfortable in width and height. We developed special heels and platforms to fit the lasts and provide a secure and rested step. The collection was a success. It provided all our shoemakers with work and allowed Betería Negreiros to become profitable during the summer months, something that had never happened. Our clients were excited to know they no longer needed to wait until winter to wear Negreiros shoes.
3. The online shop
Due to the increase in temperature in the desert climate of Lima, the demand of boots is decreasing. Each time the winter season becomes shorter and comes later in the year. Negreiros needed a way to expand its distribution channels and reach people within and outside Peru that live in colder climates.
Having that Negreiros already ships orders for clients nationally and internationally, it was only a matter of setting up an online shop so that our clients could reach us.
Due to the made-to-order nature of Negreiros' business model, it was important that the online shop had a tailor made experience. Each Negreiros design is unique, no two pairs are exactly the same shade of leather, made in the same color combination, pattern, or produced in all sizes. The concept had to be transparent with this delicate information, directly communicating Negreiros' exclusivity and high handcrafting quality. The shop needed to be a place to share the limited production stock as it came out of the workshop, each batch photographed individually vs a standard picture on a mass retail site.
For this, there would be two product sections to the shop, those freshly made pairs would go under "hot from the shop" and remain there for 15 days. Then they would later move on to the "still in stock" section. This way, customers would visit Botería Negreiros' site to check out what's new, and receive updates on any new additions to the collection.
To preserve the traditional personalized customer service that distinguishes the brand to the date, customers are invited to contact Negreiros directly with any requests of a model, color, or size they would want to have made.
To accompany the brand's development, the graphic image of Botería Negreiros needed an update.
Besides working towards these three objectives, my mission while at Botería Negreiros was to create healthy business and design habits for them. Being in charge of overhauling parts of the business I had to make sure these changes would last longer than my consultation with them and become permanent traits in their culture. I put together statute and directive documents for each of their processes, roles and responsibilities.