He went from police agency to a budding start-up, and then from an improvised basement workplace to 4,000 square meters of warehouse space, from a part-time job to Team Lead Logistics – anyone who has been involved from the very beginning, like the Badger, aka Sascha, has taken giant leaps in the space of just a few years as part of the rapid development of Wildling Shoes. In this interview, Sascha tells us what part of this journey has impacted him the most.
Your early days at Wildling Shoes: When did you join, and what was different at Wildling Shoes back then compared with now?
Badger: I started with a part-time position back in May 2016, which amounted to all of five hours a week, and that worked out great for the first six weeks. At the time, I was still a full-time police officer working shifts. I left that job on January 1, 2017, and have been working for Wildling Shoes full-time ever since. It wasn’t even really that long ago: Five years ago there were barely ten co-workers, and today we number over 250. Our warehouse space has grown from sixteen square meters in our basement to a 4,000-square-meter logistics center.
How would you explain what you do at Wildling Shoes to a ten-year-old kid?
Badger: That’s another thing that has really changed in the last few years. I started off packaging shoes and other Wildling Shoes products by myself and sending them out to customers. If customers didn’t like the items or they didn’t fit, I made sure they got their money back through customer service and that the items were put back up for sale. Today I have a team of over forty co-workers who ship shoes, handle returns, and do everything else that is involved in Wildling Shoes logistics; from handling the shipment that arrives every week from Portugal to arranging for the transport of our exhibition furniture and accompanying shoes and accessories to events like trade shows and pop-ups.
Why did you apply to Wildling Shoes?
Badger: Back when I started, there wasn’t even an application process. Anna and Ran are longtime friends of mine, and they were looking for someone to “manage the logistics.” The idea of working a side hustle from home appealed to me. It soon became a lot more than that, and I realized pretty quickly that it fulfilled me a lot more than my job with the police force.
What surprised you the most about Wildling Shoes?
Badger: Man, where do I start? So much has happened in the last five years. One of the biggest surprises, after being part of a government agency for 20 years, was that control can be replaced by trust.
Will you show us a picture of the place where you like to work the most?
Badger: Here’s a picture of our Wildling Shoes garden. It’s wonderful to be able to hold meetings there in the summer.
What are the things about your job that you wouldn’t want to do without?
Badger: Freedom, trust, and the importance and compatibility of family with work.
What’s your favorite wallpaper?
Badger: I have a very deep connection to Las Vegas. Since it’s very personal, I think it’s a bit too in-depth for this profile ;-)
Wildling Shoes team members from the very beginning
Wildling Shoes wouldn’t be Wildling Shoes without the people who bring values like environmental responsibility, fairness, and the pioneering spirit to life. Today there are around 280 employees – but who were among the first to lay the groundwork in a brand new, tiny start-up team? What was it like to help invent a new way of working back then, what has changed, and how do you manage to retain your own enthusiasm and sense of newness after all these years? In a series of interviews, Wildling Shoes’ earliest employees share their experiences and talk about how they’ve managed to keep their goals and values top of mind over the years as they’ve made their way at Wildling Shoes.
Cover image: private