The Frank team recently discovered the Danish footwear brand glerups and it was love at first slipper. Not only can their felt shoes be worn all year round, but they’re also made from sustainable wool and the brand repurposes its leftover materials into stylish home accessories. We spoke to their Head of Marketing, Christina Flindt Bjerg Albæk, about what makes glerups so great.
Christina, we love our glerups! They are very comfy and they look and feel gorgeous. What do you believe makes your shoes and slippers unique?
We believe that our beginning was crucial and that’s what makes glerups unique. At the start, we had no idea about how to make slippers.
Nanny Glerup had wool from her Gotland sheep here in Denmark and she wanted to use the wool.
In the early days, her drive was based on being self-sufficient. She did some research and found out that she could learn to felt on a local felting course and she made a pair of slippers for her husband Ove.
She moulded the shoe upper directly on his feet and it resulted in our snug fit. At glerups we say that when something is made with love for another, everybody can feel it.
Why is wool felt such a great material for shoes and slippers?
Wool is a natural material and there are so many great benefits to using 100% pure natural wool. The sheep are outside in all kinds of weather.
Many people use wool to keep warm, but wool can also help keep the body cool. That’s because wool absorbs moisture without feeling damp.
We have spent more than 30 years developing the best wool mix for our glerups and by felting the wool we can produce slippers that live up to our standards and requirements.
And it is important that we deliver a durable and high-quality product.
Can you tell us more about your sustainable ethos? Why is this so important to you?
The DNA that made Nanny and Ove start glerups is still at its heart. A respect for nature, animals and humans before it was popular to do so and before glerups was founded.
For them it was about a natural way of living, making sure that the next generation could have a good life, and passing on these values on.
Our energy consumption is environmentally highly balanced and we invest continuously in solar panels and renewable energy solutions, to make sure our carbon footprint is as low as is technically possible.
We always strive to extend and develop our level of circular implementations of energy and resource consumption. Our goal is to always go above the standards and beyond.
What inspires the lovely, subtle colours in your range?
We find inspiration in the beautiful nature close to us and we develop new colours when it makes sense to us. Our colours have been part of our collection for a long time.
We only use certified low-impact dyes and we use a process with GOTS-certified metal-free reactive dyes.
How do you ensure your wool farmers adhere to the highest standards of animal welfare?
It’s all about passion and personal relationships and partnerships. We visit our farmers and talk about passion, wool and innovation.
We have worked for many years with ZQ in New Zealand and our Danish farmers are part of the Danish Gotland Sheep Society – a society where Ove Glerup was one of the founders.
Funny fact – they called him the Gotfather!
As a family business, how much has the company grown since you started? And how do you maintain your shoes’ quality and craftsmanship as the business expands?
Glerups started as a hobby with two pairs a day and today we produce over 500.000 pairs a year.
We are a global company with our head office in Denmark, offices in the USA and New Zealand and our factory in Romania.
More than 100 people are a part of our team and then we have partners and retailers worldwide. We have our own factory – we believe this is important to make sure that we maintain our high standards.
Strong and loyal partnerships are also very important to us.
You are committed to zero waste. Can you tell us more about Project Zero Waste you have developed with sustainable designers Lübech Living? How did that come about?
With our DNA it is normal for us to use our waste and we have done this for many years. Our colour samples, for example, are made of leftovers from our production.
Over a cup of coffee at Lübech Living, we talked about sustainability. We said we would love to do more with our leftovers and that we had several ideas for retail and collaboration.
Susanne from Lübech Living was immediately inspired and saw many design possibilities. We decided to create a professional collaboration.
Are glerups involved in the design side?
Yes, we make them for Lübech Living in our factory and we are involved in the product development. They make the designs and some are existing ideas that have been developed further.
We are working closely together. The range now includes stunning plant holders, wine coolers, placemats and coasters, as well as ornaments and decorations.
Where can readers buy the Project Zero Waste range?
Lübech Living are selling the products on their website at https://lubechlivingshop.com/ and they have retailers worldwide.
What’s your favourite glerups shoe and why?
My favourite for wearing at home is a slip-on with a leather sole in grey. And when I am on the road, travelling or on photoshoots, I bring my boots in charcoal with a natural rubber sole in honey.
They are my favourite because they easily come on and off so I can change from indoor to outdoor shoes when I have my hands full.
All members of my family love their glerups. At present my daughter has boots in petrol and my son has shoes in forest.
When I met my husband he said, “I don’t wear slippers“ but now he wears them indoors and outside!
To find out more about their interiors head over to Lubech Living