Given that footwear is becoming less and less repaired, there was a need to expand his business operations so Željko Lepotinec included making keys, sharpening knives, butcher tools, scissors and blades. Handiwork is still the most important thing in his line of work. Being the only shoemaker in Dugo Selo, he’s pretty content with how the craft is doing.
When it comes to obtaining the materials, he mostly obtains it from Europe since the number of domestic supplier has been reduced.
“We live in a consumer society so footwear has become a commercial item, much like everything else. The footwear industry in Croatia has been experiencing a serious downturn during the last thirty years so footwear is now mostly imported from third countries. This footwear is mostly made of artificial leather and cheaper materials so in most cases there’s no point in trying to repair it. Furthermore, treating artificial materials is harder and more expensive”, Željko Lepotinec explains the situation with his shoemaking craft.
Our people’s purchasing power is decreasing so they turn to buying cheaper footwear and most of them buy it, wear it for a season or two and then discard it, which is why fewer people opt for repairing their footwear. He laments the fact the fewer young people opt for this scarce occupation and believes that the state could successful in helping generate interest in the shoemaking occupation among the young people by reducing red tape for crafts.