Garbage To Grandness
In our line of work we watch the circular economy news closely and as a result we get to see sustainable innovation at its finest. We never tire of seeing individuals, groups and corporations create profits from ideas that not only don’t exploit people or the planet, but actually provide benefit to both. This article is about one such company.
Elvis & Kresse turns decommissioned fire hoses into sustainably and ethically made luxury accessories,. If that isn’t good enough it donates half of its profits to support renewable energy and women’s empowerment projects, as well as firefighters in need. I read about Elvis and Kresse in this article featured on causeartist.com, a website dedicated to shining a light on social enterprises, that is the people and companies making a difference in the world.
Every moment of reading this circular economy news article filled me with joy and one day I’d love to purchase one of their amazing products. Apart from being great looking and practical, they are made from a super-tough material that I’d expect to last a lifetime, perhaps longer. That pretty much ticks every box I have to before making a purchase.
- Elvis and Kresse’ products, which include bags, wallets, belts, notebooks or laptop cases, are designed with a zero waste ethos in mind. This means their production processes leave no scraps behind, involve only upcycled materials, and use packaging made out of reclaimed fabric.
- Through a chance encounter in 2005, Elvis & Kresse founders James Henrit (aka ‘Elvis’) and Kresse Wesling, realized that every year, between 3 to 10 tons of fire hoses are destined for the landfill in London.
- Despite no previous experience in fashion, the former design consultant and venture capitalist duo spent two years prototyping what products reclaimed fire hoses could be repurposed into, and created conscious sartorial brand Elvis & Kresse.
- When asked what sets Elvis & Kresse apart in a world defined by consumerism, fast fashion and increasing greenwashing practices, Wesling explained their definition of sustainability: “For us, if it doesn’t make the world better for other people’s grandchildren, then it isn’t sustainable.”
Top tips for aspiring social entrepreneurs
Think backwards. Don’t start with an idea, start with a problem. We face unprecedented environmental challenges: we have lost 30 percent of our bees, and by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the oceans, much of it too small to see or capture. If you want to run a truly rewarding, impact-driven business, choose one of these challenges.
Be entirely sustainable. This encompasses environmental, social and financial aspects, the latter because positive cashflow means you won’t have to compromise on your solution. Just because you are a purpose-driven social enterprise – that exists to do good – doesn’t mean you will be immune to wider economic issues.
If a business decision is bad for other people’s grandchildren, don’t make it. Period. This is something we talk through with Elvis every time. The world doesn’t have time for exploitative, destructive businesses. Those days are gone.
The last word…
I wonder what we’ll make? For those of you who don’t know, we moved into our new Morningside location at 506 Lytton Rd just before Easter (2020). We can’t wait to run a Retail Rescue sale day, a Circular Economy Futures Meetup or even a smaller World’s Biggest Garage Sale event. In a special announcement, our own circular economy news is that we are dedicating part of the building to being a makerspace. Between ourselves, other businesses and individuals and some strategic partnerships, we expect to be producing, or more to the point repurposing goods, from that space within weeks. Watch this space…