Q&A with Kresse Wesling MBE, Co-Founder & Director of Elvis & Kresse
Q: What makes you stand out?
A: Our choices. Our materials. Reclamation is at the core of what we do. Elvis & Kresse turn waste materials into useful, beautiful bags, belts, wallets, rugs. They started with decommissioned fire hoses, some as old as 30 years. Their work is all about honouring the hoses for the lives they’ve saved. Given that the material is designed to withstand the harshest of environments, similarly Elvis & Kresse designs transcend seasons; they can be worn throughout the year, every year. Kresse would be the first to say that no one will need to buy two of their belts. Ultimately the Elvis & Kesse mission is about changing people’s perceptions of waste, restoring value to reclaimed materials. 50% of profits from the fire hose range of accessories are donated to The Fire Fighters Charity.
Q: Why do you care?
A: I think if you watch the news, you have to care. The world simply isn’t good enough as it is. We focussed on a small problem we thought we could fix, as the business grows we simply focus on larger problems. This is what entrepreneurship should be about, finding and solving the problems that match your skills and abilities.
Q: Is being responsible good for business?
A: It is the only way to do business. We are out of time to work in any other way. Positive intent and potential for positive impact should be pre-requisites for start-ups. Not only do we turn a profit and create employment for 11 people, we have also diverted hundreds of tonnes of material from landfill and donated over £50,000 to a number of different charities. Any success we have comes from solving problems.
Q: Has the business changed you?
A: Yes, it changes everything. The tiniest bit of success prompts truly outlandish ambition to do more, and to be better.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Our materials were going to landfill; they were problems. Every day we get to work on fixing them, every night I know that something got done, some small part of a problem was solved. Even on the worst days, we know that we were part of the solution.
Q: Plans for the future?
A: We already work with more than 10 different reclaimed materials but we plan to grow, to rescue more, and to be better. Everyday we find something new, or are approached by potential material partners. Over the years we have developed a map, highlighting some of the most interesting wastes in the UK. We look forward to being able to truly explore this map as we grow.