Elvis and Kresse
This entry has been selected as a finalist in the
Ben & Jerry's: Join Our Core & Scoop For Change competition.
Elvis & Kresse creates stunning life-style accessories by re-engineering seemingly useless wastes. The raw material for their principal range is genuine de-commissioned British fire brigade hoses, which after a distinguished career fighting fires and saving lives were otherwise destined for landfill. 50% of profits from Elvis & Kresse’s fire-hose line are donated to the Fire Fighters Charity.
Elvis & Kresse have been working with British wastes since 2005 and more than 10 waste streams are used to create their range of bags, belts and wallets. They are constantly searching for more materials to reclaim and have saved over 150 tonnes from landfill. The advantage of vintage materials is that each handcrafted piece has a unique narrative and is a one-of-a-kind. Elvis & Kresse focus on classic, timeless design and quality craftsmanship, which means their accessories are made to last for as long as the materials they reclaim.
Approximately 100 million tonnes of waste goes to landfill every year in the UK alone. We want to have as big an impact as possible on changing society’s perspective of waste and proving that it is actually a valuable resource. This is why we are keen to learn as much as we can from Ben & Jerry’s… we want to do for waste what Ben & Jerry’s has done for ice cream!
A propos de vous
The competition is only open to people between 18-34 years-old and resident in UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark or the Netherlands. Does this apply to you
Country of residence of entrepreneur
Tell us about your personal background. Why are you passionate about this issue? Making an idea a reality takes innovation, dedication and strong leadership. Do you have the necessary entrepreneurial skills to realize your vision?
I am a committed environmental entrepreneur, I think revolutionary sustainable business models are the best chance we have of fast, lasting change. Waste has always been a passion, my favourite Saturday as a child was heading to the dump with my dad and even still I love to troll recycling centres, sewage treatment plants and the like. I think we need to disinvent waste and that is what our model is all about. We have been reclaiming hose since 2005 and the business is completely financed by sales, we are debt and share holder free. We have a strong track record and are poised to scale significantly in the coming years.
A propos de votre organisation
Elvis & Kresse
Royaume Uni, DOR, Poole
Pays dans lesquels ce projet crée un impact social
Royaume Uni, XX, Across the UK and beyond
Votre organisation est-elle une
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Le besoin : quel problème tentez-vous de résoudre ?
In the UK alone 100 million tonnes of waste goes to landfill each year, the vast majority of this material could be recycled if enough entrepreneurs/businesses were engaged with reclamation. 40% of UK household waste is food and other compostables - this simply shouldn't end up in landfill, not when it could become nutrient rich topsoil!
La solution: quelle solution proposez-vous ? Soyez précis !
We reclaim niche, traditionally non-recyclable wastes. These materials would otherwise go to landfill. We feel that each waste stream has the potential to live forever if it receives enough attention, innovation and love. We design products from the wastes, always considering the best use of the material, and a market with an appropriate size to SOLVE this waste problem. Our first waste was the decommissioned fire hose from the London Fire Brigade. As the material is very durable, and leather-like, we immediately thought of accessories, equally, there is enough fire hose waste, globally, annually, to build a luxury accessories brand. We have now solved the waste problem for London and Brigades across the UK. Elvis & Kresse also donates 50% of its profits to charities associated with its waste. 50% of profits from the fire hose line go to the Fire Fighters Charity.
Le système : décrivez un exemple spécifique montrant de quelle façon votre initiative fonctionne ; indiquez vos principales activités.
Elvis & Kresse also collects coffee sacks, lots of coffee sacks. Approximately 6 million of these come into the UK each year and they do not get re-used, the vast majority end up in landfill. In order to deal with the huge volume of this waste we needed a strong retail partner. We have worked with Sainsbury's for over 2 years by supplying them with a strong, reusable shopper, made in the UK from the reclaimed sacks. Over 100,000 shoppers have been sold. We also donate 50% of our profits from this line, to programs in developing countries for coffee growers, pickers and their families. This line of products is made at a UK factory which creates employment for people with disabilities. We also keep the scrap or off-cuts that are a result of making these bags and our factory has set up a line to transform this waste (the waste from our waste) into a biomass briquette, a renewable fuel!
Le marché : qui sont vos collègues et vos concurrents ? Identifiez les autres personnes qui travaillent à répondre au même besoin et indiquez ce qui vous différencie d'elles. Comment ces concurrents pourraient-ils influencer votre réussite ou votre croissance ?
E&K competitors are diverse:
·Upcycling brands, Freitag
·Vegan brands, Matt&Nat
·Mid-Range brands, similar price points, Diesel
·Luxury brands, similar quality, Paul Smith and Mulberry
Bridging this gap is evidence of uniqueness, we are the only upcycling brand to meet the demands of vegetarians, sell at mid-range prices while delivering quality normally preserved for Gucci.
E&K also benefits from stakeholder engagement maintained by our continued donations. Including:
-Customer Base: There are 30,000 active fire service personnel in the UK who receive E&K updates via Fire Fighters Charity (FFC) newsletters and fire brigade websites
-PR Support: the brigades and the FFC regularly provide PR for E&K
-Raw Material Security: Donations ensure exclusive access to our materials
Select the stage that best applies to your business
Operating for 1-5 years
This Entry is about (Issues)
What is the social impact you have had to date and how you measure it?
We have 2 key impacts, saving waste from landfill and making donations to charities and causes associated with our wastes. We measure the waste by weighing what we reclaim (we have now reclaimed over 150 tonnes) and by tracking our donations. We have donated over £15,000 to date to charities including the Fire Fighters Charity (our fire hose range), the Costa Coffee Foundation (our coffee shopper project), and Help for Heroes (we use faulty parachute silk to line our fire hose bags).
What barriers might hinder the success of your business? How do you plan to overcome them?
• Team: We are currently over-reliant on the two directors, E&K need to flesh out the team.
• Evolution: The brand needs to develop beyond its environmental base, longevity as a design team will only come with continued focus on design and quality.
• Market: E&K operate in more than one market, as markets are defined by the parameters of each waste they take on. Covering different markets requires a broader range of expertise, which we are seeking out. This barrier also has its benefits, it means we are less dependent on a single market, or a single group of buyers.
How does your model address financial, social, and environmental sustainability?
We are completely financially independent and have been profitable since our second year. We have a broad base of distributors, including our own growing online store. Our waste and charity partners are also incredibly helpful, sharing their retail, press and other contacts in the same spirit of generosity with which we share our profits with them. The reclamation, innovation, donation model ensures that the core of our brand will always be rescuing waste, it will always be about the environment, but it is designed to help us give back, build stakeholder relationships, and foster a real community spirit around the brand. Giving back helps us grow.
Awareness & learning
How do you see social entrepreneurship contributing to the improvement of developing countries?
Social entrepreneurship has the potential to improve all countries. What we know from our own experience is how powerful a small business can quickly become if it builds a community of stakeholders around it, and actively engages this community in the central goal of the business. As social enterprises exist to solve social or environmental problems the power of these communities and networks is always going to be positive, helpful, and designed to make things better for people and planet. Although the specific problems faced by developing countries are different, the social enterprise model, when it is specifically designed to solve a local problem and is run and managed locally, will always be an incredible force for good.
What aspects of your stay in Uganda as part of the competition do you think you will find most challenging and rewarding?
I love new places and ideas, having never been to Africa I can imagine the most challenging element will be leaving. We know there are incredible waste and environmental challenges specific to Africa but have also read about and met many African entrepreneurs who are tackling these issues head on. It will be truly unique to see, first hand, these local solutions. I am sure there ideas in Uganda that we can learn from and apply in the UK and ideas that we can share. For me the best part will be meeting and learning from the local families, farms and the social enterprise vanilla business.