Small Business of the YearBack to Winners
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After a chance encounter with London Fire Brigade, Kresse Wesling discovered the city’s damaged, unused hoses were going to landfill. Elvis & Kresse was launched, transforming industrial waste into stylish lifestyle products and returning 50% of profits to charity. The company now transforms 12 different waste streams into luxury bags, purses, belts and other items.
A five year partnership with Burberry Foundation was driven by 800,000 tonnes of leather discarded by the designer brand annually.
With just eight staff, Elvis & Kresse has managed to become one of the first certified B Corporations in the UK, recognised for its high standard of social and environmental performance. Turnover is expected to hit £750,000 this year and reach £2m by 2020-21.
Customers can co-create their own end products with the help of an app developed by the company.
Working on the website development has paid off – online sales more than doubling over the past two years.
Co-founder, Kresse Wesling said: “We celebrate the amount of waste we can reclaim, the donations we can give back, the number of apprentices we train and the new material innovations we can establish.”
All packaging is made from reused materials, items are repaired for life and the building runs on renewable energy. Ms Wesling is also on the board of Keep Britain Tidy and annual donations are made to The Fire Fighters Charity.
The Tonge Mill building was restored by Elvis & Kresse using mostly reclaimed items. The pair hope to continue promoting sustainability and develop additional partnerships, growing their Kent team and expanding into the UK market.