Kresse Wesling: setting the environmental bar high.

Retail Insider, in partnership with Novomind, held its latest ‘Zoom Cocktail Hour’ with Kresse Wesling, co-founder of Elvis & Kresse, who is disrupting the luxury goods industry while saving waste materials from landfill.

She relayed the story of her discovery of end-of-life fire hoses heading onto the waste pile and sought to turn them into desirable products. Elvis & Kresse was founded in 2005 as a producer of luxury items including belts and bags from these unwanted hoses.

The company has since expanded to include a broader range of products developed from a growing list of waste materials including leather off-cuts, tea and coffee sacks, as well as parachute silk. Not only does Kresse achieve her aim of saving these materials, and giving 50% of profits to charitable causes (related to the waste materials), but she also gets to prod and shove the luxury goods industry towards changing its ingrained, and wasteful practices.

Watch some of Kresse’s insights here.

Senior executives from the likes of Rank Group, Ribble Cycles, JML, Barclays and Lucky Saint heard how Kresse has abandoned normal business practices with Elvis & Kresse in not having any target customers, not being driven by sales and profits metrics, and building a business not for empire but purely for positive impact.

The company is also in the unusual position of having 100% of its costs related to labour so it can pay its artisans fairly, which is in contrast to the typical situation where 50% of costs are related to raw materials.

She also told the senior retail executives on the Zoom call how the plan is to shortly move to a new site – a 17 acre farm that will provide the business with the space to pursue its R&D initiatives. This will involve further collaboration with universities where Kresse says there is incredible expertise that can be tapped into when Elvis & Kresse pays lab costs and funds PhD students on mutually beneficial projects.

Retail Insider would very much like to thank Kresse Wesling for sharing her experiences and insights and also to Novomind for its much valued support of this latest series of Retail Insider Zoom Cocktail Hours.

For details of the Cocktail Hour events please click here.

Glynn Davis, editor, Retail Insider