Ethical Shopping

Looking for a Mother's Day gift? Why not buy them from a brand that transforms rescued materials into luxury goods

Elvis & Kresse is a vendor available on the Big Issue shop, which sources ethical and socially conscious products for all your needs.

Elvis & Kresse

The brand was founded in 2005. (Image: Zoë Law/Elvis & Kresse)

As part of our Meet the Maker series, we speak to the people behind the creations in the Big Issue Shop – a platform for buying ethical products which put people and the planet first. This time, we speak to Kresse Wesling CBE, co-founder of Elvis & Kresse.

What can we find on your part of the Big Issue shop?

A whole range of luxury goods made from rescued materials. 

How do your products make a positive difference in the world?

We do three things: rescue, transform and donate. We rescue materials that would otherwise go to landfill. Material reuse plays an absolutely crucial role in reducing our carbon footprint and delivering a circular economy.

By transforming these under-loved materials we are challenging everyone who comes in contact with us to rethink the whole concept of ‘waste’. And finally we donate 50% of our profits to charity. 

What inspired you to start your company and how did it start?

I fell in love with Duraline hoses the moment I saw them in 2005, piled up on a rooftop at a fire station in Croydon, awaiting an imminent and undignified death in landfill. 

Fire-hoses are decommissioned for one of two reasons, they either reach the 25-year end of their health and safety life or they are too damaged to repair. They either miraculously survive 25 years of active service, or they die trying. 

We weren’t entrepreneurs in search of an idea, we didn’t set out to make luxury accessories. We simply wanted to save the hose. We couldn’t let these lustrous, durable, life-saving coils of deep red nitrile rubber go. 

We started with a simple range of belts and slowly grew from there. Since 2005 we have rescued all of London’s decommissioned hoses and donated 50% of the profits to the Fire Fighters Charity.

These hoses are still working hard, long after their first life. Imagine that, hoses that were supposed to die in landfill are helping injured firefighters.

The company donates 50% of its profits from its fire-hose range to the Fire Fighters Charity, (Image: Elvis & Kresse)

What is the biggest issue everyone should know about at the moment?

Climate change and biodiversity loss – these two threats will impact everyone, everywhere and we need to come together globally, quickly, dramatically and lovingly to deliver a future where these two crises don’t progress.

What is one thing anyone can do to make a positive difference?

First, I don’t think that we can entirely make this about the individual. It is true that if everyone in the world stopped buying anything from companies that were degrading the environment or exploiting its people then things would change quite quickly.

But we need legislation to outlaw companies who behave this way. And we need governments to champion solutions, instead of pandering to the lowest common denominator definition of success (GDP).

Support our vendors this winter and beyond

If you can't visit your local vendor on a regular basis, then the next best way to support them is with a subscription to the Big Issue. As a social enterprise, we invest every penny we make back into the organisation. That means that with every subscription, we are supporting people in poverty to get back on their own two feet.
Vendor martin Hawes

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