When Kresse Wesling heard that the London Fire Brigade’s decommissioned hoses were destined for landfill, it triggered an innovative business idea. The talented entrepreneur began turning them into lifestyle accessories in 2005 and hasn’t looked back.
Her company Elvis & Kresse is built on the idea that everything can be reinvigorated. Kresse’s vision is of a world without landfill, where all waste is recycled or composted.
We teamed up with Elvis & Kresse as part of 5by20 – our plan to empower five million female entrepreneurs worldwide by 2020. Our collaboration began in 2012 when The Coca Cola Company supported Elvis & Kresse to create a belt buckle made from bottle tops collected during the Olympic Torch Relay.
The money from sales of the Olympic Legacy belt goes towards Elvis & Kresse’s apprenticeship programme which sees the business taking on apprentices who may go on to work full-time as the business expands.
Elvis & Kresse’s first local apprentice, recruited in Bournemouth in 2013, had experienced alcohol dependency issues in the past and had just completed a recovery programme. The apprenticeship offered her structure, new skills and interaction with new people, and she has since enrolled at college and works as a mentor to young people in the area.
Kresse says the scheme has shown her that she can create a ripple effect – supporting just one woman might have a community-wide impact.
More about 5by20
We think that unleashing the entrepreneurial potential of women is one of the surest ways to make our business sustainable and to help communities prosper.
From mango farmers in Africa to artisans in Brazil, 5by20 aims to help women overcome the barriers to business success which they face. To do this, we’re providing access to training, financial resources and mentors.
For more information about 5by20, see our infographic.