More and more people are conscious of the effects our lives on the planet, are interested in using materials more than once and cutting back on waste. For example, single use plastics are so hot in the news nowadays, and this can only be good for the environment.
If you or your loved ones fit into this category, then you may like to spread the word, in a subtle way. I know many people make their own wrapping paper out of brown paper and decorate it. But if you aren’t quite so artistic (me included!), but still want to do your bit, you may be interested in sourcing goods that are made from recycled materials.
One such company that you should check out is Elvis and Kresse. I have only recently come across them, but found out that they are based not far away from myself in Kent. They have a beautiful mill in Tonge, near Sittingbourne.
Formed in 2005 by Kresse Wesling MBE and James Henrit, when Canadian Wesling had a chance meeting with the London Fire Brigade. When she learnt that their fire hoses were sent to landfill when they had to be replaced, her interest in waste and recycling immediately thought that there must be a better use – a second life for these beautiful red hoses.
Having taken the hose back to her home, it was Henrit who came up with the idea of cutting a belt from it, after his broke. Soon after Wesling was contacted to see if she could help with a Live Earth concert, and she said she would sell belts carved from the fire hose. Henrit made 500 belts which they sold for £25 each.
It was September 2007 before they set up Elvis and Kresse (Elvis was Henrit’s nickname at university), selling belts on the fire brigade’s website, and well as their own, and also a store in Camden.
They soon decided that bags would become the best way to create a brand, and after numerous lengthy discussions with factories, they finally found one in Romania that would make their designs.
Deciding to donate 50% of their profits back to The Fire Fighters Charity was a great decision, not only supporting the people who worked with these hoses day in and day out, but proved to be a good business decision too. It is part of their story, their legacy.
They now work with other materials, including leather off cuts from manufacturers, parachute silk, auction banners and tea sacks. Wesling is the recycling brains, whilst Henrit provides the design flair.
But what goods do they sell? As well as belts and bags, they also supply wallets, notebooks, luggage tags, cufflinks and items for the home, including great leather rugs.
This is the Tooley Tote Mark 2 handbag, named after Tooley Street, where in 1861 a fire started that lasted 2 weeks. This led to the formation of the London Fire Brigade, so the name is a fitting tribute. With a single shoulder strap that enables you to wear over the shoulder or held down below, it also has a zip pocket on one side inside, with a double pouch pocket on the other side. As you can see, it also has an outside zip pocket.
The Post Bag is the ultimate party Bag, and comes with or without a shoulder strap. It comes in 3 colours – Classic Red, Rare Yellow, and a Print Room edition, where the main body of the bag is made with re-engineered printing blanket, which is strong and beautiful to the touch.
The Tate Bag is a collaboration with two heroes of waste reduction – Tara Button from BuyMeOnce and Kate Arnell of eco boost. Each lady chose the colours for one side of the Tate bag, and they selected the lining and trim together. So if you prefer something colourful and unique, the Tate bag may be the one for you.
If you are looking for a bag to take on weekends away, the Fire and Hide Duffel Bag is large enough and has plenty of pockets to hold all your essentials. It comes in black, tan, grey and blue/yellow.
The Soft Briefcase, in either black and yellow or black and red, is made from printing blankets, fire hose, and is lined with parachute silk. It has a pocket that will hold a 13″ laptop, and also room for documents and chargers. It can also be personalised with up to 20 characters.
Wallets and Purses
There is also a range of 3 purses for ladies.
There are belts for both men and women. My own personal favourite is shown below, the Print Room belt.
These are just a few of the options for you. I would really recommend clicking any of these pictures to take you through to the website, and see what is available. Maybe the
Custom Leather Rug or Candlestick Holders would make perfect home accessories? Or perhaps the Medium Washbag or iPad Case are on people’s Christmas list this year?
You can buy gift cards too, and they also hold workshops where you can learn the processes and make something to take home yourself. This would be a perfect gift – learn a skill, have an experience, and come home with something beautiful.
Finally, I leave you with a clip from my local BBC News War On Waste series, featuring Elvis and Kresse.