Love Stock Hate Waste interview: Elvis & Kresse
As part of our Love Stock Hate Waste petition, we’re interviewing some of the brilliant CEOs who have taken our pledge to never purposefully destroy stock. Whilst many retailers are trashing new, unsold goods for the sake of profits, these brands are taking a stand against waste.
For our first Love Stock Hate Waste interview, we thought it fitting to speak to Elvis & Kresse. Their luxurious accessories are made from a variety of waste materials, from decommissioned fire hoses to leather offcuts. Founder Kresse Wesling was among the first to make our pledge - and it’s easy to see why.
What are your thoughts on wasted stock in retail?
I suppose we just aren't thinking things through. Consequences and collateral damage seem to be missing from the 'growth mindset' that is pervasive in retail, whether it be for food or fashion. We lack a plan.
50% of food is wasted, but it doesn't have to be - it could be preserved, or at least it could be composted, returning those nutrients to the ground. The only reason we have waste in retail is because the planet and its people are subsidising the profit, and companies are not 'paying' for the damage.
What are the main challenges for you as a business owner?
We don't have wasted stock. We never have. We make in very small batches and we celebrate selling out - it’s a victory for us. It means the waste we set out to rescue and transform has been rescued and transformed!
The challenge this throws up is relationship-based. We can't always meet the demands of our customers and this poses marketing challenges too - we can't over-promote when we can't deliver.
Why did you sign the Love Stock Hate Waste Pledge?
Because it should be the law!
What does your company do to avoid wasted stock?
Small batch production in our own facilities. We make little and often, and we constantly change our production schedule to meet demand.
What's your one tip for other retailers?
Is there anything you'd like to see from the government on this?
Legislation. Isn't it odd that we tax employment, but not carbon emissions? Imagine if companies were taxed according to the damage they cause, and waste is damage.
One of the most famous 'innovations' by the fast food giant starting with an M was single-use packaging. It allowed them to serve more people, more quickly, and avoid the need to buy or employ dishwashers - and all this waste is off their books. Yes, they might have a few bins on site, but what happens to the drive-thru waste? It goes in public bins, residential bins, or on the highway.
What gives you hope for the future?
Evidence from the past that things can change, and that the will of committed people, particularly when they collaborate, can achieve what was previously thought to be impossible.
Browse the Elvis & Kresse collection of recycled accessories here.
Have you signed our Change.org petition yet? If you think retailers should donate their stock instead of destroying it, we urge you to take a stand by sharing our petition with friends and family.
Are you a business owner or CEO who wants to make the pledge? You can do so here instantly.