Kultlaschen is an excellent example of how to create a small business out of very little. No special working space or equipment, no investment, no capital. Just raw material, in this case a rejected production batch of can openers that would have gone to waste.
But the main ingredient in this success story is the enthusiasm of a bunch of young students who have had the courage and initiative to put an original idea into practice.
Most projects begin with inspiration drawn from knowledge, information, interests, the need to create and many other stimulating elements in our environment.
What inspired the young people behind this project was a desire to promote a cleaner environment, to learn business skills and to create a profitable initiative that could also benefit other organisations through charity.
This is a multi-fold endeavour we are pleased to host on the Gallery as it is an outstanding example of how successfully waste can be transformed into art, “wearable art” in this case, from which many rewards are gained.
What KultLaschen has achieved is proof of the fact that up-cycling can be a most valuable didactic experience, the product of which carries a meaning and value far greater than its parts.
Enjoy this presentation and be inspired by the positive energy of this young, dynamic team.
Cristina v.d. Westhuyzen & Rainer Stegmann
- Kult Laschen – behind this name stands our unique team. We are a group of 14 pupils in Year 10 at Gymnasium Oberalster in Hamburg (Germany), who participated in a competition in Europe called the JUNIOR-project.
- The JUNIOR-project enables pupils to have an insight into the world of business and gain a wide variety of practical experience. As well as organizing the national competition between pupil-run companies, JUNIOR is also responsible for supervising the companies. If you would like to find out more, please take a look at the JUNIOR-project website. We all chose the subject “Business Studies”, because we liked the idea of founding our own company and also wanted to experience the way a business runs from the inside. That is why we are so ambitious to do our best and measure ourselves and our success against real companies.
- Our goal is for our product to be recognized as a high-class, premium-quality product. It was clear to us that this would be a big challenge, one which we would have to master as a highly committed team. The positions in our company were decided according to interest and ability. This ultimately proved to be a good decision. However we are not fixed to our own posts and try to support each other in whichever area is necessary at the time. This effective teamwork makes our team of 14 pupils from Hamburg special, because that is who we are – KultLaschen!
These stay-on tabs for beverage cans are faulty rejects produced by a European packaging company. They would be disposed of if not recycled. The tabs which exist in different colours, are threaded with colourful satin ribbons or leather straps, to make striking and elegant bracelets. We also make earrings from the tabs with small decorations like flowers and beads. A percentage of KultLaschen’s profits is donated to UNICEF.
“What makes our product unique is: flexibility and individuality, high quality and originality. We can produce the bracelets in different sizes and colours to fulfil the customers’ requests, using quality satin ribbons and up-cycled “stay-on-tabs”. Our bracelets are unique in Germany.
The quality of our product is the foundation for a good business relationship with our customers. It is for this reason that we pay special attention to detail. The production process lies mostly in the hands of the production team, led by the head of production. However, the production team is also supported by the rest of the company, especially when it comes to preparing the “stay-on-tabs””
A successful business concept
The success achieved by KultLaschen in the first year of activities has guaranteed its continuity in the world of business. The fourteen-staff company presently runs a retail stall in Northern Germany's largest shopping centre, an online shop and it has appeared in many newspapers, among them the business section of the daily newspaper “Hamburger Abendblatt”.
In KultLaschen, entrepeneurship and up-cycling have been combined into a successful formula. As product manager Catriona Butchart puts it, what we can learn from this initiative is that “the principle of up-cycling is simple but ingenious. We can make money with a non useable waste item and later even a fashionable product comes out”.
From the sale of each bracelet sold in our stall in the Alster Valley shopping centre, 2 Euros are donated to the international charity organization UNICEF. Leon Ahmadi, the Deputy CEO of this successful enterprise says "Precisely because we are so young, it was a desire to help other young people who have no comparable opportunities”.
A further donation of 300 Euros was given to a project in Ecuador that promotes better conditions for child labour and education. The commitment showed by KultLaschen to engage in a recycling activity and to give back to the less privileged in society has been awarded an important prize in a national competition.