Topic: Sustainable Social Entrepreneurship: Creating a Cycle of Success
Monday, October 7, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. in the College Theatre
Social entrepreneur Kohl Crecelius and his team of close friends, Travis, Stewart, and Adam, are on a mission to revolutionize what it means to do business and to do good. As college students in 2007, they founded Krochet Kids intl. (KKi) – a non-profit lifestyle brand focused on empowering communities and engaging customers to make a sustainable impact on global poverty. KKi is a leader in producing and selling products made in Africa.
Featured in Bloomberg Businessweek, KKi employs more than 100 people in Northern Uganda through the production of their handmade headwear and fashion accessories and have recently started a new program in Peru. Now spanning three continents, their work connects the producer with the customer through a hand-signed label that accompanies every product.
Crecelius' older brother taught him how to crochet in high school, and soon, he began teaching his friends to make hats. Dubbed the "Krochet Kids" by their local newspaper in Spokane, Washington, the friends began selling hats in their hometown for a little spending money. He never imagined the hobby would blossom into a global movement.
Inspired by Stewart's summer trip to Uganda during college, the trio decided to teach the simple skill of crocheting to displaced Ugandan women. Crecelius and friends envisioned that the women could sell hats they made to provide for themselves, releasing them from the bondage of government camps and history of rebel rule in their country. Today, through this simple skill, the women can provide for their families, and ultimately, through micro-financing opportunities enabled by KKi, they can gain economic independence.
Krochet Kids have been featured in the New York Times Magazine, Outside, and in a nationally broadcast Bing commercial and have partnerships with major retailers like Nordstrom and Volcom.
KKi’s mission is to provide quality, handmade products that not only bring comfort and style, but serve as a vehicle for social change. Believing actions rooted in love produce powerful and lasting change, they strive to help people improve their lives physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Their slogan of, "Buy a hat. Change a Life," embodies the difference we can all make through a simple act.
Yes, Kohl does still crochet. He also has a variety of other interests that keep him grounded, including surfing, skateboarding, and blogging. You can usually find him wearing a KKi beanie and occasionally sporting a mustache.