Conscious Entrepreneurship: May I introduce Kevin Shelhamer

Kevin Shelhamer is the Founder of Rescue Plastics, where he removes plastics from waterways and transforms it into high-performance fabric for active and leisure wear clothing.

The majority of Kevin’s career has been in advertising and marketing and he considers himself fortunate to have worked with global brands and learned about what makes them not only well known, but well loved. The relationships he has made and continue to make on her journey are at the center of every good career outcome.

So, it’s no surprise that Rescue Plastics was born after connecting with someone who had similar interests and a shared passion around trying to address some of the environmental problems that we face globally. With combined backgrounds in the apparel industry and in marketing…frankly they just decided to do something that they were both passionate about and create Rescue Plastics. Out of the gate, they are focused on athleisure wear, but the concept has unlimited potential to extend across product lines. They are driven to create products that support people’s desire to look good, feel good, and do good.

CONSCIOUS ENTREPRENEURSHIP — What meaning do you give this term?

Entrepreneurship is mindset, a way of approaching and creating opportunities. Consciousness should be baked in. For me, conscious entrepreneurship is my desire — and hopefully our collective desire — to leave the world in a better place than we found it by solving relevant problems that make people’s lives better.

CAREER — What led you to your particular career path?

I marvel at people who always knew they wanted to be a physician, a firefighter, etc. I never had a singular focus like that. It has felt destabilizing at times but the older I get I realize that for me, doing great work and creating value is what matters most. Getting there has been a process. The ability to learn, evolve and begin again were not easy lessons but are some of the most important. Luckily, I’ve worked alongside smart, disciplined, curious people who led by example. Of course, I learned business, operational, and foundational lessons but resilience and passion were the real takeaways. Rescue Plastics is an extension of all that. It is grounded in what matters most to me personally and professionally.

TO THRIVE — When you see yourself thriving: Do you see yourself opening up opportunities for others along the way to participate in your success, and how?

In a word, absolutely! We are grounded in our mission — look good, feel good, do good — and the choices we make as we build our business and our team reflect that. We know that a diverse and equitable workplace is a happier, healthier workplace so being intentional about DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) is key to our growth and central to creating a business where people want to work, are empowered to contribute, and are given permission to lead and push the boundaries of what’s possible both professionally and personally.

THE FUTURE — How do you see the face of entrepreneurship in 5 years? How do companies /brands need to adapt to secure their place in the future?

Without question COVID has wreaked havoc but, it has also fueled entrepreneurship in a lot of positive ways. Large companies are called to rethink legacy systems, processes, and the layers of people involved. How we shop, what we wear, how we work, what we do for fun have all shifted. And the change will continue. Entrepreneurial traits such as being nimble, adaptable, open to risk, are incredibly valuable and relevant. Some businesses are grappling with those changes and some are embracing them. There are tremendous opportunities to develop services, technology, and products that support our ‘new normal’ and hopefully, improve people’s lives and our world in the process.

ADVICE — What kind of advice would you like to give to an aspiring entrepreneur who feels limited due to their background or lack of resources?

I’d say that no one has all the answers, regardless of background, education, or resources — so just embrace that from the get-go. Being uncertain and uncomfortable are part of the ride. If everyone in your orbit looks like you, thinks like you, and works like you — your world is too small and too limiting. Surround yourself with people with different points of view who not only inspire you but challenge you. And remember, no one believes in what you are doing more than you.

THANK YOU!

Follow Rescue Plastics on Instagram.

Demee Koch about the MEDIUM interview series on CONSCIOUS ENTREPRENEURSHIP:

Conscious entrepreneurship for me is about building a sustainable business that values and respects the resources used and makes an effort of giving back to society.

I believe we need entrepreneurs to really get involved in the causes close to their heart.

This is why I reach out to entrepreneurs that aim for more than generating profit. With this interview, I aim to share entrepreneurial purpose-led passion to inspire others.

Looking forward to learn from you. Reach out to me via LinkedIn.
Demee ❤︎

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