Charlotte Minko, founder of Eli & Lou, makes jewellery and accessories out of recycled items, including used soft drink and beer can pull rings, Nespresso coffee capsules and fabric offcuts.
The French mother-of-two got the idea of using recycled materials to make jewellery while visiting her in-laws in Germany a few years ago. She complimented her stylish mother-in-law’s jewellery, only to learn it was made out of Nespresso pods.
Intrigued, she decided to learn how to do the craft herself. When the family relocated to Ho Chi Minh City from Shanghai three years ago, she began searching for materials and equipment locally.
The recycled jewellery line is named after Charlotte’s two kids, three-year-old Elias and six-year-old Louisa, who help their mum clean the Nespresso pods and sort the colours.
Charlotte initially sold her Eli & Lou designs at local bazaars. “People loved it,” she said. “Sometimes I have to tell people what they’re made from because if you don’t focus on it, you don’t really see.”
As well as recycled items, Eli & Lou designs use leather, ribbon, charms and upcycled fabric. No two designs are the same, as everything is handmade and therefore unique.
Charlotte initially sourced used Nespresso pods solely from the Nespresso machine at Starlight Dental Clinic in Thao Dien, where she works part-time. But as more people learned about her crafty ways with the pods, they began giving her their used pods.
Now she sells her Eli & Lou brand, and Aziet Saigon, another line of buffalo horn jewellery, from her home showroom, which can be visited by appointment, and at:
The Closet, 81 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien, D2
Gift Box, 63 Thao Dien, Thao Dien, D2
My Little Showroom, 153/5 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien