In collaboration with the start-up fashion label "Grubenhelden", thyssenkrupp Steel has developed a social business model and launched the brand august & alfred. This is a genuine upcycling process: New items of clothing are produced from old smelter coats that were used as personal protective equipment in the steel production process.

Behind the brand is a #topteam with members from a wide variety of areas at the smelter: for example, Tobi, the IT guy who otherwise develops apps and runs agile labs. And Anna, who takes care of business development in sales in her "normal" professional life. Or Vera, together with her colleagues from the inclusion workshop. And many others from a variety of disciplines who are important for such a "start-up". The #topteam tells us in this interview how august & alfred became a success story.

What have you achieved as a team? 

"As a diverse team, we have developed an inclusive, sustainable business model and set ourselves two goals.  

Firstly, we are in the black with our business model and are self-financing. We have already achieved this in the first year with a total turnover of a ¼ million euros. So we don't need any subsidies or donations. We have thus provided even former critics with an unbeatable argument.  

Secondly, and the real purpose of the project: By manufacturing products outside the range of services offered by our inclusion workshops, we increase awareness and appreciation for our employees. In addition, we encourage their creativity as well as personal responsibility. We have created an employee brand which symbolizes our steel company in a lively and diverse way." 

With august & alfred, we are allowed to move forward with the whole theme of inclusion and also lead it into change.

Frederik Hoffmann
Leiter Inklusion

How did you achieve this together?  

"We thought about it as a team: What is the story behind august & alfred? The answer was obvious to us: the person behind the brand. The person who produces the products in the inclusion workshop. And we put this person in the spotlight.  

Because august & alfred is made by employees who used to work in the steel mill and are now employed in thyssenkrupp Steel's social workshops due to personal turning points. This is also how our slogan came about: "Passion to carry on". This means: To carry on one's own passion, to continue despite setbacks and to pass on knowledge as well as attitude to the next generation of employees.  

august & alfred is an authentic employee brand. That's why many non-thyssenkrupplers also identify with our label. We often hear: 'My father or mother was also at Thyssen or Krupp. What you do is great.' We're just one big steel town family. And we get that message across." 

What does your performance mean for thyssenkrupp?  

"The august & alfred success story stands for an innovative form of value creation and appreciation of performance-transformed employees. Inclusion plays a central role in our brand identity, the fashion pieces stand for change, diversity and solidarity in the region. We were already in the black in the fourth month after sales started, and part of the proceeds will be used for further social business ideas." 


Congratulations to the #topteam of thyssenkrupp Steel Europe for this great achievement! 

Are you also part of a #topteam? Then send us an email. We look forward to celebrating your successes together! 

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