Names: Kelly and Kari Britton
Title: Co-Founders of CURE Cincinnati
Why we love them: Their creative reuse business, CURE Cincinnati, accepts donations of all shapes and sizes in order to keep scrap materials out of landfills. These twin sisters never turn down the opportunity to turn trash into treasure and they want to inspire the rest of Cincinnati to do the same.
For twin sisters Kelly and Kari Britton, the urge to reduce, reuse and upcycle runs in the family. Growing up, their grandmother was constantly finding ways to reuse newspaper and Styrofoam, and their mother owned a craft store, so art supplies and inspiration were always on hand.
“We’ve always been thrifty people,” Kelly says. “Our grandmother is the ultimate upcycling queen. … We have to completely give all credit for our thrift addiction to her.”
And while they have been upcycling their entire lives, it wasn’t until Kelly returned home after a trip to San Francisco that they realized they could turn their hobby into something bigger.
“When I was in California, my friend took me to SCRAP (Scrounger’s Center for Reusable Art Parts), a creative reuse center,” Kelly says. “I fell in love with the idea of combining my closet with other people’s supply closets to create a creative reuse center for Cincinnati.”
“We want to teach people that there’s more to this than recycling their aluminum cans or newspaper,” Kelly adds.
CURE — Creative Use of Recycled Elements — was the result (curecincinnati.com). The mission of CURE is to stimulate artistic innovation and environmental awareness through the reuse of materials that would be traditionally discarded as waste.
“It’s a step toward a greener, more sustainable city,” Kari says. “It’s a creative way to eliminate waste, and gives us a chance to help others not just live more creatively, but more sustainably.”
Since they still hold full-time jobs and run their homegrown upcycling movement out of their apartments, Kelly and Kari are content with CURE being a work in progress — for now.
Eventually, they plan to find a brick-and-mortar location where creatives can source materials and work on projects together, but their current focus is spreading the word about their cause. As the concept continues to evolve — often from the trunks of their cars — the sisters are focused on providing materials to Cincinnatians by way of Findlay Market, The City Flea and local craft shows and art festivals.
How do you define passion? How is passion different than love?
Kelly: Passion is ignition while love is admiration. I think they go hand in hand, but love sparks the passion needed to fuel innovation. Passion is what drives ideas and the desire to accomplish them.
Kari: Passion is the wave of excitement, the butterflies in your stomach, and the pure happiness and determination to accomplish whatever it is you are passionate about.
What do you love about Cincinnati?
Kari: I was born in Cincinnati, have moved away multiple times and always return — I have learned that I truly love this city. The multitude of creative inspiration is amazing. I love the skyline. I love the city in the spring, summer, fall … but winter is rough. I love all of the little communities spread around the city, each with their own style and character.
What is the best lesson life has taught you about love?
Kelly: Love everything and be open. If you always do what you have always done, then you will always get what you have always gotten, so be open-minded.
Kari: A big lesson for me is to love what you love and don’t listen to anyone else on the matter. Not everyone is going to love the same things you do, but that doesn’t mean you are wrong or should change.
What is a phrase or motto you live your life by?
Kelly: “Live in the moment because it is all you are ever guaranteed.”
Kari: Simplistic and vague, but it works for everything: “Be better.”