With the increasing zero waste movement around the world, stainless steel straws are the most popular reusable straws currently on the market after plastic straws. Steel straws are dishwasher safe, makes cold beverages even colder and don’t harm the environment, unlike non-biodegradable plastic straws.
Meet Danielle Elsener, founder of DRAENK. Danielle combined her minimalistic jewelry designs with reusable straws to come up with something I’ve never heard or thought of. She created practical reusable straw necklaces.
Established in 2018, DRAENK aims for a sustainable and cleaner planet. We had a chance to learn more about the brand from the founder, Danielle Elsener. Here are her answers…
Can you tell a bit about yourself?
Dräenk is a small independently run company out of Portland, Oregon. We create reusable straw necklaces to help fight the plastic straw ban stylishly! Started by partners Danielle and Clayton in 2018, the Dräenk project started as a late night conversation about the banning of plastic straws around the globe and what our home base of Portland, Oregon was doing about it. Danielle is a zero waste fashion designer by trade and Clayton is an entrepreneur that makes locally forged carbon fiber products. Together we pulled together the resources and knowledge to kick off this new venture.
How did you come up with brands name DRAENK?
The name Dräenk started as kind of a joke, but it totally worked and we ran with it! Our first straw necklace prototype looked like an ankh hieroglyphic, and being the punny people we are, the name Dräenk was born.
What was the inspiration behind a reusable straw necklace?
The inspiration for the reusable straw necklace came from my frustration that I could never remember my reusable straw when I left the house. In frustration, I said that I wish I could just wear it around my neck, that way I won’t forget it. Clay and I were commenting on how it rather looks like a minimalist piece of jewelry that one could find at any shop around Portland, which is when we had our ah-hah moment! We went out and bought a soldering iron the next day and got to work.
How hygienic is it to carry a reusable straw around your neck in big cities?
Wearing a reusable straw around your neck is not only convenient and sleek but also clean. We also carry little pipe cleaners in our shop so that everyone can ensure they’re cleaning their straw properly! Through all of our experiments and wear testing, we’ve never run into a problem of hygiene. As long as after you are done drinking your beverage you tap your straw on a corner of your napkin, you’ll be good to go.
Did you work with any jewelry designers to develop your idea?
We did not collaborate with anyone for our first iteration of the Dräenk reusable straw necklace. Everything we do is made in house by either Clay or myself! We have some exciting upcoming projects that do feature collaborations with artists though, so keep your eyes peeled.
Are you planning to expand the collection of reusable straws with different designs?
Yes! We’re always developing new ideas to try to make the best product possible. Some of the most valuable feedback we’ve gotten is that our customers usually already have a reusable straw or two and can’t justify purchasing another. Our next iteration includes a device to turn any reusable straw into a necklace.
Global warming and plastic waste play a huge role in your brand. Are you hoping to raise awareness about the disadvantages of plastic straws for the planet?
Raising awareness is definitely one of the main reasons for us starting Dräenk. We’re both designers and thought about what we could do that would be thought-provoking, helpful, and somewhat humorous. Simply wearing a straw around my neck from the very first day found many people ask questions, starting conversations, chuckling a bit, and wanting to know more. We create our necklaces with the highest quality materials, including stainless steel and sterling silver, so while we want to raise awareness we also want to make sure our product will last a lifetime.
Do you have any future plans for DRAENK ?
Oh boy, do we have plans. The reception we’ve had since entering the world of Dräenk has been absolutely amazing and our friends and customers both have had a huge impact on us. We’re working on expanding to more countries and creating more product lines to include our wide range of customers. Keep your eyes open for new things on the horizon!!!