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Clear out your closet for #TheStreetStore

Now here's an interesting concept - some of us are proper hoarders when it comes to our wardrobes, but here's an opportunity to give it all away to the homeless. It's called The Street Store, and it's happening Tuesday, 14 January 2014, in Green Point, Cape Town.
I chatted to the brains behind the idea - copywriter Kayli Levitan (@KayliVee) and art director and designer Maximilian Pazak (@Mr_Millian), both of M&C Saatchi Abel - about how it all came together, the goals of the project, and how anyone can host a Street Store (@TheStreetStore).

"What it started as was an idea that we had, just as a proactive thought. Max thought it would be amazing, and a really beautiful way to give by literally putting clothes through a poster. It kind of started this bigger idea which has grown since then," explained Levitan.

"And Kayli decided with what we have left, why don't we make it into a pop-up store made out of posters, then it kind of ran from there," added Pazak.

How it works

Clear out your closet for #TheStreetStore
Before we get into the nitty gritty, here's how it works: The Street Store team are setting up a pop-up store outside the Salesian Institute on Somerset Road, De Waterkant. Dubbed the "world's first rent-free, premises-free, free 'pop-up clothing store' for the poor", you'll find it's made up entirely of posters. You rock up with a bundle of clothes and shoes you know you're never going to wear again (if you haven't worn it in the last 12 months, take a deep breath and let it go), between 6.30am - 7pm on Tuesday, hang up your long-discarded wares, and the homeless help themselves.

So they came up with this unique concept, which M&C Saatchi Abel has taken on and is helping them with. The pair gave it a name: The Street Store, and next decided to find an organisation that needed help.

"We got into contact with The Haven who are across the road from our agency and we said to them, 'We'd really love to help you, we'd really like to spread the word about The Haven - can we link with you for this idea?' and they loved it. So we plan on doing a few for The Haven, but we've realised that it isn't just a uniquely Capetonian problem, or even a South African problem, we think this is something so much bigger. What our aim is, is to make the posters and the idea completely open source so that anyone from around the world can download the posters off our website and run a Street Store for themselves using any organisation," explained Levitan.

Street Store goals

The project has both short-term and long-term goals - short-term being to literally bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, providing an easy means for people to donate.

Clear out your closet for #TheStreetStore
"It's easy and simple and it's interactive so it's quite an interesting new experience, but it dignifies the receiving process for the poor - they don't feel like second-class citizens, they feel like someone who's going through a full shopping experience, and we wanted to give them the dignity of shopping. That's our immediate goal," explained Levitan.

In the long-term, they're making this project open source, so whether you're a salon owner in New Jersey or a school teacher in Macedonia, you too can host a Street Store in your neighbourhood helping organisations in your immediate vicinity. The project will also create awareness about organisations like The Haven, helping citizens to give more even when there isn't a Street Store.

How do you set up your own Street Store?

Download the artwork from the Street Store website, make sure you get council approval, perhaps approach some possible sponsors for printing etc., and Bob's pretty much your uncle. Levitan and Pazak plan on recording the first Street Store experience and making it public in order to help people understand what goes into the process.

"We're hoping to be doing one in Joburg in the next few weeks, seeing if we can get something going in Durban. And also, we've got a few organisations who've said that they want to host them - before we've even run the first one, there are other people who want to host one!" exclaimed an excited Levitan.

For more information on The Street Store, visit their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, or go to www.thestreetstore.org.
    
 

About Sindy Peters

Sindy Peters (@sindylp) is Group Head: Content at Bizcommunity.com. She can be reached at .
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