The Street Store is the world’s first rent-free, premises-free, pop-up charity store, giving away clothes to the poor, mahala. This pop-up is made of posters on the sidewalk, and runs entirely on donations. It’s pretty simple: you bring clothes and shoes you don’t wear, and the homeless help themselves.
The first Street Store happens today, at 2 Somerset Road, De Waterkant (outside the Salesian Institute), from 06h30 – 19h00. We stopped by to chat to Kayli Levitan, a copywriter from M&C Saatchi Abel and one of the organisers of The Street Store.
Here’s what she said, and what today’s store looks like:
Who’s the team behind The Street Store?
Art director and designer, Max Pazak, and copywriter, Kayli Vee Levitan, from M&C Saatchi Abel.
What’s the concept behind The Street Store, and what inspired it? How did you come up with the idea?
Working in Greenpoint, we often see homeless people, and we wanted to do something to help – but it’s tough. Where do you take donations, and who gets them? We needed a middle ground. Somewhere easy to donate and easy to receive. So we took to the street with nothing but a couple of posters.
It makes it easy to make donations as it is hosted in a public area, but it also dignifies the receiving process. Instead of feeling like they’re having old clothing thrown at them, the homeless get to have a full shopping experience. They can browse through the clothes, we’ll help them find an outfit they like, it’s wrapped up and off they go.
After working through the idea with The Haven, we realized that homelessness and poverty isn’t a uniquely Capetonian problem. It isn’t even just a South African problem. It’s world-wide. So we asked The Haven if they would mind if we made the concept of the store completely open-source. And they agreed! So now anyone, from any city around the world can host a Street Store.
How does The Street Store work?
We have created a series of 5 posters that make up the entire store.
People making donations literally hang their clothes through a gap in the poster, and drop their shoes onto our specially designed flat boxes.
The homeless can then come and browse through the clothes, and help themselves.
Who came up with the idea of using posters, who designed them?
Max thought that using posters to hang clothing would be a really great way to promote an organization like The Haven. But what we realized was that instead of just showing people the posters, to really create and inspire change we needed them to engage with them. That is how the world’s first rent-free, premises-free, free “pop-up clothing store” for the poor was created.
How can people get involved?
Well, come visit us today between 6:30am and 7pm. Bring clothes, shoes, ties or anything! Tweet us, Facebook us, share the love so we can grow The Street Store as much as possible.
If you’d like to host your own street store, just log on to www.thestreetstore.org and download the artwork and files, get approval from city council, and start making a difference! We are also happy to help out with any extra info you may need to get started.
When is the next street store?
We are working on stores around South Africa and internationally. This is a learning curve for us. And so far, the experience has been amazing!
Check out the Facebook Event here for details on today’s store.