Cheryl Hunter (shelflife at’s weekly pick of all things new — product, packaging, design, insight, food, décor and more!

  • 500th Street Store to be hosted by Cape Town
  • Swimma caps making waves
  • Virgin Active’s new look

Store for the homeless a global success

A truly insightful idea will often take on a life of its own and that’s precisely what has happened with The Street Store — the world’s only popup clothing store for the homeless — which has donated more than 1.2m items of clothing globally and holds its 500th store this weekend in Cape Town, its city of origin.

Launched in 2014 as an initiative of M&C Saatchi Abel for its client, The Haven Night Shelter, which cares for the homeless, The Street Store concept was born of a desire to not only drive clothing donations and generate awareness but also ensure future, continued donations. It’s described as the world’s first rent-free, premises-free, free “popup clothing store” for the homeless. Found entirely on the street and stocked by donations, it allows the homeless to regain their dignity by giving them freedom of choice.

Explains Kayli Vee Levitan, creative group head at M&C Saatchi Abel, “My co-founder, Max Pazak and I, were standing on our office balcony in Green Point; a hip and trendy area, where you find a lot of homeless people. We saw how the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ cross one another’s paths on the streets, but never really meet. The ‘haves’ fear the homeless, and get frustrated with their begging. This dehumanises the homeless, which makes them feel even more comfortable with begging, as they begin to see the haves as pockets, rather than people. This vicious cycle of dehumanisation separates these two worlds.”

The creative team realised they needed to bring the “haves” and “have-nots” together to break through deep-set social stereotypes while making donating easy and receiving dignified: “And what better a place to do so then on the street that they share?

“But because homelessness is international, we went open source. Anyone can log on to our website, take the pledge and host a Street Store in their community. Five hundred stores have popped up in over 190 cities, with an estimated 1.25m items of clothing donated to date.”

The 500th Street Store will take place on Sunday, 25 September 2016, outside the Salesian Institute at 2 Somerset Road Green Point, 10:30am–3pm. Join in — hang up your clothing donations and help those in need.


Going swimmingly

Another astute idea, this time from a frustrated mother, has surpassed the creator’s expectations and generated massive interest, resulting in a brand-new entrepreneurial business opportunity.

The idea was born of Nomvuyo Treffers’ frustration at not being able to find a swimming cap that fitted her hair: “Aside from the fact that in some pools it is compulsory to wear a swimming cap, my girls kept asking me to swim or play splash games in the pool and I would agree but knew that I would regret getting my hair wet. I tried finding a swim cap big enough for my dreadlocks but caps that are considered ‘large’ at stores, only fit half of my hair and those who have dreads will know how long they take to dry.”

Swimma extra-large swimming caps have been designed to fit all hair types — dreadlocks, braids, hair extensions and high-volume hairstyles. Treffers approached manufacturers with her requirements and decided to not only make it available for herself but for others, too: “We ended up with the two sizes we currently offer which [will] fit almost any length and thickness of hair. We selected a slightly thicker silicone for durability as well.”

Treffers is marketing the caps herself and sales are currently through her online shop only.


Virgin getting brand active

Virgin Active has unveiled a new logo, which positions the Virgin brand name more prominently, as the first step in a rebranding that will launch on digital platforms and above-the-line advertising in January 2017.

Virgin Active launched in 1998; the South African operations were founded in 2001. Since then, it has become a global health-club operator with over 1.4m members and almost 250 clubs spanning four continents and 10 countries.

The first appearances of the redesigned logo in SA will be at the new Collection Clubs, opening soon in the Silo District at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront, and at Menlyn Maine in Pretoria.

Says Tim Carter, brand director of the Virgin Active Group, “We are revolutionising our brand, as well as recognising the Virgin values that sit at the heart of our business. We’ll soon start to extend our revamped identity into new territories and across all existing channels. It’s the next step in our growth, with a lot more surprises to come.



Cheryl HunterShelf Life is’s weekly column covering all things new. Notify us of yours at shelflife at marklives dot com. Want to sponsor Shelf Life? Contact us here.

Cheryl Hunter (@cherylhunter) has written for the South African media, marketing and advertising industries for more than 15 years. A former editor of M&M in Independent Newspapers and contributor to Bizcommunity, AdFocus, AdReview and the Ad Annual, she has also produced for various television networks and currently consults on communication strategy and media liaison.

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