This morning I went to the Hospice Wits Shop in Orange Grove Johannesburg, as they opened their doors for an exciting occasion. For the period of around three weeks an inspiring concept was run at Sandton City, whereby the public were encouraged to shop…but in reverse. Rather than going into the store to purchase clothes, they were going in to drop them off.
The Empty Shop is a charitable concept which was developed and introduced in São Paulo, Brazil and in 2013 they set a record of collecting an impressive 3,2 tons of donated clothing. But what is the Empty Shop? The Empty Shop is a designer space which is constructed purely for the period of collection, and allows the general public to bring in their “previously loved” clothing, shoes and accessories to be donated to the store. Once the clothing arrives, a team of designers take the items and style the store, dressing the mannequins and constructing displays throughout the day so that it looks like a high-end retail clothing store. At the end of the day though, they clear it all out and all donations from that day get added to the stock. The next day they start all over, with an Empty Shop, from scratch (see their YouTube video here).
The concept being that the shop is only stocked if the public open their hearts and contribute. The more they share, the more grandiose the shop looks. At the end of the collection period, everything The Empty Shop has collected gets donated to the charity of choice to aide those in need.
Having been invited to the opening event, donated items and now been to the Hospice store itself, I have been blown away by the giving nature of South Africans. We (South Africa) managed to surpass the record set in Brazil and The Sandton City Empty Shop collected a staggering 4,027.82kg of donated clothing. That’s over four tons of Jozi’s generosity.
“Thank you to all Sandton City customers and tenants, and celebrities, who helped set this movement into motion to bring fashion and charity together. We look forward to an even bigger and better campaign in 2015,” says Julie Hillary, General Manager: Sandton City and Nelson Mandela Square.
So what happens to all the donations? Well everything collected has been taken to the Hospice Wits Shop in Orange Grove (Corner of Louis Both Avenue and 9th Street). From this store the donations will be sold to raise funds to allow Hospice to do all the amazing work they do for the community.
HospiceWits provides care, comfort and support to patients diagnosed with life-limiting illnesses such as cancer, HIV/Aids, organ failure and advanced neurological illness. Through a multi-disciplinary team that includes doctors, psychologists, spiritual counsellors, home care nurses and social workers, HospiceWits goes beyond the management of pain and symptoms of its patients by ensuring that all emotional, spiritual and psychosocial needs of patients and their families are also addressed. HospiceWits’ home-care team carries out more than 10,500 patient visits per annum and the balance of care is provided through in-patient admission units in Houghton and Soweto.
The Collection Period in Sandton City took place from the 28th of October until the 16th of November 2014, and the stock has officially been released into the store as of this morning (26 November 2014). This is a huge feather in the cap of the South African public, and specifically to Sandton City and McCann Johannesburg. Congratulation, on this stunning concept, and I look forward to seeing this as an annual occurrence on our calendar.
“We are honoured to have been selected by Sandton City as the beneficiary of this exciting global CSI initiative. We urge South Africans to embrace The Empty Shop campaign and remember what you wear can change someone else’s life,” says Joy Ruwodo, HospiceWits’s marketing manager.
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