Many exciting things can happen when there is initiative, determination and collaboration.
This is our story. Cape Union Mart Group was approached by Yes We Can, our NGO based in Cape Town. We wanted to know how we could work together. CUM donates promotional banners to Yes We Can on a regular basis. Our home-based seamstresses turned these banners, that would have gone into landfill sites, into new, special, original and eco-friendly products, like tote bags, travel bags, backpacks etc. CUM were impressed and Old Khaki commissioned us to make as many bags as possible from up-cycled denim jeans.
Again they loved our creations and supplied us with hundreds of pairs of pre-loved and new denim jeans that we turned into big bags that are now for sale in their stores nationwide from denim jeans no longer in use to big bags that could be used by anyone carrying a heavy load. Look out for the ‘MADE BETTER‘ label when doing your shopping! The proceeds from the sales will be given to YWC to invest back into the organisation! How awesome!
We are not only proud but chuffed that a big company such as Old Khaki recognised and encouraged our seamstresses in various communities such as Khayelitsha, Surrey Estate, Parklands and Brooklyn to produce goods of the highest quality such as demanded by them. The bags are for sale for R299 at Gateway, Pavillion, Midlands (Durban), Mall of Africa, East Gate (Gauteng), Walmer (Port Elizabeth), Menlyn (Pretoria) and Somerset West, Tygervalley and Canal Walk (Western Cape).
The job opportunities and the income generated by this venture is invaluable. Maria Magaya, one of the seamstresses said, “I can now finish the roof of my house with the income that I received.” Annah Kanduru was able to afford an industrial straight stitch sewing machine costing R3500,00. She can now present a very neatly finished and professional looking product with her new machine.
An excited Founder and Director of Yes We Can said, “We are over the moon and are looking forward to the CUM-Yes We Can partnership that this project has started. Happily, this is precisely what happened. In a humble gesture, Old Khaki placed “bins” in their stores and head offices and collected hundreds of pairs of pre-loved jeans from their staff and customers. Using these as well as their samples and denim that they used in their display windows, their marketing department approached us and asked if we could turn these jeans into bags. We jumped at the idea! It fitted perfectly into our mission to be eco-friendly and sustainable as much as we can', explained Mila Moreano.
"What a novel and everyone wins solution! An added huge bonus was that our seamstresses entered the digital world as they were compelled to communicate with the designers at Old Khaki via the digital platforms Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Patterns and cutting designs were shared. YWC seamstresses took on board suggestions and ways to improve the products from these highly skilled designers. We can now claim to be an organisation that is highly skilled and professional. We have learned so much and continue to do so! We hope that this collaboration between Yes We Can and Old Khaki will continue – the rewards are immense on so many levels", Mila celebrates.