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Tiffany Montgomery
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Behind Volcom's Give Jeans a Chance

By Tiffany Montgomery
January 18, 2011 6:00 AM

 

I was talking to D. Nachnani of Coastal Edge who told me about how his stores approached Volcom’s Give Jeans a Chance campaign that I thought was worth sharing.

 

I also talked with Floris Gierman, Volcom’s Senior Director of Retail Marketing, about how the overall program turned out and plans for the 2011 campaign.

 

Volcom Skid rowHanding out jeans on Skid Row in Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of Volcom.

 

Give Jeans a Chance collects used jeans from shoppers at local stores around the world and donates them to homeless shelters.

 

Volcom brainstormed the idea for the program after launching a campaign to recycle boardshorts a few years ago. About 30 different retailers collected approximately 1,500 used boardshorts. Those boardshorts were then donated to those in need in Nicaragua, Floris said.

 

Floris had already been working with some homeless shelters, and learned that the homeless need clean jeans without holes to keep warm in winter months.

 

In 2009, about 80 to 100 stores mostly in the U.S. and Canada got involved. And while the program was successful, the collection happened in November and December, which was a bit late because cold weather had already set in.

 

Jeans in Puerto RicoThe program in Puerto Rico.

 

So in 2010, Volcom started earlier so the jeans could get in the hands of those living on the streets earlier. They timed the drive to the back to school season when kids are cleaning out their closets.

 

Volcom provided donation boxes to 300 retailers in 12 countries, along with information about the program, flyers for customers, a window poster, and stickers, hats and buttons.

 

Schools, churches and even Best Buy asked to be a part of it, Floris said. In all, 13,000 pairs of jeans were collected around the world. Volcom Japan, for instance, collected 1,638 pairs in 16 participating stores.

 

See Page 2 for how Coastal Edge supercharged the campaign in Virginia Beach

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