We met Max Pienaar at the ever bustling and delicious Corner Cafe in Glenwood, greeted graciously as ever by Mr Judd Campbell
and our conversation began at coffee. Surprise, surprise :)
"You know the thing with cafes and coffee culture, is that it doesn't matter if you're ordering a latte or a double espresso, it's about the experience, about sharing something."
The seed for Savior Brand Co.
began with a game of football. It was a game of football that changed Max's perspective.
A team of orphans from St Theresa'a Children's Home came to play and their enthusiasm and sheer joy at being alive and making the most of the situation, as he says "broke his heart." Why did it break his heart? Because in these children he saw endless possibility and complete despair.
Max felt compelled to get in touch with these kids. He found them and started to spend some time at the home and help out where he could.
He began to see a need for the kids turning 18, who were unable to stay at the homes because government funding ends as they become an 'adult', and at the most delicate stage of life, when you're making huge decisions about your future, their support system was pulled from under them. Max was determined to do something about this, in whatever small way he could.
A self-professed child of the 80's, with an illustrious career in the fashion industry travelling the world, it only seemed fitting that the way he decided to help was through his trade.
Along with a group of people from his church and after a dream from close friend, Laurie Holmes
, he started Savior Brand Co. crafting fine leather goods and upskilling young orphans in the leather trade in the process. He began with a few Apple accessories, being a complete Apple fanatic himself, and has since branched out to wallets, bags, belts; it's fashion with a social conscience and we love it.
The name Savior (note the American spelling, a clever talking point) has very pointedly religious meaning and also carries the hope that by buying Savior products, you are becoming a saviour in your own right, helping one orphan at a time. And while the anchor might be fashionable now, the meaning goes much deeper than that, as Max believes that Jesus is his anchor.
The latest recipient of the goodwill of the brand is Lucky. An extremely talented young man from Durban Children's Home on Lena Arends Road, who dreamed of becoming an architect. This dream is currently becoming a reality. His tuition has been paid through sales of merchandise and donations. If you want to help with his living expenses and varsity supplies, click on the link below, you stand a chance of winning a beautiful bag and other goodies.
Savior is an after work endeavour for Max, so the pieces are exclusive, but you can place your order for any of their fine goods online. They are also available monthly at the i heart market.
As Max says, they're in the business of "generating dreams".
The mission statement of this, the extension of Savior Brand Co. is:
"(SMLV +18), exists to enable the next generation of leaders in our nation. It is our mission, our purpose, and our passion. We place parentless young adults into a familial, structured environment, a home, where they can receive unconditional love, spiritual discipleship, nurturing and level guidance. All their physical, emotional and spiritual needs are met as young adults."
It was inspirational meeting Max and hearing his story over a cup of coffee. He's all about collaboration and we're very excited for future collaborations with him and Savior Brand Co.