It’s that time of year again when the festive decorations go up in shops and Mariah Carey emerges from her hibernation to fill the airways. For the last two years Ciovita have been releasing their annual Christmas Jersey to mark the beginning of the holidays. These limited-edition jerseys have proved a hit with our customers and provide an opportunity for us to embrace the spirit of the season by giving back to the community.
In the Northern Hemisphere where Christmas happens in mid-winter, Christmas Jerseys have become a part of the Christmas Tradition. These festive sweaters often feature bright colours and fun Christmas-themed illustrations such as Father Christmas, reindeer, stockings and trees. While these jerseys are a major hit overseas, in the Southern Hemisphere where our festive season happens over the summer months a thick, wool sweater isn’t exactly ideal.
This premise was the starting point for the idea of the annual Ciovita Christmas Jersey. We make jerseys too, but ours are designed for riding on your bike, the perfect summer activity. So in 2018 our designers set out to create the first Christmas Jersey, it was a whim - intended as something fun to roll out over the festive season. But when we saw the response in that first year, selling out in a few days we realised that this project could be so much more.
Christmas is a very positive time of year, it is the season of giving and celebration, but in South Africa it is also a stark reminder of the inequalities in our country. There are so many people who don't have the means to celebrate. So for our 2019 Jersey we decided to approach local charity The Bicycle Empowerment Network to see how we could leverage the sales of this jersey to help someone in need.
BEN Bikes are a charity who refurbish bicycles to give to people in need. This is a cause that is close to our hearts because we know the power bicycles have to change lives. When you consider how many children in South Africa have to walk long distances to school often through dangerous areas, something as simple as bicycle can have a massive impact on their lives opening up new opportunities for them. After meeting with BenBikes we committed to donate 1 bicycle for every 10 Christmas Jerseys sold. At the end of the promotion we were able to donate no less than ten bicycles to children in need across South Africa. Watch the video below to see one of the beneficiaries Milani receiving his bike.
As with any annual project the question becomes how do we outdo ourselves in the new year. We want the Ciovita Christmas Jersey to grow into an annual event where our customers can help us do more for individuals in need. So the first step was to design our 2020 Christmas Jersey. This year we will be expanding the charitable side of the project once again partnering with BENBikes and also with a charity that is very close to our brand Velokhaya. Velokhaya are a cycling based charity who supply bicycles and school supplies to underprivileged children as well as running a school feeding program that supports over 120 learners.
For 2020 we will be donating R200 from every jersey sold to these two charities. The contribution will be split equally, so the more jerseys we sell the more we can help those in need. And that's where you come in.
The simple truth is that the more our fans support us, the more we can give back, so to sweeten the deal this year we are partnering with Versus Socks. For every Christmas Jersey sold, customers will receive a free pair of matching socks valued at R135.