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Aaniyah Omardien

Sealand Gear

Getting to know our friends at Sealand Gear

By | Partners | No Comments

Mike Schlebach and Jasper Eales are both board members for The Beach Co-op. We feel very honoured to have them as part of our team – caring for our planet and particularly for our oceans drives their hearts and souls. We look forward to discovering new paths and ways of working together with them to encourage a community of people that cares for our planet and each other.

We caught up with them and had time to ask them a few questions to understand what drives their business and to get an idea of where they are heading.

We love the Sealand Gear brand and what it represents. Why did you start the brand and what does it mean to you?

We knew that there was high quality waste materials out there that has nowhere to go other than a dump site. We also knew that that we have a huge unemployment problem in SA so when we combined the two issues and added Jasper and Mike’s individual expertise and passions we knew we could create something special. Now that the ball is rolling, we rest easier at night knowing that we are doing our best for the planet and for the people of this magnificent country.

What was the first thing you made under the brand? How many products do you sell now?

We started with a simple range of bags and accessories we knew were popular styles. Probably around 10 different styles all up to start which has now morphed into around 20 bags styles with some added periphery products like apparel.

What are the challenges associated with using “second-hand” materials? How do you overcome them?

The thought of paying top dollar for a waste material product has been quite difficult for most people in SA to get their heads around. Couple that with an extremely time consuming and difficult manufacture process and you get a business model that is not for the faint at heart. We are overcoming these issues by educating our customers on the environmental benefits of buying and using up these waste materials and by also putting out a high quality product that lasts a lifetime. By offering a lifetime warrantee on our bags it gives people comfort in knowing that they are not buying a waste product that will fall apart.

How do you balance the need to make a profit with environmental concerns?

We are a for profit business but we look at ourselves as an environmental social business. We are also a low volume high, margin business which means that because we hand make our products one at a time, we need to fetch good margin on each product we sell. We also pay our people more or less double the going wage which all factors into our costs and therefor our selling points. By default we are an environmental business but when you factor in all the facts around what our business is and stands for, it is not difficult to see that we are not in it for the cash.

Is the local and international market receptive to eco-products and responsible consumerism? Are there any particular challenges or opportunities to marketing eco-brands?

Yes for sure. The international market, especially in the Western or 1st world countries has and is supporting brands like ours more and more. The third world also has to get onboard ASAP as our natural world is under huge pressure on every level so if we don’t all club together, who knows how long we have got.

We love the beach cleanup bags you have made for The Beach Co-op. Are you selling them and, if yes, where can people buy them?

We also love the beach clean up bags as it gives us an opportunity to upcycle certain materials that are specifically good for that type of bag. We are going to start selling them early next year(end of January) and they will be available on both the Sealand and Beach Co-op websites with all proceeds going to the Beach Co-op.

What is next for Sealand Gear?

There is soo much good stuff in the pipeline but most exciting is a new 90m2 store that we are opening at the Waterfront in January 2019.. With this store finally comes the opportunity to showcase our full collection and gives us a great opportunity to show the world what we are really all about and to tell our story.

The Man from One Horse Town

By | Events, Talks | No Comments

This past Sunday Endless Daze Festival and The Beach Co-op hosted a beach cleanup at Mouille Point. The Beach Co-op goes beyond just cleaning the beach, they also collect data and use a methodology called the Dirty Dozen which was developed by Prof Peter Ryan Director of the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology at the University of Cape Town. These are the top 12 most commonly found items found on our South African beaches. By logging the top 12 beach cleaners become more aware of the problem and how they can change their behaviour by refusing single-use plastic, like straws. On Sunday 50 people cleaned a 600m stretch of beach and we found 1582 straws – top of our Dirty Dozen finds, followed by 976 individual sweet wrappers and then 960 cool drink lids.

It was great to see some of the musicians that will be performing at the Festival at the cleanup! This beach cleanup was part of the lead up to the Festival which takes place over the first weekend in November. The Festival will begin with a beach cleanup at Silwerstroom and we are also working with the Endless Daze team on a journey towards greater awareness and reduction of our impact on the environment.

We chatted with Simon Berndt, one of the directors of Psych Night, and the talented hand behind the poster designs.

When did you start drawing and what made you realise that you would want to become a professional illustrator?

I started drawing from a very young age. I had wonderful parents who allowed me to draw on the walls of our house and I’d often spend days drawing epic scenes on large pieces of paper layed on the floor of our living room. My father was a fantastic illustrator in his own right and I’d often make requests of him and the intently watch him draw and bring the scenes I’d imagined to life. I did art through school and then went on to study Graphic Design at CPUT. At the time I’d imagined myself being a graphic designer but while studying came to realize that there was a growing market for illustrators and shifted the focus of my studies in that direction. Once I graduated I started working under the name One Horse Town Illustration Studio with a friend and since 2010 have been doing it on my own.

Your style is unique and seems quite old school or 70s. In the planning and completion of a design, how much is done by hand vs. digitally?

My process usually starts with some research and very rough sketches. I then usually take these further with some Google image referencing or take photos on my phone. I’ll do some basic layouts across Photoshop and illustrator, collaging elements together to get the feel I’m after. I’ll then usually print these out and work over them on a light box bringing the idea to life before going back into Illustrator to complete the final artwork. My work is definitely partially inspired by 60’s and 70’s graphics, from music posters to graphic novels. I also love the Art Nouveau and Deco eras, while I’m often equally inspired by the work of contemporary illustrators and poster artists across a vast range of styles.

What made you choose to work on this particular project with The Beach Co-op? And what inspires you when you work on these projects?

I’ve been working on Beach Co-op posters via my connection with Endless Daze Festival and as one of the Directors of Psych Night. The festival has this year partnered with the Beach Co-op to limit our footprint and create more environmental awareness through the clean ups and an enhanced waste plan at the festival herself. Our festival takes place at such a beautiful coastal location, Silwerstroom Resort on the West Coast and it forms a big part of what gives the festival its unique energy and vibe. We want to foster awareness with our festival-goers to value these rare and magical spaces across the country, to be conscious of the space in which we celebrate and enjoy the Festivities.

We’ve decided to print the beach clean up posters using the Riso Printer at Dream Press. It prints with vegetable ink that is safely biodegradable and we’ve always used echo friendly recycled paper. The printer has inspired the art direction, where I’ve created collaged images using found imagery in homage to how many designers started using office Riso Printers in the 70s and 80s to cheaply produce posters for punk gigs and zines. It’s been quite different to my usual style and art direction but I’ve had a lot of fun with the experimentation.

Keep your eyes peeled for the next Wavescape Surf and Ocean Festival poster designed by One Horse Town!

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TIDAL - A documentary featuring Lisa Beasley


By | Screenings | No Comments

We are so excited about the release of this documentary – take a deep breath – it will only be out on the 26th October and to a closed audience…but we are working on screening it to a broader audience, so stay tuned.

The documentary follows Lisa Beasley’s journey after a horrific accident encourages her to return to the ocean. Reigniting her love for the ocean, Lisa becomes a guardian of the marine life in the tidal pools – and as she saves the life in the ocean, the ocean aids in her recovery. It is in these tidal pools that Aaniyah Omardien and Lisa meet for the first time. At the time, Aaniyah is way too pregnant to keep lying on her belly to paddle and surf her local break at Muizenberg, and so she begins snorkeling and free diving with Lisa. It is winter but that does not hold them back, the pool is full of life and wonder… but as summer arrives, that same life comes under threat. Together with many other passionate people Aaniyah and Lisa work with the City of Cape Town to protect the wonderful marine life in these pools.

We look forward to sharing Lisa’s story with you – she is an inspiration and we are stoked to have her on our team!

The documentary forms part of the UCT Honours students’ final project for their year studying documentary film production. This particular documentary is shot and edited by Michael Carter, directed by Trygve Heide and produced by Leila Kidson. For more information and updates on the film head over to @tidalfilm on Instagram and Facebook.

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Spring Cleaning 2018 with The Beach Co-op

Spring Cleaning 2018

By | Cleanups | No Comments

We began International Coastal Cleanup month with TWO cleanups on the 1st day of Spring – here’s to a month of spring cleaning!

The ‘Clean Diver’ cleanup was a combined beach and harbour cleanup at Kalk Bay harbour. You could either join the dive team to collect marine debris in the harbour or you could join the team cleaning the beach. There were many organisations that participated in this cleanup – Sea the bigger picture, Cape Town Free Diving, Save our Seas Foundation, UCT underwater club and TrailFreedivers. Thank you to everyone that helped! The Dirty Dozen methodology was used on the beach and the top item was 589 individual sweet wrappers.

The ‘Spring Clean’ cleanup was organised by Surf 4 Trash at Kreefte Bay on our west coast. Sunset surf shop, West Coast Boardriders, Rosebank Brewing Company and Ocean Pledge were all involved in this cleanup. Again, the Dirty Dozen methodology was used and 807 individual sweet wrappers was the top item logged.

It is clear that we should be refusing individually wrapped sweets, and telling restaurants that we no longer want them offered at the end of our meals. Sweets can be served from a dispenser if hygiene is a concern.

There is a line-up of beach cleanup events happening this month – check our calendar if you would like to participate. Special thanks to Sealand Gear for providing us with beach cleanup bags, and Kurobo charcoal for our water dispenser to keep us hydrated.

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International Coastal Cleanup Month - The Beach Co-op

September is International Coastal Cleanup Month

By | Cleanups | No Comments

The Beach Co-op is excited about the upcoming International Coastal Cleanup month in which volunteers around the world will clean beaches. Most groups and organisations will focus on facilitating their beach cleanups on the 15th September, which is the official International Coastal Cleanup day. The Beach Co-op will be running multiple cleanups throughout the month.

We have several groups and organisations that have registered to cleanup our South African coastline using The Beach Co-op’s Dirty Dozen methodology. That means that they will be recording the top 12 most commonly found items on our coastline. This helps us identify the source of marine litter and better understand how we can manage our waste and what items we should try and avoid buying. We can then make our voices heard regarding unnecessary packaging and help to create a demand for products to be redesigned with a circular economy in mind as opposed to them ending up in landfill or on our beaches. The Dirty Dozen methodology was developed by Professor Peter Ryan from the University of Cape Town who has been surveying our coastline for more than 20 years.

If you would like to find out more about this methodology and how you could get involved please get in touch with us or download the information pack.

We look forward to receiving your data and building on our South African database of information related to single-use plastic to inform better waste management and ultimately a cleaner environment for all of us.

Download info pack here
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