A shoe-cleaning company for high-end sneaker heads could say the people who benefit most from its services are those for whom a brand new pair of kicks are out of reach.
South Auckland man Christian Prescott was an apprentice plumber with an entrepreneurial spirit when he created his first business Sneaker Clean at 19 years old.
Out of that business evolved Clean For A Cause, a charity that collects and donates preloved shoes to kids in need.
At the moment the team at his Māngere warehouse is preparing for a grand donation event, which will see hundreds of detailed luxury brand sneakers gifted to the tamariki of Auckland.
The apprentice plumber also worked part-time in a Timberlands store, which is where Prescott recognised a gap in the market for a shoe-cleaning service. It wasn’t long before he was handling the ‘‘investment’’ shoes of some clientele worth thousands of dollars.
However, when Covid hit Prescott’s South Auckland community he knew he needed to step up and the Clean For A Cause initiative was born.
Wanting to use his skills to help his community, Prescott knew there were children going to school without shoes and realised that through his company he could make a difference. He thinks Clean For A Cause not only helps out children but takes pressure off their parents as well.
Giving donated shoes a premium clean and repackaging them in custom-made shoeboxes, the organisation is also gifting confidence to children, Prescott says.
“We all love the feeling of opening a fresh new box of shoes. But for some kids, our boxes will be the very first ‘new’ pair they’ve ever received.”
Surprisingly not every pair donated gets to go home with kids. Shoes are categorised into four “tiers” with only tier one quality shoes being donated. Shoes in this tier often start at $200.
“We provide good quality shoes, so children feel valued,” says Prescott.
All donated shoes do find a home though, Prescott says, with lower-tier shoes going to sports teams and other small initiatives.
As well as helping out those in need, Prescott says that Clean For A Cause was also a response to the climate crisis, with the crew rescuing shoes from landfills to give them a second life.
A child of the Māngere community and a proud Tongan, Prescott says his upbringing explains his service spirit and he encourages those who can to participate within their own communities.
“Compassion and unity is at the forefront of this campaign. Bringing together our skills and the good grace of the community, we are putting shoes on the feet of those in need.”
Prescott clearly remembers his mum telling him: “If you want something, then you must work hard for it.” His eventual aim is to work on the charity full time, he says.
While some Government assistance wouldn’t go amiss, Prescott emphasises that it’s community involvement he’s pushing for, extending an invitation to those with means to contribute to Outsole’s sneaker donation event.
The team accepts all shoes in wearable conditions, no matter the size. If unsure of a shoe, contact Clean For A Cause to clarify.
Acquiring the donated shoes from the community and list of kids in need, Clean For A Cause holds large charity events four times a year.
The next Outsole Sneaker Donation Event will be held at the Vodafone Event Centre in Manukau on June 11. The festival will celebrate children and their community with giveaways, food stalls, music and other events, as well as the chance to buy, sell and trade sneakers.