Rowcroft’s shops will soon be packed with chunky knits, cosy jumpers and comfy boots – all of which have their own story to tell
According to a (relatively) reliable source Kylie Minogue, Julia Roberts and Zac Efron are all fans of shopping in charity shops; embracing vintage finds, recycling once-treasured garments and coming away with totally unique wardrobe staples. Now, South Devon might not be a hot-bed of A-list celebrities, but we’re certain that if the likes of Kylie, Julia and Zac were to stumble upon items from our new autumn/winter collection they’d be delighted with their finds. “The new season provides us with an opportunity to showcase the chunky knits, cosy jumpers and long, woolly scarves that’ll keep you nice and warm during the blustery months to come,” explains Rowcroft’s Head of Retail, Caroline Wannell.
Year-round Rowcroft’s shops are packed with an array of pre-loved clothing and accessories that rotate in line with the seasons, ensuring each shop can compete with other charity shops, and other retailers on the high street. “Many of our high street shops stock clothes that arrive with their tags still on,” explains Caroline, “They are all full of quality brands such as M&S, Wallis, H&M, Oasis, Fatface, Topshop, New Look, Monsoon and more.” The hospice’s more niche boutique shops, located in Dartmouth and Wellswood, stock a careful selection of higher-end labels that also rotate seasonally including Phase Eight, Crew, Karen Millen, Coast, Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Hobbs, Reiss, and even the odd Mulberry handbag. “We are incredibly fortunate to receive some fantastic donations from our local community,” explains Caroline, “without which our shops wouldn’t be the success they are.”
Rowcroft has a team of volunteers at its central Distribution Centre in Newton Abbot which sorts through all donations to the hospice and chooses which shop should receive each item. For autumn/winter volunteers select clothes and accessories with rich colours, textures and fabrics that are suited to the not-so-sunny season. Caroline explains, “You will find brighter and lighter fabrics such as cotton and linen throughout the spring/summer season. In autumn and winter we make sure the shops are stocked with rich, warmer items and a greater selection of wintery accessories such as hats and boots.”
The Retail Team recently organised a flatlay photo shoot to showcase a number of the outfits customers can easily pick up in the hospice’s shops during autumn/winter 2017. Caroline says, “From casual knitwear to sparkly heels there really is something for everyone, plus every outfit is totally unique; there aren’t many shops where you’ll be able to find pieces from Monsoon, M&S and Topshop all under one roof!”
Caroline enthuses that there are many more reasons why stocking your autumn/winter wardrobe with charity shop finds is a good idea, “As well as finding some great buys and one off items, you’ll be creating new value by keeping unwanted goods out of landfill and, for me, the fact you’ll leave with that feel good factor is the best benefit. Remember that with every purchase you make you’ll be contributing directly to the care of our patients and their families, who are living in your community.”
Last year Rowcroft’s 16 shops, including high street stores, boutiques, furniture outlets, tea room and coffee shop, contributed £350,000 to the running of the hospice’s services, and are expected to generate even more in 2017. This incredible amount helps to support more than 2,000 local people to spend precious moments with their friends and family during the hardest days imaginable.
But while the benefits of shopping in Rowcroft’s shops are abundant, the biggest challenge is ensuring you don’t miss out on a bargain or hidden treasure to the customer before you. “All our items are unique,” explains Caroline, “so one of my biggest tips for getting the most out of shopping in charity shops is to make sure you buy items you like when you see them.” Rowcroft’s Instagram feed is a good place to go for outfit inspiration and to view the range of products available in the shops. Caroline’s other top tips for shopping at Rowcroft include being open minded, popping in regularly and always trying items on.
After some more tips? Just wait there while we check with Kylie and Julia…
View 2017’s autumn/winter clothing collection by visiting one of Rowcroft’s shops, find your nearest at www.rowcrofthospice.org.uk/shops.