I had never worked in charity shops before. In fact I have to admit I’d never actually experienced working in any kind of shop before this week. So I was excited.
Part of the induction into my new role as a Media Officer for retail at Scope was to find out more about how our charity shops are run, as well as meeting the key people behind them.
Looking forward to my two days at the Stamford Hill store, I arrived as the shop opened for business and just as a whole host of volunteers were also beginning their day at the busy branch.
My first few hours were spent with manager, Shallini, and head volunteer, Barbara, who explained exactly how clothes spend a certain amount of time on the shop floor before moving on to other Scope branches.
I got to take down the old stock and put out the new, which included the creative task of dressing the mannequins with what I thought would attract passing shoppers and help make more money for Scope.
It was evident that Shallini knew her customers’ needs well and crafted her shop window displays to attract people she said loved their designer brands, as well as eye-catching colours and trendy accessories.
Meeting the volunteers
Chatting to the volunteers gave me an interesting insight into why they give up their own precious time to help Scope and many find the experience a way of giving back to society or a chance to meet others.
One man who had once worked in a pressured office environment told me volunteering had made him realise he wanted to find new employment focused on helping people, rather than making someone a profit.
These volunteers are key in making sure things run efficiently at the store through the sorting of donations, manning of the till, security and cleaning of the shop floor.
Donations are so important
The shop was constantly busy during my two-day visit with scores of shoppers trying on outfits, buying new bags and browsing through the books, CDs and DVDs on offer.
Because of the popularity of the stock it was clear to see just how important regular donations from the public really are.
Without people’s bags of donated goods and clothes, the shop wouldn’t be able to keep up with the high demand of its consumers.
Spending time with the team at Stamford Hill was an interesting, fun and eye-opening experience and I would encourage people to volunteer if they can, or at least donate some unwanted items and help our shops keep up the good work.
by Katie Adams, Scope media officer