Where Has August Gone?

My goodness…where has August gone?

This has been such a busy month…I can’t believe it is almost September!

At the start of August we were looking forward to the start of our Make Do and Mend project…just over 4 weeks later and we’re celebrating the sale of our first piece of upcycled furniture…it sold within 4 hours of hitting the shop floor…how awesome is that?

I’m not surprised really…the table was a real beauty!

We have 2 further items out for sale…both very different.

If your taste is for the individualistic…something you will not find anywhere else then this cute set of drawers might be to your taste. Stripping back the thick white paint we uncovered amazing things…beautiful old wood complimented by strikingly colourful paint…it seemed wrong to take it all off! It’s so tactile…I keep catching myself running my hands along the top each time I pass…I can’t resist!

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Many hours of hard work…love and elbow grease have gone into this table but I think you’ll agree it’s worth it…don’t we all deserve a bit of pampering when we’re feeling a bit run down? We’ll have a stampede of neglected tables queuing at the door if word gets out…all hoping for a polish…a non-surgical face lift for furniture!

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Shop Chatter has been pretty silent lately…

What can I say…I’m sorry, it’s not you…it’s me…I’ve been distracted lately, I didn’t mean to neglect you!

I want to make this work…I think we’ve got something good going on…something really special…I’m in it for the long term…I promise.

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Shop Chatter definitely deserves a little TLC after the weeks of neglect…but don’t worry we’re going to look after it…give it lots of love and attention…we have sOOoooooo much to catch up on!

I can’t wait to get going again…lot’s of great stuff to tell you about….I don’t know where to start…but start I will! Exciting!!!

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Why Do People Donate To Charity Shops?

It’s an interesting question and I think for 99% of the donations we think we know the answer…

  • They want to support the charity because they have experienced the wonderful work they do.
  • They like to support charities in general and like the thought of their unwanted items having a useful life elsewhere.
  • They recognise that donating unwanted items to charity is a great thing to do for the planet…recycle rather than landfill.

I’m sure there are many more great reasons why people donate and we appreciate the items we get what ever the reason…with one exception…

When items are left on our doorstep out of hours!

7.45am Monday morning this is what greets me…a bag of clothes left (sometime between 4.30pm Saturday and 7.45am Monday). The bag has been torn open and clothes are strewn everywhere!

Somebody may have left these with the best intentions…but we do have signs up asking people not to leave donations when the shop is closed…the only thing I can do with these is put them in the bin.

It’s very frustrating…it makes our shop and quite often the surrounding area look awful…it becomes a health risk for staff and volunteers…how long has it been there…how many dogs have relieved themselves there…is there anything else in there, broken items, sharps…would you want to start your working day clearing this up?

Saturday afternoon I closed the shop at 4pm, popped upstairs for 5 minutes when I came down someone had dumped a broken computer in the doorway!

I couldn’t sell this even if it was working…St Mary’s Hospice will have to pay to dispose of it correctly!

You know…we get some amazing donations into our shops that help raise much needed funds for our wonderful hospice…and I wouldn’t want to alienate any genuine donators…but maybe some people just aren’t aware that when they choose to dump goods on our doorstep they aren’t helping a good cause…in some cases they are actually costing it money!

if you have items you would like to donate but can’t make it when the shop is open…please get in touch by phone or Facebook and we can collect…make sure your donation is making a difference in a good way!

Challenge Accepted..

Here in Barrow shop we like a bit of healthy competition, we’re always setting ourselves little in-shop targets to try and beat…it keeps us motivated and helps us raise as much money as possible for the hospice, not to mention adding a little fun to the day!

We’re always pushing ourselves…to sell more pound items…to increase eBay listing…to recruit more volunteers…the team just doesn’t stop!

Our bravest and toughest challenge so far involves Kite Books…this is a system we use that allows us to sell items through Amazon…books, DVD’s, CD’s and more recently new toys, games and jigsaws.

Six months ago we had 250 items listed online using this system…we were bringing in a decent enough income from it but it was clear there was scope for more…I made a commitment then (in my head only at this time for obvious reasons!) that in 12 months time St Mary’s Hospice would have 1000 items listed for sale…my reasoning being…more items listed…more choice for customers…more sales for the hospice!

Asking for that kind of an increase is not easy…let’s face it, was it even realistic? I didn’t really know, but it was a challenge I wanted the team to try and achieve…but we couldn’t do it alone. We needed every shop to play their part! Yes, if you visit Barrow shop you will see boxes and boxes of online items…but that doesn’t give you the full picture…they didn’t necessarily start out here.

All St Mary’s shops contribute stock to the online selling forums…we have volunteers everywhere, armed with scanners eager to find items to be listed…we have drivers ferrying the online stock to Barrow shop for storing, picking, packing and posting once sold…it’s a real team effort…a Retail Team Effort (from this point forward it shall be known as an RTE).

There’s no stopping an RTE…the momentum just keeps on building until we reach our goal…it’s both scary and beautiful to watch!

I could wax lyrical for ever about the awesomeness of an RTE…but that’s kind of taking me away from the point I’m trying to make…so let me focus!

It’s six months since I made that private challenge…it became a Barrow challenge very soon after and then a wider retail challenge…we have all worked so hard on making this achievable and do you know what…we’re pretty close already…with six months gone we have gone from 250 items to 754 items listed…that’s not a bad effort is it?

I’m so proud of everyone involved…who instead of doubting or complaining, just rolled up their proverbial sleeves and showed up to help…a true RTE!

With 6 months left I thought I would share our challenge with you…you might want to help…either by volunteering your time or by donating goods…whatever you decide is great 🙂

Interested in volunteering contact your local St Mary’s Hospice shop…check out our website, http://www.stmaryshospice.org.uk or leave a message on our Facebook page, Retail at St Mary’s Hospice.

If you would like to donate goods that could possibly be sold on line (subject to value when scanned) you can take them to any of our shops or have them picked up from your home by one of our retail drivers…call Trish on 07541359881.

Items suitable for Kite include…books…DVD’s, CD’s. We also sell new toys, games and jigsaws…how many times do we buy something only never to use it…never take it out of it’s packaging?

If you would like to help us reach our goal and be involved in a most awesome RTE act now…you won’t regret it!

Are You Feeling Creative?

I love a juicy project to get my teeth into…you know when you just see something and you think…’I could do wonderful things with that’…and before you know what happened a very nice person is helping load it into your car!

Does that happen to you too…I’m sure it’s not just me? My guilty secret is furniture…my spare room is full of pieces in various stages of remodeling!

I was in our furniture warehouse this morning and they have got just the thing (things really!) for the adventurous or gifted refurbisher (I think I just made this word up but I’m sure you know what I mean!) Instead of waffling just let me show you the pictures…

I mean look at them…aren’t they amazing? Can you imagine what you could do with them?

There’s a lot of work needed to bring them back but oh my goodness wouldn’t it be worth it?

If these chair frames (at least 2 are Ercol) are calling your name then you need to call the warehouse fast…or leave a message on our Facebook page…I guarantee they won’t be around for long!

 

Drop Your Pants…

Our Trish hit the road to promote Drop Your Pants and raise awareness of testicular cancer…she had the pleasure of meeting the Barrow Raiders team (see below)

L-R Ryan Johnson, Andrew Litherland, Martin Aspinwall (captain), Shane Toal, Alec Susino, Tom Walker, Dean Parata & Brett Carter.

Dave Kendall & Steve Rea (coaches Barrow Raiders)

Next on her list was Nathan from Barrow AFC, who was more than happy to get involved…smile for the camera 🎥 😁

Nathan Waterston, Barrow AFC.

Trish had a great day meeting the Barrow teams, chatting about the Drop Your Pants campaign…happy days .

Don’t forget all you men out there…just because the campaign is over doesn’t mean we don’t want your donations…you can drop off all your unwanted goodies at any St Mary’s Hospice Shop…if you’re unsure about what we accept head over to Facebook, leave us a message and we’ll get back to you ASAP

Drop Your Pants …

Anyone who shops with St Mary’s Hospice may have had a little chuckle…or raised an eyebrow as they checked out our cheeky window displays this week!

There is of course a serious message behind the lighthearted displays…we want to show our support and help raise awareness of testicular cancer…the signs and symptoms.

“Drop your pants” is a joined up campaign between 8 North West hospices…the idea behind the campaign is to highlight testicular cancer and the symptoms to look out for and at the same time encourage men to donate and shop with us.

If you want to support the ‘Drop Your Pants’ campaign you can drop off your clothes donations at any St Mary’s Hospice shops.