Behind the scenes of our Crwys road shop

January 11 2023

Emma, our new Marketing & Communications officer, shares her story of what it was like to spend a day at our Crwys Road charity shop.

Hello!  My name is Emma Folkard and I am the new Marketing and Communications Officer at Cerebral Palsy Cymru. As part of my induction week in October, I had the chance to spend a day behind the scenes in our Crwys Road charity shop.  As a charity shop enthusiast, this was exciting news!

Located in the bustling student hub where Roath and Cathays meet, I quickly learnt that our Crwys road shop rarely falls short of customers. This is unsurprising, as the store offers the crucial incentives of both affordability and quality, allowing local students to develop their sense of style and invest in quality pieces without breaking the bank. Fortunately for me, I visited the shop at the end of October, which allowed me to observe the never-ending creativity of students constructing their last-minute Halloween costumes. With such a range of items reflecting different decades and aesthetics, the possibilities were endless. I saw bumblebees and princesses, and even Forrest Gump at one point.

Trick or Treat sign on mannequin

 

During my time at our Crwys Rd charity shop, I also learnt a lot about the pivotal role that charity retailers play in sustainability. I got an insight into how our coalition of shops collaborate with one another to achieve the best possible outcome for the clothes donated. They work together in a triangle structure, where each shop passes on unsold clothes to next shop to reduce any wastage. This allows each shop to find suitable clothes for the demographic of their area.

Over the course of the day, we checked all of the clothes for defects before steaming and pricing them. The clothes were then labelled with dates, which allowed volunteers to be able to keep track of how long items had been in the store and gauge the likeliness of them being sold. Sorting through the donated clothes was also a fascinating task in itself, as it offered an insight into the way in which fashion trends and styles are always repeating themselves. The process got me thinking about the 20-year rule, which seemed to hold true for the fashion, décor, and music that was being sold. [This concept suggests that every 20 years fashion cycles repeat themselves.] It was typically the garish 80s colours and oversized 90s pieces that would attract customers’ attention.

It soon became apparent that the efficient systems in place are dependent entirely on the maintenance of the committed volunteers. Not only does their hard work ensure the charity gets the best value for money, but they are also reducing landfill whilst guaranteeing new clothes on the racks for customers. I also really enjoyed observing the brilliant relationships that our shop manager has built with clientele. From friendly chats with familiar faces, to updates about new stock, these relationships proved particularly important for her, especially for understanding the value and interest of certain products. These genuine interactions created a warm environment where it was obvious that people felt welcomed and wanted to return.

Whether you are interested in vamping up your wardrobe or just want an opportunity to support a wonderful charity, I truly recommend visiting our Crwys Road shop and learning something new. I can guarantee that you will be surprised by the number of hidden gems and high street bargains that they have on offer! 

 

If you are interested in volunteering opportunities at one of our shops, please contact George Parry, our Retail Operations Manager, on 07539 791922.

To find out more about our charity shops, please visit: https://www.cerebralpalsycymru.org/get-involved/shop-with-us

 

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