We all want a bargain! Buying something amazing at a cut-down price always seems more rewarding than getting it full price! But when it comes to using shops of second-user goods, people have some strange prejudices. Fantastic bargains can go begging for a purchaser for weeks on end. And sometimes it’s just that the goods on sale are not expected to be available at that quality in a second-user store.
I met up with Drea Sepúlveda-Silva who manages our local shop in Albion Street – UpMarket 48 – and we discussed how people view the goods on sale.
‘It’s amazing what great stuff we get donated’ said Drea. ‘We have a fantastic range of women’s clothes which sell well and get continually renewed. Our customers keep coming back and wanting more. But we just don’t get enough men’s clothes; we could sell twice as many as we get through the door.’
Drea has been with the shop for just on three years. In that time, she’s had a big influence on the way the place runs. ‘We are a really local operation’ she commented. ‘I live locally as do all the volunteers who staff the shop. Our customers are mostly local folk – some well off and some not so well off. And we donate our surplus income to local good causes. In 2013, we supported a youth worker to work on the local Albion estate over the summer and this year, we’ve part-funded exercise classes for older people at Time and Talents. This is a community investing time and effort in this community.’
…anything donated that is not clean is also sent off the premises immediately.
Not your average charity shop!
Turning to the local community for support makes sense. Drea is very clear that UpMarket 48 is not your average charity shop but one that builds local links, helping people find what they need from across the area. Regular customers get a cuppa and a chat so that volunteers and customers offer each other tangible mutual support. The friendly and open atmosphere is aided by the shop’s layout that makes it easy for people with limited mobility to get around. And there are stories of selfless acts of kindness offered and received through the shop’s presence. Drea herself enjoys spending time with volunteers and customers helping with practical tasks as well as selling goods.
Our shop is a great way for local residents to pass on their unwanted goods to a better life with someone else in the area.
Independent and local
A consortium of local churches and non-profits in Rotherhithe set up the shop in 2012. It is run by a local Board as a company limited by guarantee with charitable status which means it can’t distribute profit to its members but uses any surplus for community ends. The Board keeps a close eye on the shop and its development and ensures that the business side is well run and efficient.
‘We are a shop like any other so we need to cover our costs.’ Drea explained. ‘Donations are great but they take time and effort to sort, check and display. Sometimes we can’t sell an item in the shop so we have started a stall on the Albion Street Market on Saturdays that sells items for just £1. We’ve even taken to EBay to sell some items that way. When our stock of clothes have run their time and are not selling, we can dispose of them for 40p for a kilogram; anything donated that is not clean is also sent off the premises immediately. We don’t want to have that awful charity shop smell!’
Rehoming your surplus goods
‘Really our shop is a great way for local residents to pass on their unwanted goods to a better life with someone else in the area. See it as recycling if you will! Rather than giving them away to be shredded and made into rags, donating them to Up Market48 makes an investment in the local area and delivers all sorts of extra benefits. And when you donate to the shop’s stocks, do remember to come back and buy some fresh goods you can use at home. It’s all about giving and buying to make a better SE16!’
If you need some more space in your place, why not donate the surplus goods to UpMarket 48? Give them a call on 07906 879340 or drop in to the shop at 48 Albion Street, SE16 7JQ
If you’d like to volunteer in the friendly team, why not request a volunteer pack online at http://www.upmarketat48.co.uk/ or once again pick up a pack in person at the shop.