Aberdeen + Shire / Charity / Fashion / Shop Review

Word on the street: Banchory Red Cross has had a refit!

There have been a number of charities recently that have seen benefits from refitting their shops to give them more high street appeal. This is often met with mixed reviews from shoppers with traditionalists preferring a game of hide and seek with a good bargain, and others who prefer perhaps a more sanitary shopping experience. There are arguments for both sides and obviously any charity wants to see increased profits off the back of an investment into their appearance.

The word on the (high)street was that the British Red Cross shop in Banchory has had a refit, so I popped along on Friday after work to check out the improvements!

Here are a couple of ‘before’ photo’s from the LFFL archives:

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Not the clearest shot of the shop in the world as obviously at this point I was much less interested in the shop itself compared with my interest in what it was selling. You get the feeling from the hangers and the view itself that everything is just a little bit higgledypiggledy – that’s a very technical term.

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Their haberdashery section was an inspired idea as the best way to keep older or second hand clothing looking ship-shape is to make sure you keep up on the maintenance. In truth I think a whole generation needs to reclaim the ‘make do and mend’ mentality as oppose to buying cheap throw away items that cost the earth, literally.

Now for some ‘after’ photos which show a brighter and less cluttered shopping experience:

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The till area shows much improvement and is generally a lot more inviting. The whole place looks cleaner and brighter with better flow. There feels like there is more space, therefore if a rail looks less full, it appears well presented rather than sparse and under stocked. The whole refit lends itself to better presentation, and as my old boss used to say “Retail is detail”. Yep, she really did say that, and yes I managed to last 4 years without committing murder.

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The much improved haberdashery selection now has much more impact and is far more of a feature.

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Wooden hanger and neat stands add to the over all improved image and help to make the store look much more uniform. This helps people to find things more easily without feeling overwhelmed and in turn results in them spending more money.

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Now for some of the items that they had for sale:

Moschino 'Cheap and Chic' velvet boots, size 5, £20.

Moschino ‘Cheap and Chic’ velvet boots, size 5, £20.

Faith gorgeous sandals, size 4, £5. Goddamit I wanted these! Such an elegant heel, why oh why were they a size 4!

Faith gorgeous sandals, size 4, £5. Goddamit I wanted these! Such an elegant heel, why oh why were they a size 4!

Jacques Vert nautical inspired clutch, £8.50

Jacques Vert nautical inspired clutch, £8.50

Oasis jumper dress, brand new with tags, size xS, £10

Oasis jumper dress, brand new with tags, size xS, £10

Hobbs jumper dress, size 8, £7

Hobbs jumper dress, size 8, £7

Phase Eight jumper dress, size 8, £20, brand new with tags.

Phase Eight jumper dress, size 8, £20, brand new with tags.

Kelsey open toed shoe boots, size 4, £10, barely worn!

Kelsey open toed shoe boots, size 4, £10, barely worn!

Zara basic trouser suit, size Small, £10

Zara basic trouser suit, size Small, £10

I know that some people will not approve of the change to charity shops, but the simple fact is that they are here to raise funds for their chosen cause. Very well, some of you may think, so wouldn’t they be better spending the money on their chosen cause rather than investing in a shop refit? Well, to an extent you may have a point, however the nature of the highstreet is evolving, and with it many of our high street favourites are suffering an untimely fate. The squeeze on earnings is evident with charity donations falling year on year as people donate less. However what people are trying to do is save money, and they can do this by buying second hand clothes. In order to survive, the charity shop needs to adapt to the need of the consumer, and this in turn requires a change in direction for their image. Charity shops are becoming much cooler, and this can be seen in the number of teenagers that are willing to volunteer at their tills without their mother’s  resorting to the threat of reduced pocket money. If the social image of charity shopping is changing, this is more than likely as a result of their own investment into their image. As they become more mainstream, they therefore open themselves up to a much larger target audience, and this can only mean increased profits and increased money for the cause. People feel that they can’t afford to give something for nothing at the moment, but they will give something for a bargain second hand jersey dress, it’s a win win situation!

I would highly recommend a visit to this store as Banchory is located in the affluent Deeside valley meaning that this store will be well stocked with high quality donations, as seen above. I was very impressed with the overall refit, and I was pleasantly surprised that they had maintained their reasonable pricing rather than going for the more ‘Boutique’ feel and ramping the prices up to match.

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