Retail Royalty Challenge – Giving a bit back

When I was approached about taking part in the Retail Royalty challenge being run by the Money Supermarket, I was really intrigued by the premise. The idea was simple, could you use £30 to purchase something for your chosen charity to either use, or sell on? You needed to choose a charity that was close to your heart, and then decide what to get for them.

I decided to support my favourite charity shop. Acorns, in Wednesbury, is a shop that I have known for a long time, my mom has managed the store for many years and I have often helped out when I have had some spare time. Acorns supports a local children’s hospice, doing a great job to support the families of  children with terminal illnesses, and it was a charity I was really happy to help.

Staff at Acorns sort through Donations.

Acorns, like many charity shops, has suffered from a fall in donations recently, losing out on good quality items to companies offering cash for bags. After a chat with Diane and the volunteers, it was clear that toys were one of the things that the shop was lacking in terms of donations, particularly good quality cuddly toys. These needed to be clean and well looked after, with recognisable TV favourites a good bet. Another money spinner could be accessories, in particular, handbags. If these were either designer or well-known high street brands, these could be sold for £10 – £15.

So, where to look for these items? Other charity shops? Bric-a-Brac markets? Ebay? I decided that the best place to look would be at local fetes and fundraisers. I thought that local school fayres would be a great place to find good quality toys, whilst jumble sales and table top sales could be a source of clothing and accessories. I set a weekend aside to attend some events I found in my local paper and hit gold!

Some of my finds from the school fete.

My son’s school fete yielded a huge bag of cuddly toys. These were all clean, and relatively unused, and included a monkey from ‘Tinga Tales’ and some Teletubbies. I spent exactly half the £30 budget on this purchase, and was particularly pleased with a huge red cuddly toy perfect for a baby’s room. In total, I got 18 soft toys of various sizes for my money – less than £1 each.

At a church table top sale I was able to pick up some amazing handbags from the store of a lady who was having a wardrobe cull. These included River Island and Marks and Spencer designs, and again seemed to have been hardly used. One New Look bag still had the labels on, showing it cost £12 originally, I got it for £1 and felt sure that it could be sold for at least 3 times that price. All in all, I was really happy with my finds and felt sure they could bring in a profit for the charity.

Handbags on display with brands including Dorothy Perkins, River Island and New Look.

Acorns Wednesbury were really happy for the much needed donations and made sure they were placed on sale immediately. It remains to be seen how much they make for the charity, but as it is all pure profit, I’m sure it will be put to good use.

Sorting the donations.

Great Quality soft toys including TY.

More soft toys, including Teletubbies.