Avid charity shoppers reveal what makes a great charity shop

Feb 04, 2016

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Charity Bank is home to some avid charity shoppers. In a mini-survey gathering top tips for charity retail, our staff shared what makes their favourite charity shops keep them coming back.

High quality items

"My local Cancer Research shop has a rail of designer/more upmarket brands, which are kept separate. It makes it easier and potentially quicker to find a bargain or something different." Rachel Hooper, HR assistant.

"I look for good value books (particularly where I already have part of a set) and maps. So the content, quality and range of stock is important." Simon Cotterill, financial controller.

"I think good quality donations are important. At my favourite shops I've been able to find clothes from River Island/Zara/Topshop and things that look new." Katie Taylor, social impact assistant.

Specialist products

"Both Oxfam and the Red Cross have bridal shops – often selling brand new gowns that have been donated by designers and exclusive stores," Rebecca Fillery, head of compliance.

"Unique finds, vintage items and value for money are all big wins," Jessica Gibbons, savings manager.

"Emmaus Village Carlton has an amazing selection of antiques and vintage items in their Emporium, I bought two framed vintage ads for Hovis and Coleman's Mustard from them" Isabelle de Grave, copywriter.


The Emporium at Emmaus Village Carlton, which helps to fund the recovery of people who were homeless

A regular stock re-fresh

"I love it when shops date everything and no item stays in the shop for more than 2/3 weeks – so it’s not the same old stuff that was there the week before." Katie Taylor, social impact assistant.

Great window displays

"My favourite charity shops have attractive, professional window displays, which suggest good quality products inside." Chris Tweedie, regional manager for Wales.

Well-designed shops

"For me, what makes a great charity shop stand out is the fact that it looks like a high street store; clean, well designed with quality clothes," Peter Kelly, business development director.

"I enjoy exploring charity shops where the sections are tidily set up in clear, delineated areas that flow; no random shoes next to books. The best ones mimic typical retail stores and are nicely lit." Chris Tweedie, regional manager for Wales.


Nice smell, nice touch: Coffee while you shop

Good smell

"For me, the best charity shops have a pleasant smell," Katie Taylor, social impact assistant

Great staff and customer service

"I know some charity shops that keep logs, which list brands customers are interested in and call them when they arrive, which is great," Claire Kidman, marketing executive.

"It's nice to shop where there is a mixture of younger and older volunteers" Katie Taylor, social impact assistant.

Personal touches & knowledge of where my money is going

"There’s a great charity shop in Chislehurst called 2gether. It’s run by a local church and money goes to the youth in Chislehurst. They have a youth centre round the corner from where I used to live and do talks at my old primary school. So it feels more personal knowing where my money is going.

They also have a coffee machine and a couple of chairs so you can actually sit and have a drink!" Katie Taylor, social impact assistant.

"I like to see examples of where the money is going – posters on the wall, a video playing, flyers at the counter." Claire Kidman, marketing executive.