The return of our shops
For everyone the last months have changed our lives in ways we would never have expected. As a head of retail for our nine London charity shops, we made the decision to close slightly ahead of the general lockdown. Shop teams who were used to busying themselves in practical ways on the shop floor were now being asked to work remotely and most furloughed. We did however stay in touch.
It was interesting to see how each individual reacted. Some through craft making with stunning results of rosette accessories & denim cushions & colourful tote bags, others just enjoying the novelty of some well earned time out or to focus on goals long overdue such as giving up smoking and in turn saving a fortune, or using the time to learn new skills across visual & creative arts. It also helped that the weather was favourable.
As we now start to return to a new normal, I am inspired by the sheer creativity and positive nature of the retail team. Rising to the challenge of creating a different shop environment which is low in risk but high in welcoming our customers. I am forever amazed at their capacity to adapt to change. Humans on the whole are resilient. I have spent the past week enjoying the buzz of being back in the shop environment, laughing, drinking tea, marking up floor with hazard tape and repositioning floor fixtures while all the time adhering to social distancing. As one of my team stated, it’s like starting over again.
It’s also been interesting to hear from various people in the industry whether it be Mary Portas’ positive outlook on the return to local shopping to, Emma Hope Allwood, head of Dazed digital fashion who comments that “young people will emerge from this period wanting to buy for the future, to buy secondhand - just to make better choices. If your business doesn’t care about leaving the world in a better shape through your practice, you will make yourself irrelevant.“ She is talking about the fashion industry but this applies to retail throughout and charity is on the forefront of sustainability.
With the shops open again from Monday the 6th of July, we're eagerly anticipating seeing all of our regular customers, and new faces that want to support our mission to ensure there is a home for all.
Here’s to our new future.
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