Dublin Simon Community's Katie Donohoe
As one of the very first charities to sell fashion on thriftify we're thrilled to launch our new guest blog series with their retail manager, Katie.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Katie, I’m the supervisor of the Dublin Simon Community charity shops. For most of my career I have worked in retail, but soon after joining Dublin Simon Community as a volunteer on the Social Club about 3 years ago I began working full time for the organisation and that led me to the shops! I am an avid charity shop shopper so this suits me down the ground!! Nothing beats the thrill of finding a bargain and giving a beautiful piece of clothing another life.
I love the hustle and bustle of our shops, we are all always on the go. Whether it be putting out new stock or sorting through the bags of clothes and bric-a-brac we get from our generous donors. Life in the world of charity shops is busy, busy, busy and over the last few months we have been learning and adapting so we can safely open our doors to our beloved customers during this uncertain time. Our priority is the health & safety of our staff and customers so we have lots of new measures in places to ensure this.
What impact do your shops have?
The money we raise through our shops is used to help keep our vital services running for our clients but that is not the only way we help. Our team in the shops are in contact with the other Dublin Simon Community services regularly. Sometimes new clients coming into our services need clothes and underwear, sometimes our kitchens need cutlery and pots and pans, sometimes our service needs towels and sheets. We collect these items together as they come in and deliver them to our services.
Another way we help is by providing employment opportunities for clients moving through our services. They can come and work with us in the shops and get retail and warehouse work experience.
We are also really passionate about our environmental impact, it is great to be part of the solution! We have a high standard of quality control and we test electrical items for safety before being sold. Items that can't be sold in our shops are recycled or reused through various different channels, our aim is also to keep landfill waste to a minimum and keep our planet happy! We have been awarded the ReMark accreditation, Ireland’s Reuse Quality Mark of Excellence!
What are the quirkiest or stand-out donations you've received?
Where do I start?! We got a stunning wool Prada coat recently, there was lots of fuss about that, and we often get unique vintage items, who doesn’t love an 80’s puffball dress!
The donation that stands out the most would probably be the half dozen of eggs in their box that were still intact found in amongst a bag of clothes!
How has the move to selling online been?
There was definitely a learning curve for us, it’s a whole new way of working for a charity shop. It was a great opportunity for the team to upskill in e-commerce and we got lots of help from the Thriftify team, there was no question too small. After a month the nerves were gone and the team were scanning books in the hundreds!! When we moved to uploading fashion again the Thriftify team helped us and educated us along the way. It’s very exciting to see people from all across the country supporting us, we have been opened up to a whole new customer base and that is amazing.
Any final messages for our thrifters?
Thank you to everyone who has purchased gems with us through Thriftify.ie, your support is so appreciated by everyone in Dublin Simon Community.