Friday, 12 June 2009

Birthday Queen of Charity Shops.

Now I've been thoroughly enjoying Mary Portas's latest programme Mary Queen of Charity Shops on the BBC.
image from BBCi

However in bloggy world we know that the true Queen of Charity Shops is Sharon Rose so I couldn't resist a little interview for her views on Mary and charity shop shopping. Not to mention our Sharon is also a birthday girl today!

How many times a week do you frequent a charity shop?

Up to 5 times a week.

Which is your favourite local charity shop?

My Local Sue Ryder Care, which is less than 10 minutes walk away.

Which charity shop would you go and help?

One in another town, to see new faces as I'm very familiar with all the ones in my local town!!

Which do you think offers the consumer better value for money charity shop or car boot?

Boot Sales offer better bargains, especially for 50p to £3, but you do really have to rummage for them. Charity shops in my area aren't too dear and offer a wide variety at reasonable prices, generally anything from £2-£10, depending on the item.

Would you change the pricing in a charity shop(i.e. do you think too expensive or too cheap)?

I think the charity shops in my town and surrounding areas are priced just right, even for a good quality item, I rarely pay more than £8. London charity shops are expensive in my opinion, for high street items especially. I understand how Mary wanted to place expensive items in a shop for a lot more money-I'm not sure how this would work on a long term basis, especially when volunteers are unfamiliar with designer names. Items may be better off being auctioned on ebay by the charity, I know a lot of the charities work this way now.

How motivating do you think Mary Portas is?

I love her, I think she has a great attitude, but I suppose it must be hard for her when a lot of the old dears are stuck in their ways of working and methods-but she is giving it a go, much needed in some areas, I think! I really enjoyed the programme on Tuesday night, it's great because I can really see her vision and where she wants her shop to be, but there is also the other side of it regarding the volunteers and what they can do, considering they don't get paid and what's expected of them. Very interesting indeed!

If you had to work with one of the Orpington old dears who would you choose?

I love Leila, a great sense of humour!! Brenda and Graham are too set in their own ways I think!

Have you every volunteered in a charity shop?

No, I've debated it, but I've decided its just as good to buy from them and donate things regularly too. I will never say never though.

What top tip would you give to a charity shop virgin?

Expect the unexpected, be prepared to have a good rummage and stock up on key quality items, such as jeans, jackets and dresses. Oh, and always look at other items even if you're not intending to buy them. Yesterday afternoon, I went looking for costume jewellery, but because I look and scan most different items, I scored a gorgeous fluid jersey beige DKNY dress for only £4.99, which fits like a glove!!



  1. You're absolutely right -- Sharon Rose is THE QUEEN.

  2. Hi there-What a lovely birthday blog present, many thanks for such a lovely post and the birthday wishes too my dear! Can't wait for our birthday drink next month, it will be so great to finally meet up at long last! Thanks once again Kate and have a lovely weekend too!

  3. I hope one of those out dresses wasn't the topshop one I wish to claim!! Have a v happy birthday and a lovely weekend too xx

  4. Hi there-I think this dress will have to be swapped for a drink when we meet up-deal?

  5. I must watch this programme, i love charity shops and am really interested in the metamorphosis to being well run and attractive looking, but more expensive, that many have undergone over the last 2 years.

    There are very few charity shops in Edinburgh where you could find designer stuff for a fiver now, they all know what they've got! Which on balance, is a good thing I think. I prefer to shop in charity shops that look good and are efficiently run, even if that means paying a bit more (and at the end of the day, its all for a good cause anyway).

  6. Great post! I don´t go to charity shops at all here in Germany- I am not even sure if it works the same as in the UK. I must find out as it would be interesting to see if there are designer cast offs here too.

  7. Happy Birthday to S-R! I love her thrifting style ~ fab interview!


  8. A great interview with a great lady - and truly the queen of thrift!

  9. Agreed...Sharon is the Queen of Charity Shopping. The bargains that woman unearths need to be seen to believed.

    I haven't seen Mary's charity shop show but looooved her first show. It's on cable here which we don't have but I've managed twist the arm of someone who does.

  10. Oh what a lovely and sweet thing to do with our Queen of Charity Shopping!!!!
    Love this, Sharon is just a dear and a good shopper!!!
    That's a great interview.

    Have a nice weekend


  11. Great interview, she has an amzing sense of style!! Happy B-day Sharon!

  12. Great interview, would love to check out your local charity shop!

    Although most volunteers I've met have a pretty solid understanding of designer, vintage and high-street labels. London charity shop workers, especially, know their Pradas from their Primarks, and price accordingly. And so they should.

    My mum is probably mistaken as a clueless old charity shop volunteer (she works in a small town back in Australia) but she can spot a dealer a mile away, and has an excellent knowledge of vintage as well as all designer labels.

    Come to think of it, I'd love to see her take on Mary. There's absolutely no way she'd agree to go door-knocking when she's giving up her free time!

  13. Sharon is amazing, I can't believe what she finds! Great interview.

  14. Great interview! And happy belated birthday Sharon Rose!


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