What really is the difference between Online Vintage and Charity Shopping?

Hood Vintage, Vintage shopping, Charity shopping, Donating clothes

Is there really a difference between the charity shops we see on the high street and websites selling vintage clothes? 

Well, if there was, there won’t be for much longer. The two are morphing into a digitalised era which appreciates the beauty of second-hand clothing while keeping the less fortunate in mind. 

Just like Hood Vintage, hundreds (or even thousands) of vintage clothing brands have moved online. We used a Shopify theme to create our website, one of the simplest ways to do so! We only sell our renewed and upcycled Hood Vintage items online, part of what makes our brand identity unique.

For decades there has been a stigma woven into charity shopping, but is this no more? 

Vintage or ‘thrift’ shopping has become one of the biggest trends within fashion in recent years, because really, there isn’t a downside. The world’s youth, or so-called Gen-Z, have become massively aware of sustainability and the repercussions of the industries they’ve been indoctrinated to love.

Hood Vintage, Fashion Pollution, Waste

It is no secret that the fashion industry is polluting our earth, Future Net Zero said: “The fashion industry is the second-largest source of industrial pollution after aviation.” All the more reason to investigate into giving second-hand clothes a new lease on life. 

The vintage clothing industry is experiencing a boom of sorts, the BBC reported that: “Retail platform ThredUp estimates that the second-hand fashion industry was worth $28 billion dollars (approx. £21 billion) in 2019 and predict that, by 2024, this amount will more than double to $64 billion (approx. £49 billion).”

Here at Hood Vintage, we support charitable and eco-friendly causes, one of our long-standing commitments is with Ecologi. They are a company which plants trees globally and provides funding and support to the world’s best climate crisis solutions. Hood Vintage donates to Ecologi from our monthly profits, placing sustainability as a high priority. This is all a part of our ultimate goal to be at the forefront of sustainable fashion and reduce the impact of clothing pollution on the planet.

Whilst stylistic brands have upcycled retro clothing online, charity shops have had to diversify their stores in order to cope with the pandemic over the past year.

Hood Vintage- St Josephs Hospice- Charity Shop- Sustainable

St Joseph’s Hospice is a Merseyside-based charity which provides vital end-of-life care. To support their heart warming cause, they have numerous stores open filled with all kinds of preloved goods. Although, during Covid-19’s rein over the planet, their profit from these stores disappeared completely with stores unable to open. 

During the worst months of the pandemic, more people than ever before turned to online outlets. One BBC article says: “eBay UK reported that June 2020 saw the biggest year-on-year spike in new businesses joining the site, with an increase of 335% compared with June 2019.”

St Joseph’s Hospice was one of many charities that sought to use eBay in the hopes it would provide a steady income while still allowing the public to support the hospice. Although, due to various issues, this did not go successfully. Mike Parr, 57 from Wigan, is the Chief Executive of St Joseph’s Hospice, and he said “Ultimately, we struggled to make this work because of a fall in donations, the availability of staff and the cost of running the operation compared with the sales we were achieving.” As a result of this, they have currently suspended their eBay store, but plan to reopen when funding and staffing allow them to do so. 

Annually, the hospice has patient care costs in excess of £3 million, only a third of this coming from NHS funding. Due to this, they continually reviews their business model and the charitable income streams which cover two thirds of their costs. 

Mike Parr said: “Clearly, the success of online retail models cannot be ignored and for some time we have been exploring various e-sales methods to augment our charity shop income, alongside our other fundraising activities.” 

Alongside looking into the success of online retail, the hospice has also invested time into creating online fundraising events and even within clinical areas, such as remote video calls for patients and their relatives. 

“We will continue to explore the potential for greater use of IT and internet options in the future.” - Mike Parr 

St Joseph’s Hospice has seen a change in visitors to these charity shops in recent years, Mike told us: “Over the last three or four of years we have seen our customer base become increasingly diverse, and our younger customers in particular are much more conscious of the impact of retail on the environment.” 

Subsequently, the charity has started to stock more vintage items, Mike also said: “We hope to scale up our vintage sales though a suitable online outlet in the near future.” 

Despite the inevitable digitalisation of charity shops, we musn’t forget the social impacts of these stores. At St Joseph’s Hospice, they remain very aware of the value to the community which charity shops provide, Mike said: “Our charity shops offer value for money shopping, provide a social hub for people to meet, chat and browse, and an opportunity for volunteering for people who have some spare time to give. Plus, of course, as a means of recycling and helping protect the environment.” 

So, although charities may be in an undeniable state of digitalisation, becoming more like the online vintage stores that have appeared in the last decade, will this take away from the charm and excitement of visiting one of their valued stores in person? 

Words By Ellie Rochell 

Hood Vintage, St Joseph's Hospice, Charity, Donations

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