A new shape to the charity shop model

Web beauty with a conscience

Ann Loughrey with two of the students doing work experience at Beauty with a Conscience in Glasgow.

Ann Loughrey on an innovate new approach to charity retail 

TFN Guest's photo

10th December 2018 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

The pressures and challenges facing the charity sector mean there is very little scope for resting on your laurels.

The new Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice welcomed the first patients to its beautiful new building in Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park last month.

The facility, which will support 1,200 new patients and families every year, only exists because of the success of the Brick by Brick Appeal which raised £21 million from individuals, groups and corporate supporters over a period of six years.

We believe this is a unique twist on the traditional charity shop model

But keeping the doors of this state-of-the-art hospice open will cost in excess of £3 million a year – and that’s against the backdrop of business uncertainty and a challenging economy.

As commercial business manager for the hospice, I was brought on board to devise ways to fill that gap.

What quickly became obvious to me on taking on the role was that, in developing commercial opportunities for the hospice, it was essential that we took an innovative approach in our thinking.

This month saw the launch of our first initiative, Beauty with a Conscience, which we believe is a unique twist on the traditional charity shop model.

Located on Glasgow’s Battlefield Road, it’s a combined beauty salon and retail outlet which offers customers ethical beauty treatments and high-quality new goods such as candles, gift cards and accessories.

We believe there is a huge appeal for customers who want to treat themselves by enjoying some beauty or retail therapy with the added bonus of knowing that 100% of the profits from Beauty with a Conscience will go to support the hospice. 

As well as the feel good factor that brings, we’ve also partnered in this social enterprise with Glasgow Clyde College and its Education Foundation to deliver meaningful work experience for the college’s beauty students.

Customers can enjoy everything from a manicure or pedicure to eyelash and eyebrow shaping and facial waxing delivered by fully qualified students. 

The young people themselves, meanwhile, derive huge benefit from genuine experience of the world of work, honing their skills as therapists while, at the same time,  learning other valuable lessons such as the importance of customer service.

It’s early days at this stage for the new venture but, if it takes off as we hope, we definitely see potential for rolling the concept out further. 

The pressures facing organisations across the sector, far from showing any evidence of receding, are more likely to intensify. 

At the hospice, we believe it is essential that we explore new ways to commercialise our activities while ensuring that we maintain our values. We see Beauty with a Conscience very much as the first step on that journey.

Ann Loughrey is commercial business manager for Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice