Transparent about pricing
Before everyone’s typical way of shopping was interrupted by the pandemic, our high street charity shops, located in communities across Devon, were the first port of call for many of our loyal supporters.
Since then, we have launched a successful online shop, which has attracted secondhand shopping enthusiasts who love our high-quality garments and other collections, from books and games to vintage collectibles, homewares and more.
One of the questions we are asked is why our online prices are not the same as our charity shop prices. It’s extremely important for us to be transparent about pricing and to make sure that when you shop with us you feel happy with your choice, so here’s our reply:
The Gold Standard
Our website is a little different to our bricks and mortar shops for several reasons. One is that we stock only our ‘Gold branded’ items on our site.
It’s common practice in the secondhand and charity sector to use a brand guide for the labels that are stocked. This is advocated by the Charity Retail Association as it helps to ensure consistent pricing. A brand guide also helps us to bring in enough income from the sale to legitimise the work involved in selling it and to make an income for the charity.
We categorise donations into Bronze, Silver and Gold brands, and it is only the Gold items – or very high-end Silver - that are stocked online. That's so our online customers can be reassured of the quality of our items and can shop confidently without trying before they buy as they would in our high street shops.
As well as branded garments, textiles and homewares, we also stock unusual vintage items and collectables, which would typically be stocked in one of our two high street Vintage & Variety specialist shops. This makes our online store a treasure trove for shoppers looking for something truly special and unique.
The cost of selling
We are so privileged to be the recipients of gifts of donations from thousands of generous donors who have chosen Devon Air Ambulance as their cause. Every day we are gifted many hundreds of items that make their way to the rails, helping to support our service.
When we add a garment to our online store, it undergoes a rigorous preparation process with quality checking along the way.
Sorting, steaming, cataloguing, photographing, writing a product description, listing, managing the transaction, preparing the garment, and finally sending out the item, all takes time and resources to manage so that it is a delight for you to receive the package at the other end!
Ethical all the way
We are a Living Wage Employer, which means we ensure our fantastic staff are paid fairly for their work.
When you buy a new item from an online fast fashion or high street outlet for close to or less than you would in a secondhand store (online or on the high street), it means the true costs are being outsourced: onto the environment and onto the workforce at all stages of the supply line.
By choosing to shop secondhand first, you are supporting the circular economy and helping to ‘close the loop’. When you give quality garments and other exciting items a new lease of life, you are helping to take the strain off both people and planet.
What’s more, by shopping with us, you can feel great knowing that the money you spend goes back into our lifesaving service and the communities we serve, helping to make a meaningful difference.