Mary’s Free PR

Mary Queen of Shops continues to change the image of Charity Shops. She takes her volunteers to London Fashion week. With her contacts she creates interest by styling celebrities such as Peaches Geldof. That generates column inches in the press and the obsession with celebrity works well for her.

The problem of getting good stock remains. That is until Mary develops D Day Campaign. Key businesses are targeted to see if their employess will donate interesting clothing. She working hard to build a new business for Save the Children. Her shop was given a target of £2000 per week, from existing taking of £900 The result is that sales are up, targets met and customers are spending more on the better range of stock.

This leads to a change in direction for this charity. The new approach is being rolled out over the 125 Save the Children shops

She has proved that charity shops are not the poor relation on the high street.

Mary Queen of Shops

The current BBC series Mary Queen of Shops seeks to transform the Charity Shop culture in the UK. It changes the traditional view of everything as bargain basement and a hotch potch of somebody’s junk. It transforms into a modern boutique to offer specific products for customers and to move with the times.

The issue is that the staff are mature volunteers who are used to charging rock bottom prices. £20 for a Jimmy Choo handbag, I don’t think so. Yet the challenge is not just meeting the changing perception of the consumer but also the way the staff run the business. It was not an easy task for Mary.

Following some opposition, staff training and a total refit with Conran designers. The result is that more people come into the shop and spend more money in a day than they did in a week.  The new manager then has to attract new stock, manage the staff and to deliver the cash. All within a very limited budget.

The marketing lessons are to focus on a different business model. Challenge the way the shop presents itself, build the brand, improve the perception of the consumer and also to change the culture.
Mary Portas Queen of Shops, look for the next progamme, easy watching and lots of good marketing examples