Looking for a dress for the office Christmas party? Or some new workwear?
The 1869 Action for Children store is designed to feel like an indulgent shopping experience, without the hefty price tag, enabling you to pick up items for a fraction of their original price.
“The items are samples or faulty items donated to us by retailers because they are unable to sell them on the shop floor,” said Charrice Richmond, retail project manager for Action for Children.
She added: “Some have broken zips or missing buttons, all of which are easily fixed. The labels are always crossed out or cut to make sure people don’t try to return them to the original stores.”
Examples include a blue Hobbs dress with large flowers that had a price tag of £159 but was being sold for £20 at 1869 store, just because the fabric is slightly snagged.
Another example is a Damsel in a Dress polka dot dress that would have retailed at £129 on sale for £20 at 1869 because it has a broken zip.
“New stock will be arriving each week, we’re hoping for some menswear soon and additional childrenswear too,” said Charrice.
“Everything that’s arriving is last year’s stock and many of the items from retailers like Hobbs and Phase Eight is faulty. It makes it a really environmentally friendly store. I’m not sure what would happen to all this stock if we didn’t sell it. It would be a shame if it went to landfill.”
What to expect at 1869
The new store has black walls, atmospheric lighting and sofas plus it smells good too.
“It was important to us to get the look and the smell of the shop right,” said Charrice, “and the reaction we have had to it so far has been great.”
Nostalgic photographs of a nearby orphanage hang on the wall and there’s a selfie photo frame bearing the words ‘Looking good bab!’ Artificial flowers and greenery is trailed along the clothing racks and there’s plenty of space to wander around.
There are jumpers folded on round tables and dresses, tops, skirts and trousers separated by colour on rails. A small rail offers childrenswear and there’s a section in the corner full of bridalwear.
Mannequins in the window boast Amanda Wakeley dresses (normally known for retailing at over £1,000) for as little as £70 each.
Where does the money go?
Action for Children is hoping people in the Midlands will raise £20,000 to help them support some of the country’s most vulnerable children and young people. The store raised more than £1,000 on its launch night on Thursday October 10.
The name 1869 comes from the year the charity was founded when one of the first orphanages was opened in the UK. It was then known as the National Children’s Charity.
Today, there are nearly Action for Children services across the UK, helping children in every aspect of life in the UK, from disability and youth services to fostering and young carers. Find out more here
Charrice added: “Every single purchase will go towards helping vulnerable and disadvantage children across the UK, often in desperate situations – treating yourself to a new pair of shoes or party dress really could make the world of difference.
“We want every child in the country to have a safe and happy childhood and we’re so excited to be bringing the 1869 experience to the Midlands.”
Take a look at these new stores opening around Birmingham this autum:
Whereabouts is the store?
The store has opened in what used to be the O’Neills shop at Resorts World. This large unit was used as a virtual reality experience centre for a while before it closed and remained empty for some time.
It’s a pop-up store which is due to remain there until Christmas but Action for Children bosses hope it may stay well into 2020.
The store has been on tour around the UK since first opening in Watford and Norwich. So far, it has raised a total of £92,000.
Run by volunteers, many of whom are students from Solihull looking to gain retail experience and who have helped with the shop design and fittings.
The shop is volunteers, offering retail experience to students, and anyone looking for a way to meet new people and get involved with their community .
Ian Bennett, operations director of Resorts World Birmingham, said: “We are really excited to welcome the 1869 Action for Children pop-up, it’s a great addition to our retail mix that we think our guests will love.
“Action for Children does fantastic work and this is a brilliantly innovative idea that we’re delighted to support.”
New store launches in and around Birmingham
There’s also the first H&M HOME concept store opening in the city plus new designer children’s store Base too.
Action for Children in the Midlands
For 150 years, Action for Children has been helping disadvantaged children across the UK through intervening early to stop neglect and abuse, fostering and adoption,supporting disabled children, and by campaigning to make life better for children and families.
With some 476 services the charity improved the lives of more than 387,000 children, teenagers, parents and carers across the UK last year.
Local services run by Action for Children include several Children’s Centres at Cape Hill, Hillside, Greets Green, Friar Park and Oldbury. It also supports the Midlands Adoption service and Sandwell Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS).