The Power of a Merchandising Transformation……Oxfam Totnes

There is a delicate balance in a charity shop of offering the customer the opportunity to explore and have a good rummage but still presenting a well edited selection of departments. There are many charity shop fans that hark back to the good old days of charity shops where if you wanted to find something good you really had to rummage for it. Of course there are a still a few of these treasure trove shops around, but you sure have to look through a lot of items probably being more suited to a recycling bin than ending up in your wardrobe before you find that gem. So if a charity shop can manage to offer a great selection of stock but still give the customer the feel that they are still ‘hunting’ not shopping then they are on to a winner.

Always on the hunt for more merchandising inspiration, the Oxfam shop in Totnes kept on coming up as an ace example, they have plenty of fans! So I had a good mooch on their Facebook page and came across some amazing merchandising and best of all they had some before and after photos. Showing how they had gone from looking like a fairly standard shop to an Aladdin’s cave of treasures where every product is give a chance to shine and find a new home. I though it provided great inspiration to anyone wanting to transform their shop, so here’s a few pictures of the lovely shop before and after. To see more of their amazing displays check out their Facebook page

From this…


Ribbet collage


To this….




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7 thoughts on “The Power of a Merchandising Transformation……Oxfam Totnes

  1. It does look wonderful. At the risk of sounding sour, however, and apologies in advance to anyone who might take offence, if you check out their website there is a posting from two members of M&S merchandising team who have apparently spent a couple of days in the shop helping them out with their styling; most of us have to do without the help of the professionals!


    1. Hello there! My name is Devon Ingram, manager of this shop for the last eight years. Just for the record Mr Russell ‘sourpuss’ Bowes the M&S merchandising team visited our shop for four hours at the begining of this year…and re merchandised the contents of the wardrobe, nothing more. The before shots are from 2008, the most recent of the ‘after’ shots was just a few days ago.

      All the work in the photos was carried out over a period of eight years by the team and I, and on a very tight budget. These images show how the shop has changed and developed over the years, which has been, and still is dictated to by the stock we receive, so inevitably it is constantly evolving. I believe with drive, enthusiasm, a good eye for design and good management any one of us can achieve what we have in Totnes. I believe in giving 110% and nothing less when it comes to the work I undertake for Oxfam, and if that means working a little late or working the odd Sunday’, missing a day off, or a lunch break every now and again so we are able showcase our shop and its stock to maximise its potential, then it’s a gift worth giving in my book… At the end of the day it’s not rocket science, it’s just good retail.

      My job is to make as much money for the charity as I can using my skills and knowledge to develop a business based on trust, trust in knowing that we raise as much profit from donations gifted to us, trust we look after and nurture the legacy of all those people who give their precious time and experience to charities just like ours around the country, and trust that we work for the good of the cause to the best of our abilities, so donors, customers, volunteers, and those receiving the support of these charities benefit from all that hard work and passion, to do any less as a charity shop manager would be to do your charity a huge disservice.

      To everyone of you out there working your arses off for the charities you love, I salut you!

      Carry on, and change lives for the better…you do make a difference.

      Huge Hugs from Totnes, Devon Ingram. Oxfam Totnes. xXx


  2. Devon, I am sorry that you have interpreted my comments that way. No rudeness was intended, as I clearly pointed out.


    1. I’m sorry mr Bowes, but your inappropriate comment clearly appears to be sour grapes thinly disguised with apology , a clear case of not having the facts.
      Devon and his team have worked miricals with this store and should be nothing but praised for their efforts.


      1. I merely pointed out that the shop had professional help with their merchandising, to a greater or lesser degree, a fact which is not pointed out in the original posting. You may call it “sour grapes” if you wish. The fact remains that I clearly said that it was not intended to offend. Neither you nor Devon seem to have picked up on the fact that my first four words were “It does look wonderful”. I am actually thinking of contacting my local M&S to ask for their input on the charity shop that I work in myself. That’s not something I would consider doing did I not think that the end results were “wonderful”.


  3. Just to clarify Russell, M&S are not and has never been responsible for merchandising our shop, other than a four hour training session they facilitated with a few of our volunteers back at the begining of the year. Not to belittle their work, but it was an exchange of ideas and best practice which all parties came away with learning something new about visual merchandising. Of course we work in the charity sector and do not have the benefit of consistent stock lines, so inevitably the process varies somewhat from that of standard retail practice, but the fundamental rules still apply. Oxfam and M&S do have a very good relationship in which M&S have initiated some great in-store donor schemes and incentives to help Oxfam source some wonderful stock. It’s a relationship that is still developing, with in house visual merchandising training for Oxfam volunteers, and POS and window display support for shop teams…needless to say we are extremely lucky to have this facility. I whole heartedly would suggest forging these links with the larger retailers in your own town Russell as it can truly open up a whole host of training and support opportunities. I wish you all the very best with your shop Russell, and look forward to seeing how it develops in the months to come. All the very best, Devon Ingram (Shop Manager Totnes Standard Shop)


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