Deputy Style Editor Lottie Moore interviews Neko, manager of Treasure, a boutique charity shop in the heart of Stokes Croft, raising funds for the local community.
Image: Treasure. Neko, Store Manager in Stokes Croft
Why did you feel there was a need in the local area for Treasure?
While Stokes Croft is seen as a cool, edgy and creative area, it has a dark side. Surrounding neighbourhoods are deprived and lots of people struggle with poverty and social isolation. Drug use and sexual exploitation are also commonplace. We want to particularly welcome in women who are at risk, helping to offer a safe space where they can enjoy meeting other women and do something simple and creative that makes them feel good.
So how did you get started?
The charity shop originally started up about six years ago by a couple of friends who were part of Love Bristol, a small Christian charity active in the local area. They saw that a charity shop could be a great way to raise some money to help local people and projects. They set up our Treasure Chest Fund, which gives the profits from the shop to applicants through micro-finance grants up to £500.
Stokes Croft is filled with charity shops, but Treasure certainly stands out. How has it grown since its conception?
When we first started, we were in a small space next to the Elemental Collective, but soon outgrew it and moved to our current premises across the road. I came onboard as manager in 2016 with a vision to revamp the shop inside and out - putting us on the map by doing a mural on the two storeys above our shopfront and making the shopping experience feel fresh and inviting.
How does Treasure benefit the local community?
On a personal level, I love clothes and fashion, but deep down I am passionate about working with women, fostering creativity and promoting self-confidence and self- worth. This comes through my work, as we have an all female team of staff and volunteers. We also just launched a weekly women's group called Tea Time Thursdays where we invite ladies to come and enjoy a cuppa and sweet treat while doing craft activity or a bit of pampering. It's great to be able to be a community hub where we can offer something more.
What is the coolest/wackiest piece Treasure has ever been donated… who did it come from, what was/is its history?
We are blessed to have a handful of amazing people who regularly donate incredible stuff to us. Recently we have also had a couple of generous boutiques (Fox & Feather and Portobella) that have given us their end of season stock. Once we had a lady donate a collection of early 90's silk shirts, which the couture designer had also made 200 shirts for Paul McCartney's world tour around that same time. Very collectible!
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How can students get involved?
Donate: We are always looking for more clothing donations and our shop is popular with students, so if any of your readers are having a spring closet clear out - please think of us! We always need more men's stuff, it feels like guys tend to shop less and wear their stuff out. We primarily sell clothing, shoes, accessories and homewares as well as a small amount of books, CDs, DVDs and vinyl. We try to sort through donations and sell good quality stock.
Volunteer: Our shop is always in need of female volunteers to join our small team of shop assistants. Typical duties include sorting donations, prepping new stock and dealing with customers. We would love students to get involved who are interested in style, fashion, photography, marketing, and social media as well as those passionate about social injustice and being a positive influence in the community. Interested women can email us at email@example.com for more info.
Featured Image: Treasure