The Shop Upstairs stocks vintage, retro and high street fashion as well as home starter packs for first time buyers, renters, or students and will showcase products from local designers and artists – with profits donated back to Weston Hospicecare.
Through a partnership with the hospice, Weston College students have been involved in the development, launch and management of the shop, and are responsible for recruiting and training volunteers, keeping the shelves stocked and managing the budget, marketing and promotions.
Will Morris, part of the student team, said: “We have a say in everything, with the team at High Street and the hospice supporting us throughout. It’s a brilliant project to be part of, something I’m really proud of and I know everyone will love it. We asked people in the community what they wanted to see in the shop and that’s what we’ve given them!
“It’s a great spot for students, especially those who are new to the town and looking to set up a home, or student accommodation. Plus, we’ve got a great range of clothing to appeal to younger people who are sometimes limited on shopping options in the town.”
Linda Kelly, Head of Retail at Weston Hospicecare said: “We’ve now got the perfect shopping location on High Street, with the addition of The Shop Upstairs we have something for everyone and both floors will be distinctly different, catering for everyone who comes through the door.”
‘From fancy dress to text books’
The Shop Upstairs will regularly showcase new designers, or product ranges – from fancy dress and text books for students, to unique accessories for the home, created and designed by local people. Many of the products that will be showcased will come from college students themselves and it will be run daily by student volunteers, making The Shop Upstairs a long term development opportunity for young people in the town.
Linda added: “We’ve been astounded by the dedication of the students who’ve taken this project on with enthusiasm and professionalism. They’ve been out recruiting volunteers, designing the branding and website for the shop, are constantly thinking up ideas for stock and ways to promote the store locally.
“Opening a new business, whatever that might be, can be a daunting experience, even for the professionals sometimes! So this has been a great introduction into the world of business and retail for them. We’re thrilled to have been able to help.”
Andy Alton, Partnership Manager Higher Education at Weston College, said: “The project with Weston Hospicecare has been beneficial on so many levels. I am sure the students would agree that the experiences that they are gaining from this will be invaluable for their future career aspirations. This coupled with working for an amazing cause make it all the more worthwhile and we would like to thank Weston Hospicecare for involvement within this partnership.”
Help the Hospices annual retail conference will be taking place tomorrow (Wednesday 30 April.) You can be part of the day by following the hashtag #HTHRetailConf.