Reaching Out to Fashionistas Helps Save Lives


Lifeline Hunter Central Coast is on a mission to change the face of charity shopping – and help save lives. The organisation is looking to increase the number of people who shop in their stores by reaching out to new customers who might previously have never considered visiting a Lifeline fashion outlet.

Part of that process has been to launch the Label for Lives campaign, which urges people to donate their much-loved, but no longer needed, high-end fashion to Lifeline. The highly coveted labels will be sold through Lifeline’s Designer Depot, which recently relocated into a new boutique behind their existing Hamilton North store.

Retail operations manager Jason Fox said people often didn’t want to part with that special piece of fashion, which they may have paid hundreds or even thousands of dollars for, only to see it end up on a $2 rack. But by donating it to a charity that will actually appreciate its value, the former owner of the fashion item can be assured it will end up being loved by another fashionista, while also raising crucial funds for a worthy cause.

“A couple of staff members and I were talking about the good things that we hold onto in our wardrobe. We all had something in our wardrobes that we were hesitant to donate, it didn’t fit us anymore, it was really expensive, but we didn’t want to donate them traditionally as they could end up on a $2 rack somewhere,” Jason said.

“So we wanted to make a commitment to our customers – gift that one piece to us and we will sell it for what its actual value is, and you can be happy knowing your good product that you’re never going to wear again will go to benefit suicide prevention and crisis support.”

Jason said they have had a wonderful response from customers and donors since launching the campaign last month, with the collection of women’s clothes, shoes and accessories including brands such as Tiffany, Louis Vitton, Camilla & Marc, Alannah Hill, Mark Jacobs, and Michael Kors.

“We’ve got some amazing products coming through, we’ve got some beautiful Chanel shoes, we’ve got Valentino shoes, we have gorgeous Carla Zampatti dresses, the list goes on.

“People are proudly saying they bought it from the Designer Depot, they’re actually proud to post on their Instagram and their Facebook ‘Look what I found at the Lifeline Designer Depot’, rather than hiding that by saying ‘I bought that from a charity shop, don’t tell anyone’ and that’s kind of cool.”

Aside from the Designer Depot campaign, Jason has been using his 30-year background in retail to help change the image of charity shopping and increase Lifeline’s customer base. Lifeline Hunter Central Coast relies on revenue from its fashion and retail stores to help fund its telephone crisis support and face to face counselling services.

“We’ve had Lifeline stores in the Hunter and Newcastle since the early 80s, and we’ve got really loyal fantastic customers. But what we need to do is expand our services – we need to attract new customers to our stores, people that wouldn’t necessarily shop in a charity shop.

“We want those guys to come into our stores and actually feel like they’re in a store that they can relate to, that’s how we get growth in our revenue through the stores, and that’s how we can actually expand on our suicide prevention and crisis support services.”

The new look Designer Depot is open 10am to 3pm every day at 54 Clyde Street, Hamilton North.

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