December 2, 2023


Science Of Woman

Sustainable purchasing on the Charity SuperMkt — That’s Not My Age

4 min read

Completely happy shopper on the Charity SuperMkt


Maria Chenoweth has labored in charity retail since she left college. Now aged 54 and the CEO of Traid, along with designer and entrepreneur Wayne Hemingway, she’s spearheading a brand new idea in garments purchasing: the Charity SuperMkt. ‘What we’re doing is making a model of kinds. We would like all retail charities collectively below one umbrella for restricted instances in several areas.’ Beginning off with a residency at the old Topshop in Brent Cross Procuring Centre, the idea has now moved on to Studying ( till 30 April 2023) and might be popping-up in Manchester on the 3- 4 June 2023 (particulars HERE). By gathering a bunch of  retailers collectively in a single place, the purpose is to take charity purchasing to the following stage; each to guard the setting and scale back the necessity to make new garments that use the earth’s pure sources. ‘ Our mission is to get as many individuals as attainable sporting second-hand garments,’ she continues,  ‘And to assist the those that make our garments the world over.’


Maria Chenowith photograph: Bel Jacobs


In her mid-50s, Maria is hitting her stride. In addition to her senior positions at Traid and the Charity SuperMkt, she is a fellow of the Open College. ‘My profession in charity retail began 30 years in the past as a volunteer in my native charity store. It’s a really privileged place to have gone from volunteer to CEO. I’ve seen a lot occur and alter,’ she says.  Not solely is she eager on educating the general public, she herself, returned to schooling in her late 40s. ‘I left college with no {qualifications} and went straight to work,’ she says, ‘My chair requested me what coaching I wished and I sarcastically replied, ‘Get an MBA.’ And he or she stated, ‘Okay’. I utilized, pondering they wouldn’t settle for somebody with no schooling. However the Open College accepted me on the idea of my work. Bloody hell! That was the quickest studying curve.’


Photographs: Charity SuperMkt

During the last couple of years, charity retailers have seen a surge in gross sales pushed by elevated footfall and new clients.  Although Maria has a phrase of warning about green-washing, ‘The style manufacturers are beginning to see us as a menace. So, they’re leaping on the bandwagon by providing second-hand garments,’ she provides. ‘And a few are providing platforms for resale as effectively. Though they’ll make a loss on the resale platforms, they’re doing it as a result of they’re involved in regards to the influence that second-hand clothes could have on their very own business. So that they’d reasonably seize a bit of market and make a loss on it.’

‘What I really need folks to consider after they’re shopping for garments below the guise of sustainability from these unsustainable guys, is that it’s green-washing,’ Maria explains. ‘They’re simply perpetuating the quick trend business which is maintaining folks’s wages down.’  She cites the next instance, “[Some chains] have these banks the place you possibly can take your outdated socks and issues, and so they state that they offer cash to charities. Once you donate, you’re supplied a voucher to purchase extra new garments – so it’s not likely sustainable, is it? It’s only a gimmick to promote extra.’


Procuring sustainably


Finishing her MBA took Maria seven years, ‘As a single father or mother of three kids – my dad and mom died whereas [I was] learning – there was quite a lot of life stuff thrown at me which, on reflection, was like a black comedy.’ She nonetheless can’t consider what she achieved. ‘I by no means actually valued schooling however it will possibly make you see issues in a really completely different approach. It could possibly change your thoughts, how you’re employed and function and the way you speak. I believe it’s an unbelievable expertise. I can’t categorical how beneficial it’s so long as you’re open to alter.’


Photographs; CharitySuperMkt


Second-hand is at all times in fashion


Working so intently with clothes, Maria has developed a transparent sense of what she likes. A few of her favorite items are from the 50s: ‘A very nice black, sleeveless jumper from St Michael’s – even the label seems fifties – purchased within the North London Hospice in Muswell Hill. Then I’ve obtained this Fifties cardigan jacket in blue and cream. It’s obtained one pocket and a pleasant button and it’s actually cosy. I discovered it in Harrogate while at a convention. The final, is a extremely pretty taffeta costume – purple with a blue shimmer. The highest had been ruined and so I had it made right into a skirt.” Since hitting her fifties, Maria doesn’t care a lot what others assume, “I’m not scared to put on odd issues. I find it irresistible. I do know myself effectively and I’m very proud of my fashion. Eventually!’


Discover out extra in regards to the Charity SuperMkt HERE.



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