Meet five stylish shops at The Village that give back to the community.

Words: Georgia Rickard
Photography: iStock

Looking to get your retail fix at the Village? Here’s how you can shop for charity and then feel good while you buy!

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Adrienne and the Misses Bonney St Ives

Step into the stylish, warmly lit interiors of Adrienne and the Misses Bonney St Ives and it feels a million miles from the disadvantaged slums of Cambodia – but there’s an unexpected link between the two.

“This store has been known for its beautiful baby wear for generations, it’s only appropriate that it supports children who are so far removed from any luxuries in life,” says store manager, Sylvia Andronicus. In Asia, the concept of public schooling is not common, she says – “kids are required to pay for their education, and going to school is quite expensive.

“For the past three or four years we’ve been supporting the charity Steps With Hope, which supports the Christian Cambodian School. This school provides an education and safe refuge for some of the poorest children in Cambodia, as well as a hot meal each day.”

So next time you’re browsing the store’s beautiful baby blankets, scented candles and lovely sleepwear, you can feel good knowing that a percentage of your purchase goes where it’s really needed. The store also regularly donates products to the fundraisers of two local schools, St Emond’s School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and St Lucy’s School for Children with Disabilities.

Support the cause by shopping: “We don’t promote our charity activity – that’s not important,” says Sylvia. “The best thing you can do is simply keep supporting our store, so we can keep supporting these schools.”

Bakers Delight

Everyone loves Bakers Delight – and co-owners of the St Ives store, Hiren and wife Dhruma Patel want everyone to enjoy it, even those who can’t afford to. “Five nights a week we give away all our leftover bread,” says Dhruma. Leftovers are divided up amongst different charities on different days – on Fridays, for example, it’s St Vinnies. On other days, local churches pick up bread to distribute to the local homeless population and nearby orphanages. “It’s nice to give back,” adds Hiren.

The couple also participate in Bakers Delight’s annual ‘bundraiser’ whereby, in the weeks leading up to Easter, one dollar from every six-pack of hot cross buns sold is donated to the Children’s Hospital. “We do the same at Christmas, with fruit mince tarts,” he says.

Every Mothers Day, they also sell finger buns with pink icing to fundraise for the Breast Cancer Network Australia. “This year, we raised and donated $2323.40,” Hiren says proudly.

If that’s not enough, the couple also donate products to people hosting fundraiser events for the Cancer Council, give away gift vouchers to school trivia nights and offer generous discounts on products for schools and churches looking to fundraise. Wow!

Support the cause by shopping: Any purchase from this store will help support bread distribution among the homeless – but we also really like the idea of charitable hot cross buns at Easter!

Blue Illusion

You’re probably familiar with the French-inspired offerings at Australian chain Blue Illusion: beach-chic clothing, eclectic jewellery and beautiful homewares, arranged in a light, airy space of chandeliers and whitewashed floorboards.

But Blue Illusion isn’t like most other fashion chains. For starters, it’s owner operated, by a husband and wife team named Donna and Danny Guest (and with 120 stores around Australia, that’s saying something). The chain is also heavily involved in the local community, says Karen Evans, 2IC in-store at St Ives. “We recently did a three-hour fashion parade and afternoon tea for Pymble Uniting Church, where a percentage of all clothes sold raised money for a disadvantaged school in central NSW,” she says. “We also recently raised money for The Ku-ring-gai Lantern Club, on behalf of the Royal Deaf and Blind Institute.

“Additionally we have ongoing charity drives, where once every three months we donate up to 15 per cent of sales to our partners, which include World Vision, National Breast Cancer Foundation, Dress For Success, Bali Life, Red Cross Australia, and the Smith Family.” In recent years, it’s estimated that Blue Illusion has donated in excess of $500,000 per annum. “We really do a lot!”

Support the cause by shopping: Simply keep shopping at Blue Illusion, and ask in store about upcoming fashion parades – they’re rarely advertised.

Witchery

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One woman dies from ovarian cancer in Australia every 10 hours, and 15 years ago, the people at Witchery became so determined about that statistic that they began a partnership with the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. Today, for each white shirt sold during the company’s White Shirt Campaign, held annually in April, Witchery will donate everything except GST to the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. The brand has raised over $7.5 million so far.

“It’s really lovely to work somewhere where philanthropy is a consideration,” says customer service assistant Amelia Hodgson. “The White Shirt campaign is a great way to raise awareness for people who are affected by this disease in the community.” It doesn’t hurt that their clothes are rather lovely, either.

Support the cause by shopping: Visit ocrf.com.au to donate directly to the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation, or stay tuned for April 2017 for the next White Shirt Campaign.

Priceline

Shop for shampoo and raise money for the Victor Chang Cardiac Institute at the same time? Sounds good to us! You can at Priceline, confirms store supervisor Sonia Karki. “Every year we have one month where we raffle off hampers to raise money for the Priceline Sisterhood Foundation,” she explains. “This organisation raises money for five different charities – the Children First Foundation, Fight Alzheimers Save Australia, the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation, the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute and the Post And Antenatal Depression Association Inc.

“In every catalogue, we offer one or two products whereby one dollar of the purchase price goes towards the Sisterhood Foundation, too.”

“It’s a really nice feeling to be raising money for so many worthwhile charities.”

Support the cause by shopping: Pick up a catalogue in store – they change every two weeks – and look out for the specially marked products supporting the Sisterhood Foundation. You can also donate your spare change at the checkout.