Introducing our new Ten Lives Op Shop!
Announcing the anticipated launch of our Ten Lives Cat Centre Op Shop in Hobart City.
ARTICLE BY: Freya Langford-Sidebottom, Ten Lives.
INTERVIEW WITH: Jonathan Harvey, Ten Lives Volunteer & Op Shop Coordinator.
Here at Ten Lives, our triple bottom line is simple: it’s all about the people, the planet, and the pussycats! One way that we can incorporate all three of these areas is with our animal welfare charity op shops!
We are excited to announce our new Hobart City Op Shop, with the grand opening due in Spring 2020. You can find us located at 222 Argyle Street, just two doors up from the Vinnie’s Op Shop, and complete with resident cat, of course.
Everyone loves an op shop, and it’s a great way to raise funds for our important organisation, to help give back to the community that supports us, and for us all to do our part in helping to protect the environment and reduce the amount of clothes and items that end up in landfill.
I had the pleasure to speak to Ten Lives Volunteer & Op Shop Coordinator, Jonathan Harvey, about this exciting new venture, and he had lots to share.
Why is this new op shop important to Ten Lives?
Our existing op shop in Margate generates much needed funds to help us do our work at the Centre, caring for our cats and kittens. For example, a bottle of Meloxican in the vet room costs, say $11, so if you buy 3 t-shirts at $3-$4 each from the op shop, that pays directly for an item in the vet room. It links in directly to helping our cats and kittens.
Opening a new op shop will allow us to continue on our path towards long-term sustainability, so that we can continue to provide our vital services for cats.
Also, it’s not just about money, either. Op shops benefit not just the organisation, but also the communities which the op shops service – and we have found that particularly at our existing store in Margate. Op shopping is very on-trend these days; everyone wants to op shop in terms of sustainability, but there are also those people who really need an op shop. It provides a valued service to people who can’t necessarily afford to just go out to any regular retail shop. In winter, being able to readily access and afford coats, blankets, bedding, etc. – it becomes a necessary service, and we are proud to be able to help the community in that respect.
The Op Shop also holds value to our wonderful volunteers who gift us their time and energy. Not every volunteer wants to come to the Centre and work with animals, but they might want to come to the Op Shop and contribute their time that way, so there’s many different benefits to having an op shop, and we are excited to open up opportunities like this to a wider community.
How are things going at the Margate Op Shop?
Our Margate Op Shop is “the little engine that could”! It continues to out-perform all projections. We had an expansion in winter last year and it is doing better than expected. It makes a substantial financial contribution for our organisation to continue its work caring for the cats.
The Margate Op Shop has been a vital part of our organisation since the get-go, has been around in some form or another for 40 years, previously in Blackmans Bay, and it is now very much cemented in the heart of the Margate community.
We also stayed open during COVID, with strict hygiene and social-distancing measures in place, of course, and it became a real life-line to people who weren’t otherwise able to go into other retail centres. The feedback we received just over the counter while we were down there was that people were so thankful that we were still open.
The Margate Op Shop benefits us in other ways as well: the in-house knowledge regarding op shops and our customers is a vital ingredient that we can rely on for assisting in our future op shops. Robyn Tacey and her Margate team have worked for many years in the op shop sector, and they have a real wealth of knowledge that we will be able to roll out to our other op shops going forward, so that knowledge base is really valuable to us too!
What are the benefits of this new Op Shop city location?
The new location is highly visible, and although the traffic is going “the wrong way”, we still expect it to be quite a head turner. Lots of traffic driving out of the city will hopefully see our windows and displays. So it raises our profile really well, gets our message out into the City because we are quite out of the way here at Selfs Point Road. Hopefully it will attract people into the Centre as well, and also onto our social media streams, and encourage people to follow us that way.
In addition to the Op Shop, at the back of the premises we also have a large warehouse. The Ten Lives shelter is desperately short of space for its cats, people and storage, and this warehouse will be a great help in that regard. It will also act as storing and sorting facility for both of our Op Shops.
What kind of atmosphere do you hope to achieve with the new Op Shop, and how do you want people to respond and feel when they walk in there?
I want it to be a welcoming space. It’s a destination, not just somewhere to go op shopping. We will of course have cats on site, and areas where Mum might be able to come and do some op shopping and the kids can play and look at the cat for adoption.
I want it to be an inviting space that’s a pleasure to shop in, and where you can also learn about Ten Lives and our messages.
Are you currently seeking volunteers to help with the running of the new Op Shop?
The resident cat will probably be supervising the store, but we are always looking for volunteers in all our roles at Ten Lives, and the Op Shop is no exception. It’s going to be very exciting for the team to be able to set up the shop themselves, we aren’t getting professional shop-fitters in, we are doing it all in-house. It’s very much a volunteer-community driven project. Our volunteers are being consulted on the set-up of the shop that they will eventually be working in.
What do you hope for the future of Ten Lives Op Shops?
My cold hard brief for the op shops is to help generate more funds for our important shelter work. It would be great if we could open more in the future as they help raise the awareness of our messages, that’s microchipping, containment, desexing and responsible ownership of cats and kittens. It gives us a wider and more visible platform to get these messages across, and at the end of the day, the cats are what it’s all about.
In terms of the community, it just gives them more options – different places to come and op shop so that op shopping in Hobart in general can be a really diverse and exciting experience.
As far as the planet, Ten Lives is very environmentally conscious, not just in regard to protecting wildlife from feral cats etc, but also in the way that we run our organisation on the ground level. As far as the op shops are concerned, and our contribution to the environment, there are things like stopping clothes and items going in to landfill, closing the loop in terms of fashion, so moving away from fast fashion, up-cycling and recycling our garments, either for re-sale or taking the clothing that is unsuitable for donation and putting them into rag bags that can then be used for a number of different reasons. For example a lot of factories around the place use them for cleaning and that sort of thing, so its very important to us that nothing goes to waste, which I think resonates really with the Tasmanian vibe of sustainability – clean and green!
What can people do to help?
We ask you to send in all your unwanted & high-quality clothing and household item donations that are in good, clean condition. Some people in our community need a bargain or a reasonably priced item and by donating your quality items you’re helping us to help them!
You can also support us by simply coming along to our op shops and making a purchase, whether you BUY FROM or DONATE TO our Op Shops, you will be helping a cat in need as ALL PROCEEDS go back to helping the kitties at Ten Lives.