The best charity shops in South Manchester where you can get a Mulberry handbag for £ 50

The sun has risen. It’s a lovely day in the leafy southern suburbs of Manchester and you spot a bag in a store window. It’s exciting. It’s a Mulberry handbag, something you’ve wanted for months now.

An extra dose of happiness runs through you when you see the price – £ 55! What a great deal? How could that be! It’s a charity store, but they are the best charity stores around.

MEN spent a day in Withington, Didsbury and Chorlton where designer donations are rife and many shops are relaunching as “boutiques”.

READ MORE: Popular pasta restaurant Sugo opens third location in Greater Manchester

South Manchester journalist Hana Kelly spoke to managers, volunteers and business assistants to bring you this guide to the best charity shops in South Manchester.

1. RSPCA Manchester and Salford branch, Withington

RSPCA store, Withington

I started our trawl at the Withington RSPCA where they specialize in vintage and retro housewares and clothing. It is a fairly small store but it is well laid out and the staff made every customer feel welcome.

We asked the manager what was the weirdest item ever given away, it turns out that is a very touchy question for the charity staff as they deal with a lot of weird stuff. For Mike, it was a “canine gimp mask”. It’s old.

We talked about how the area is known for the boutique style of charity shops and Mike agreed, telling me about some of the most impressive items that had been donated.

He said: “We are aiming to make this one of the city’s thrift stores. The downtown vibe but without the price tags.

“A house was taken over because [the man] went to jail and everything in it went to us. We had a set of cutlery from the Palace of Versailles and a Burberry umbrella, as well as other things ”.

Mike couldn’t be sure what price they had sold the Versailles set for, but assured me he was gone in an instant. Online they sell used for between £ 50 and £ 500. What about Burberry umbrellas? A solid £ 200.

2. Oxfam, Withington

Specializes in men's and home clothing

When I asked Christy, the manager, what was the strangest item they had given away, she laughed and said she should ‘keep it clean’ before telling me that they had a lot of simple shoes. I asked if they had ever managed to make a pair of them and she laughed again. I suppose not.

This Oxfam specializes in books and men’s clothing and seeing designer labels on the shelves is so mundane that Christy couldn’t think of the best. Instead, she told me about her favorite gift.

She said: “A book by Darwin that we sold for £ 220. We had volume two of The Origin of Species, not volume one. To have both would cost £ 2,000.

Christy thinks Withington is the best place for charity shops and says it’s because of the students.

“We are very grateful. [In lockdown] we continued to receive donations. We took pity on them. The students in this field are fantastic.

“We are very lucky to have students. They give so much.

3. Spirit, Didsbury

Specializes in children's affairs
Spirit, Didsbury

After exhausting the shops in Withington, I followed the natural progression of Wilmslow Road and headed for Didsbury.

I entered Mind and chatted with the manager, Louise. She told me that they specialize in the children’s business because there is a toy store right next door, but anything vintage is a safe seller. I was starting to notice the emergence of a theme.

The most unusual thing she had had was a vintage dresser. Louise couldn’t remember the reason it was being sold, but assumed they wouldn’t use it for its original purpose.

She said: “A vintage dresser, with older or vintage items, they get used to something else. People want weirdness. They don’t want to be standard.

“A lot of city centers have lost their individuality and vintage is unusual,” she added.

“I think people like nostalgia too.”

The most expensive item donated to this store was a saxophone. Unfortunately it was not sold in store and was sent to eBay but still sold for the fair price of £ 300.

4. Barnardo’s, Didsbury

Barnardo’s, Didsbury

Directly across from Mind is Barnardo’s and Kate, the manager, was more than happy to talk about the wonderful items donated. Barbour jackets and designer handbags are common, she says, but sell out quickly. The strangest object she had encountered was a didgeridoo.

At the moment there is an Aspinal of London bag in very good condition in the shop window for sale at £ 150, new, these bags go for over £ 550.

5. Sue Ryder, Didsbury

Specializing in vintage and retro items
Sue Ryder, Didsbury

Further down Wilmslow Road is Sue Ryder. Now, I might be biased, but this shop has my vote. In addition to the beautiful retro furnishings and an incredible set of hand-painted art deco plates, manager Claire Hutchinson was able to show me a Paul Smith dress on sale at £ 12 and a Mulberry handbag at £ 55. It took me a long time not to buy the dress.

A quick Google told me that the new Mulberry bags sell for around £ 1,000 and even on eBay they cost £ 200. Meanwhile, vintage Paul Smith dresses on eBay are scarce, but at least double the price of the theft from the charity shop, with some running into the hundreds.

Claire told me that such gifts are not uncommon in this shop.

She said: “We are really lucky with our donations. A donor had been to a Sue Ryder hospice, and they donated an Alexander McQueen leather jacket and a Burberry dress.

She thinks shopping in charity stores is special.

“There is the joy of finding this piece and it is for charity.

“It’s not just about clothes. It’s about being able to spot something.

6. Oxfam, Chorlton

Louboutin shoes at Oxfam, Chorlton
Louboutin shoes at Oxfam, Chorlton

For Principal Joanne Maylott, the strangest object she had unwrapped was a stuffed kitten in a real fur basket. It’s old.

However, other than the weird cat adornments, this Oxfam seemed like the place to go if you like shoes. Currently unlisted, this Oxfam has a pair of Gucci sneakers, Louboutin sneakers, and (of course) a few pairs of Dr. Martens waiting to grace the store.

Although Joanne cannot tell me what they would be sold for yet, Oxfam has a process. The price would be compared to eBay and then lowered.

Her favorite piece to be in the store? A “22 karat gold pocket watch from 1909, for £ 500”.

In this store, housewares are their biggest seller, but people are very excited about the shoes.

7. Reach out to the community, Chorlton

Manager Becky Elliot stands outside Reach to the Community Chorlton
Reaching out to the community, Chorlton

It seems that if you want to find the weird and the wonderful, Reach Out to the Community is the store to visit. Becky Elliot, co-founder and head of sales and finance, said their list of wacky items is sometimes unbelievable. From the jacuzzi to the kitchen sink.

Becky added, “We used to lose property at a bar in the village and we had a full Freddie Mercury PVC outfit.”

Asked about designer brands, Becky replied that it was mostly men’s clothing.

“We get so many from Ralph Lauren, Armani, Fred Perry and quite often most of them are still new. “We get it quite often, there’s a £ 40 Calvin Klein coat.

On top of that, the shop has in the past donated Manchester United youth player kits.

“Two united suits of young players, we sold them on eBay – one brought in £ 700,” Becky said.

8. RSPCA Manchester and Salford branch, Chorlton

A showcase at RSPCA Chorlton
A showcase at RSPCA Chorlton

At this second RSPCA, manager Tiffany said the strangest donation she had received was “cat underwear, rainbow cat clothes and panties.”

Along with the feline theme of this RSPCA, the store receives its fair share of designer goodies. Tiffany remembers selling a Burberry coat for £ 85 and a Michael Kors handbag, which, in a strange twist of fate, was stolen and recovered, then sold for £ 45.

However, according to Tiffany, they are not the best sellers.

She said: “As soon as you get Dr Martens, Adidas, Barbour, go.”

These marks are regularly given and never last in this store.

This store is starting to specialize in vintage and retro items as well as silverware which Tiffany says sells out very quickly.

It would be difficult to separate this store from the RSPCA in Withington as these two stores, along with the other three in Manchester, rotate their stock every three weeks, with all profits going to the Salford branch of the RSPCA.

It is clear that charity shops are evolving, moving towards vintage or retro collections, pretending to be shops.

The average charity shopper is no longer a city chick, but young people looking for bargains. While there is a market for people who buy second-hand items for resale, store workers are just happy that their stores are well stocked and the flow of customers is increasing.

If you’re looking for a good deal, something special and don’t mind rummaging the shelves, then Didsbury, Withington and Chorlton are the places to beat.

I would take the Paul Smith dress, put the Alexander McQueen jacket on top, accessorize the Louboutin sneakers and have a fabulous time.

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