Review: Ipswich’s new charity shop, Zest

The new Zest store on Queen’s Street in Ipswich is turning the charity shop stereotype on its head. The shop is part of the St Elizabeth Hospice and will raise funds for their work supporting young adults living with progressive and terminal illnesses.

I went along for a visit last week and when I arrived at the store front it was unlike any other charity shop I’d seen. The glass fronting with brightly coloured logo looked modern and quirky, a breath of fresh air in the charity shopping scene!

Inside the shop was spacious and full of natural light. As we all know, most charity shops pack too many items into a small space, often making it uninviting to browse. The complete opposite can be said of the Zest store – I was very eager to get browsing those rails!
Each section has been cleverly colour co-ordinated and only the most trend-led items have been selected for the shop. I saw cute pinafore dresses, an ASOS jumpsuit, cropped denim jackets and summer dresses – items that will appeal to the shop’s younger demographic, and mirror the group it raises funds for.

The shop has been laid out using modern visual merchandising techniques that will rival any high street chain store. Items have been displayed in wire boxes, on shelves with wooden backgrounds, and there are plenty of cacti and succulents dotted around to appeal to millennials.

There’s a mix of preloved books, clothes, records and accessories, as well as new items including stationery (a big yaas from the stationery hoarder typing this!), jewellery and prints from upcoming artists.

I ended up purchasing a white summery top with a blue stitched detail (I was imagining myself on a gorgeous Greek island wearing this…but a photo of myself on Walberswick beach will have to do!).

And a super cute “Dog Lady” card (yup, that’s me) which has a bone necklace attached. These would make lovely little gifts – something which Zest has in abundance.

The new shop aims to engage young people in charity shopping and to get them interested in raising money and volunteering. And with this new concept store I think they are certainly going the right way about it. I’ve got a Zest loyalty card to prove it!