Birthday celebration for St Albans’ Raindrops on Roses charity shop

Raindrop on Roses celebrate their 1st Birthday by handing out cupcakes to every paying customer. Sho

Raindrop on Roses celebrate their 1st Birthday by handing out cupcakes to every paying customer. Shop Volunteer Ann Anthoney, Retail Director Tere Harrington, ABA Marketing Exec Daisy Turner and customer Emma Durbidge - Credit: Archant

A day of birthday celebrations saw dedicated volunteers and loyal customers thanked for helping a unique gift shop raise £20,000 for charity in its first year of trading.

It has been a mightily successful 12 months for Raindrops on Roses, which opened up on High Street, St Albans, last November to support Herts Against Cancer.

Since then its tills have not stopped ringing and its shelves have been stocked and re-stocked with handmade gift ideas.

And to mark its one-year anniversary, volunteers gathered at the shop last Thursday while a cheque was presented to the local charity to purchase software to improve the detection and accurate diagnosis of cancer.

Retail director Tere Harrington said: “The last year at Raindrops on Roses has been amazing and we’ve learnt lots about what people look for in a gift. We’ve had some really lovely feedback from customers about the shop, its products and its cause.

“We are now seeing customers coming back time and again, some even telling us it’s their first port of call for gifts.”

Founder Alison Bainbridge came up with the idea not only to challenge the traditional idea of charity shops but also to offer local craftspeople a space to sell their products.

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Her company ABA Research initially helped pay to keep the business afloat, and during the last year employees from the firm have put in 3,283 hours to run the shop along with a team of 35 regular volunteers.

Tere added: “We’ve been so touched by the way the people of St Albans have taken our shop to their hearts and we hope this holds true for their Christmas shopping.

“After all, what could be more in tune with the season than great gifts that really do keep on giving long after the decorations come down?”

They hope to boost their fundraising total by taking £20,000 in sales before Christmas, which will take them a step closer to the £50,000 needed to purchase potentially life-saving state-of-the-art scanner software.

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Kati Kemp, 31, of Bernards Heath, St Albans, makes handmade cards and personalised prints

How did you get involved in Raindrops on Roses? “When I first saw the shop I thought it was a fantastic idea but at the time I hadn’t even set up my business. My background is in design and I had just had my daughter and thought ‘What am I going to do?’.

“I just started making a few handmade cards and I took them in and they took the range up straight away. They sold really well in store so I started expanding and came up with personalised prints.”

What do you like most about the shop? “It is very forward-thinking and I love the fact my products are sold in store.

“In terms of setting up my business it has been a really great platform to enable me to do that and has given me the confidence to expand it.”

Jen Roffe,39, of Bernards Heath, St Albans, makes framed limited edition typographical prints

How did you get involved in Raindrops on Roses? “On the opening day I went in because I had seen they were looking for local craftspeople so I bit the bullet and showed them photos of my work. They placed a little order pre-Christmas and they sold out in a week. Since then they have ordered from me every month.”

“It was just a hobby as I have always loved typography and hand lettering so for people to like my stuff and want to buy it is just amazing.”

What do you like most about the shop? “It is an amazing opportunity for people to donate to charity in a different way. It’s not just going into a charity shop and buying second-hand things but buying special things you can’t get anywhere else.

“It is a lovely edition to St Albans and I think there should be more shops like this throughout the country.”