The lockdown caused by COVID-19 has proven many things, one of them being that going digital is a necessity. With retail stores finally able to open in the next couple of days, these past few months have been an equivocal test for retailers around the country, with the majority of them relying on their e-commerce presence to carry them through. 

But what about charity shops? As a donation service that is dependant on footfall, the last couple of months have meant that they've lost out on the possibility of hundreds of pounds worth of charitable funding. And with major sporting events that provide motive for donations – e.g the London Marathon – cancelled this year, the effects of charity shop closures have been felt now more than ever. 

However, we welcome onto our soapbox Thrift+, the e-commerce charity shop that has come to our philanthropic aid like a digital Mother Teresa. In short, you send off your unwanted gladrags to the Thrift+ HQ, they list it for you and when it sells, you receive 33% back as credits for the site (they've also partnered with Farfetch so you can receive credits for there) along with another 33% going straight to the charity of your choice. We spoke to Thrift+ founder, Joe Metcalfe to find out more. 

For those who don't know the platform, can you explain what Thrift+ is?
Thrift+ makes it easy to donate your best second-hand clothes to your favourite charity. Order a ThriftBag, fill it up and we do the rest! Your chosen charity earns 33% of the sales, and you earn 33% back as credits to spend online.

How do you see Thrift+ changing the second-hand clothing industry?
Our mission is to help people to shop less new. We are creating a place where you shop second-hand with the confidence of shopping new - where you know the items have been quality checked, and where you have a proper returns policy if you wish to return. By focusing on quality and service, we hope to attract people to second-hand shopping who haven't tried it before.

Do you think there's a stigma with charity-shop shopping, and if so how do you think Thrift+ can dispel it?
I think that it is the experience and enjoyment of physically browsing charity shops that people love. But, the reality is that most people don't have much time and find it quicker and easier to shop online. 

Has there been an increase of members during the pandemic?
We introduced a home collection service in response to the lockdown, and we have seen our donations grow by 10x!

How do you see Thrift+ growing in the next couple of years?
Within our team we say that our aim is to be the 'Asos of second-hand shopping'. We hope to be the app that everyone has on their phone right there next to Ebay.

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