“Following my dreams”

Chelsea’s career journey with Rowcroft’s retail team

From the get-go, Chelsea Brown dreamed of running a boutique. It was top of her ‘to do’ list since her days as an undergraduate studying for a fashion degree at the University of the West of England and through her subsequent first job as a visual merchandising coordinator with M&S in Exeter. When she made the move to Rowcroft’s retail team, the hospice fully supported her ambitions, helping her to develop her career and giving her the skills and confidence for her current role as manager of Rowcroft’s boutique and café in Churston. Here, Chelsea explains how, with a little help from the hospice, she’s been able to follow her dreams and achieve her ultimate goal.

Developing a career

“My first role with Rowcroft five years ago was as ‘floating’ assistant manager – I rotated between many of the shops – particularly our boutiques – supporting where I was needed. I later took on the position of assistant manager for the Chelston shop and café, and subsequently became the deputy manager at Totnes where I deputised in the manager’s absence. After building my skills and experience through these roles, I applied for the position of manager for the Churston café and shop. I was delighted to be offered the job as my goal from the beginning was to head up and develop my own store. I love that I can use my visual merchandising skills to help drive sales, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to work in and support the local community.”

Support and mentoring

“I have received valuable advice, information, and support from my retail colleagues, and this has helped me to develop my career. I have been fortunate to work alongside some fabulous mentors, especially Maddie, the Totnes shop manager, who has been brilliant in pushing me to develop my skills, supporting me to trust in my ability, and giving me the confidence to apply for the manager position.”

Training opportunities

“I have also received some really useful training, such as my Level 2 Food Safety and Hygiene course, Allergen Awareness course, social media training to help run the Rowcroft Ella’s and Rowcroft Retail Instagram. I’ve also benefited from a full range of other training that includes health and safety, lifting and handling and fire awareness training.”

A great atmosphere

“I love the vibe in the Churston café and boutique. Our café provides a welcoming space to meet with friends or to meet new people while enjoying delicious food and drinks, and our boutique sells good quality clothing and bric-a-brac. It’s a small friendly community environment and we act as a point of contact for family and friends who have lost loved ones – many of whom were cared for by the hospice. We hugely appreciate everyone’s donations of quality items and we let them know how much their items will help the hospice.”

Variety is the spice of life

“My role is busy and varied: one minute I can be cooking meals food and making salads, the next I might be deciding on the best creative ways to display our gorgeous clothing. Or I might be organising rotas for staff and volunteers or sorting and pricing donations. My goal every day is to create a fantastic customer experience for new and regular customers alike.

“The best thing about my role is all the people – whether it’s the retail team, volunteers, or customers. Everyone is friendly and really wants to be here to support the hospice for their own reasons.”

Sustainable shopping

“The boutique supports sustainable shopping by removing the demand for new products. We supply good quality brands of clothing at great prices, and we offer choices that don’t impact negatively on the environment. Buying second hand means giving items another chance, reducing the amount of waste going to landfill and decreasing the need to create new products.”

Supporting local patients and their loved ones

“As a local charity, all the profits from the donations and purchases of our preloved items go towards raising vital funds for the hospice, which can then provide care for people in our community who are living with life-limiting illnesses and who are facing the most difficult times.”

What Rowcroft means

“When I think of Rowcroft, I think of my nan, my grandad and my great uncle and the amazing care and support that they and the rest of my family received. I want to do the best job I can to make sure other families like mine can receive that too. For me, my work is a way of giving back.”

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