Stocked with vintage clothes, one-off designs and accessories, Red Cross Shops are a fashion-lover's dream. However, with no guarantee exactly what will turn up on the racks, it can sometimes be tricky to nail down the perfect item.

There’s one simple way to make sure you find something you love, says Jan Cohen, the Invercargill Red Cross Shop coordinator.

“The thing I tell everyone is keep going back. You walk into the shop and you don't find anything that grabs you but you walk in a week later and the whole shop's totally different.”

That’s part of the appeal of Red Cross Shops, where clothes by labels like Zara and Country Road can be found next to unique hand-sewn outfits and everyday essentials. The stock is donated by people wanting to support Red Cross’ work in the community and is refreshed regularly, which means every visit has the potential to unearth that special something.

"That one-of-a-kind, special item will turn up."

"It's not a chain store where there are multiple items. That one-of-a-kind, special item will turn up if you just keep coming back,” Jan explains.

Jan is looking forward to getting stuck into her new role when the shop, one of the first new Red Cross ‘super stores’, officially opens this month. She applied for the position after moving from Nelson to Invercargill and says the job is the perfect fit.

"I was looking for the right job and this role was advertised and I was like, wow, I can't believe it. It was exactly what I was looking for. It’s working with the community, for the community."

She is still looking for keen people to join her team of volunteers. Jan wants the shop to reflect the diverse local community, so she’s encouraging everyone to think about signing on.

A fun, enjoyable place to work

"Anyone can volunteer, from high school students to 100-year-olds. We'll take 101-year-olds if they're willing! It's all about making this shop a really fun, enjoyable place to work."

It’s not just about giving their time for a good cause. Volunteers also have the opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people and gain retail qualifications during their time in the store.

Shop for good

Get involved in your local Red Cross Shop. By volunteering, donating your preloved items or shopping at our stores, you’re helping us support people in need in communities across New Zealand and around the world.