Two friends who sell used handbags for charity have opened a pop-up charity shop after receiving bags from celebrities.
Abi Bowen and Lucy Wilkes began Handbags for Hospices in Brighton in 2012 with a one-off party of friends buying each other’s unwanted handbags to raise money for The Martlets Hospice.
They have received over 2,000 handbags including donations from national fashion editors and celebrities such as Paloma Faith, Davina McCall and Elizabeth Hurley.
The three bags donated by Davina McCall raised £650 and a bag from Zoe Ball raised £350.
Abag that Kim Wilde donated raised £200.
All celebrity bags come with provenance, either a photo of the celebrity with their bag or they are signed.
And a brown soft leather Botkier shoulder bag donated by Elizabeth Hurley is currently up for grabs at £180.
The charity has raised over £15,400 recycling handbags at events and has opened the pop-up shop at jewellers House of Hoye in Ship Street throughout this month.
The pop-up shop is timed to coincide with the Brighton Festival to get more people involved in dropping off bags and shopping for the donated bags.
The launch party attracted 60 people and the shop is selling bags over the phone and face to face to people who have viewed them at the shop, on the Handbags for Hospices Facebook page and on Twitter.
Abi said: “Most women can find one unwanted handbag at the back of their wardrobe to donate and enjoy buying a new one.”
Prices start at £10 but Abi remembers a black python Chloe Parity handbag worth £1,800 new, which sold for £800.
The charity sells through their events and the pop-up shop and through hospice shops, raising funds for Martlets and the Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice among others.
Abi said: “Both Lucy and I have fulltime jobs and families. But the handbags are like friends to us and fortunately our families are very supportive.
“They don’t mind sharing the home with sacks of bags and my seven-yearold daughter helps me sort and clean them up.
“Shopping for a handbag is fun, you don’t have to take your clothes off and one size fits all.
“I would love to see Handbags for Hospices all over the country so all women can get involved.
“There are a lot of handbags out there to go round.”
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