Shop4Charity is the newest and most unique way of doing your online shopping and having charities benefit from this. We create, maintain and deliver bespoke gift sites for charities to benefit from by having their own Shop4Charity whitelabel site. The online business operates as an e-commerce site that sells more than 10,000 gifts, including licensed merchandise for the likes of Disney , Warner Brothers, Marvel and many more big names including one of the biggest selections of Licensed football gifts in the UK.
Buy A Gift, Give A Gift. Shop4Charity is the simplest way of helping raise funds and helping yourself at the same time. Everytime you buy a gift we donate 10% of that sale to the charity of the month or that charities Shop4Charity site. Charities use the funds raised by you to help specific projects and make a difference. You are just one click away and we will NEVER pass on your details.
After speaking to many people and being asked the same question of “ why charity” below is our start up story which will explain to you why this is such a personal cause and why we want to help as many people as we can through our family business.
The Start up Story
A few years back I lost one of my younger sisters to Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML). Some good friends of my parents, who were close to my sister Vanessa, wanted to do something to remember her after she passed away. They approached my parents to start the ‘Vanessa Fund’, appointing my father as Chairman. During the course of Vanessa’s treatment she spent some time at the Young Oncology Unit, (YOU), in the famous Christies Hospital in Manchester. While there she received radiation treatment prior to a bone marrow transplant. During Vanessa’s stay at the hospital she developed a love for The Sensory Room. It was otherwise known as the ‘The Chill Out’ room; ironic as it sent her into a frenzy of delight which was like watching the Tasmanian devil spin around the room. We were never allowed to call her that though as that was a name we used for Stephaney, another of my younger sisters.
As Vanessa loved the Sensory Room it was decided that we would raise funds to purchase additional sensory equipment. All the rooms in the Bone Marrow Unit at Pendlebury Hospital, which has sadly now been knocked down, would benefit. After many fundraising events such as Charity Balls, Fashion shows, Makeover nights, and more, we ended up raising the money required to purchase the equipment. As you can probably imagine I was not allowed to participate in the fashion show other than moving equipment around; I am not the sharpest of dressers!
We also organised Clinics to encourage people to donate bone marrow for the Anthony Nolan Trust. As a result of these clinics we know lives were saved. One of my favourite stories is about a fantastic fella who donated bone marrow at one of the clinics, his name is Frankie Mulgrew; the son of famous comedian Jimmy Cricket. At the time he was training to be a Priest at the school church where Vanessa attended. He told us a few years later that his bone marrow had gone on to save at least two lives, and he had just attended the wedding of one of them, a truly inspirational story.
After raising the money to purchase the equipment we were always mindful that we could only do so much. However we were compelled to seek other opportunities to enable us to help many more deserving people and causes. After four years of fundraising, and with the initial objectives reached, enthusiasm waned so the fund went on the back burner for a while.
While my sister was ill in hospital my parents did everything they could to try and keep a level of normality at home for the rest of my sisters and my older brother. As things were tough my father made the difficult decision to leave work to care for us. He had a company at the time that he co-owned with David Sullivan, owner of West Ham United. My father took his step back from the company and was advised by Mr Sullivan to keep his shares and live off the twice yearly dividends, which he did. Unfortunately tough times began again as the company slowly went bust and finally closed for business, so the cheques stopped coming in. After years of looking after his children and wife my father decided he needed to try and get back into business in some form. With money saved he bought into a Coffee shop Franchise for my older brother to run. Unfortunately after two years of ownership the head franchise went bust, despite my families shop turning a profit. This resulted in the closure of the shop. This was an awful blow as we worked so hard and lost the shop due to circumstances beyond our control.
My parents had signed as guarantors for the business loan with the family home as security. They attempted to sell the house but with the economic climate at the time the housing market was very slow; although we did come close a few times before people pulled out. At this time my parents were both looking for jobs and doing everything possible to try and keep the house and salvage the situation. It came to a head when NatWest decided they would like to take the family home into their possession, despite having a cash sale with completion date only two weeks away. You would feel after two years they could wait an additional two weeks but apparently not.
As you may have seen from the press release I played a lot of tennis in my youth even though looking at me now you wouldn’t pin me as the sporty type. When the trouble with the house started I moved to Nottingham for a tennis coaching job and moved my younger sisters into my house in Nottingham to relieve the strain on my parents, as well as sending them money to put towards the house but as I mentioned the NatWest were not satisfied with this.
After multiple talks with my father about what we can do to get back to work we took a look back at his old business, which was selling gifts in newspapers with people purchasing through the phone. He wanted to get back into that industry however his knowledge and skills of the internet were none existent, to put it politely. I felt that I could take his original idea and bring it in to the modern age. So I founded MAD COMMERCE LTD which includes SHOP4CHARITY, OFFERS4READERS and RAISE4.
Are you still with me?....
With things now moving I have brought my father in to guide me and to be a Director within the company. My father’s focus in this position was to find a way to connect and help charities in a new way. After a few meetings and discussions we decided that we would offer charities a white label store so we could now help fundraise all day every day. A lot of charities we had spoken to were struggling to raise the funds required with people not being able to give as much due to the economic climate. I also found it bizarre that one of the main ways in today’s world of raising money was to still ask for change on the streets.
If you are not sure what a white label store is check out the first one we set up which would obviously be for the Vanessa fund http://thevanessafund.shop4charity.co.uk
The aim of these is to provide charities with an extra way to make more money through online shopping; having a fully stocked store that they could put on to their site. This is a great way for their supporters to help the charity out while doing their shopping. We know there are other ways of people giving back to their chosen charities through online shopping, but personally I feel the steps you have to take can become annoying, just my personal view. SHOP4CHARITY gives back a big percentage of the sale especially compared to some I have seen where you only get 5% if lucky.
With more charities coming on board recently and these sites set to launch soon we are starting to receive some decent media attention. I was asked for another newspaper story and to be a guest on BBC Radio which was a fab time. After talking to many people with their own websites we decided we could provide these white label sites to pretty much anyone; media groups, sports club, schools and more. They were all looking to break in to the online shopping world and we could help with this and take away the hassle. I do love partnering with other companies and pushing each other forward, I think this is a great way to do it.
Anyway I think I have waffled on for way too long now, but I will end by saying a huge thanks to everyone who has purchased from us so far, and the companies we have partnered with who we look forward to working with every day; seeing this idea grow and supporting more people by providing sites and jobs to companies and people.
I will hopefully update this for you again soon with the latest happenings.
Thanks for reading