We’re looking for the best dressed charity Christmas window of 2018! It’s your opportunity to win £250 of visual merchandising equipment for your store.

As you know, your shop window has the greatest influence in attracting shoppers into your shop so you will have been busy planning your display to make the most of November and December to raise as much money as possible for your cause.

Open to all UK charities and hospices, we would love to see how innovative and ingenious you have been in creating your festive themed windows for 2018.

Charity Christmas Window

This will be your busiest and no doubt the most lucrative time of the year for your shop. You will be competing hard against other big brands on the high street who have considerably larger budgets.  Your shop window will play a massive part in encouraging footfall and inspiring people to come inside. Challenging pre-conceptions of charity shops will also be high on your agenda and Christmas is the perfect opportunity to reach a new demographic for example.

Competition details!

In the judging, we will pay special attention to:

  1. Innovative use of recycling and re-purposing items as props to display your donated products
  2. How your window tells a story
  3. Use of colour

Our winner will receive £250 to spend on Visual Merchandising equipment from Acopia for your store:

Crates and Christmas decorations

Looking festive!

Display ladder

From our Street 76 range

Collection of coloured wooden crates

Great for display!









Female mannequin christmas shop display

Chestnut Tree House Christmas Window

To enter our competition – just send an email letting us know all about the idea behind your theme this year and include up to 5 photographs of your shop window to marketing@acopia.co.uk Please submit your entry to us by 12th December 2018.

Our very own Visual Merchandising Trainer, Karen Murray (who has worked with brands such as Selfridges, Marks and Spencer, Gap) will select the winner who will be announced on the 20th of December.

If you would like to take your Visual Merchandising to the next level in 2019, why not get in touch with us at marketing@acopia.co.uk to find out more about our FREE training day!

We know you’ll be excited to get involved so please feel free to share and tag your entries with  #acopiabestdressed

Good luck and we look forward to seeing your photographs!

If you would like to find out about your local Visual Merchandising Training with Acopia – get in touch here:

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Main Image: British Red Cross


Attracting customers through the door on the busy high street is more competitive than ever. With community street events, pop-ups and markets all vying for a stake in the shopper’s wallet, the power of visual merchandising becomes the retailer’s hero in the fight for footfall. When visual merchandising is done well, it creates awareness and can increase brand loyalty, but firstly – it needs to inspire and engage. The shop window needs to work harder, tell a story better and convert sales faster.

Visual merchandising for charity shops

Our goal has always been to establish meaningful partnerships that allow us to support growth and returns on investment. We felt that by providing FREE support for a sector we serve, specifically Charity Retail, would help shops in the heart of communities to gain better local traction.

Charities receiving Visual Merchandising training

Visual Merchandising Training at Acopia

Fun learning with other charities

We’ve opened our doors and invited charities to join us to learn the principles of VM such as how to make better displays with unpredictable donated stock, learn about positioning for impulse purchases, improved space planning, customer service – and loads more. It’s also a great networking opportunity to come along and share and swap ideas with other fellow charities.  For a recent workshop we hosted, we were joined by charities QEF, Naomi House, Haven House, St Christopher’s and St Wilfred’s who all put their new found talents to the test by creating some brilliant displays using stock we had sourced – all from local charity shops!

If you feel like joining us for the day to learn some new skills to take back to your shops – just get in touch using the form below, telling us a little bit more about you and your charity!


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Pop-ups have become a permanent feature in the retail industry. They are the answer to bridging the gap between the online store to a presence on the high street. Capturing the unique concept of the transitory – the proposition behind the pop-up is all about excitement, the unexpected and dramatic exteriors. Few could forget the now iconic Adidas trainer pop up and established as well as emerging brands are using this approach to retail to connect with new and existing audiences. Well known brands such as Superdry, Amazon, Yves Saint Laurant, Lego and Mercedes Benz have all embraced this cultural shift towards creating a more personal and exclusive experience. The high impact – short term philosophy is shaking up retail markets globally.

Here today, gone tomorrow

For many online retailers, the pop up provides an exciting and relatively low cost way for helping online retailers explore the high street. It’s a unique opportunity to be able to reach their audience on a much more personal basis and connect with their customer base in a totally new way. Tapping into new audiences with a physical presence empowers brands to engage not only their existing advocates but to create new ones too. This way of creating new and meaningful relationships at a deeper level has proven irresistible for both established and emerging brands.

With the back drop of the transitory nature of the pop-up – it has proven irresistible to customers too. The concept based on excitement and exclusivity, delivering a one-off experience is incredibly powerful and is a huge catalyst in driving footfall. The ‘fear of missing out’ is a great lever that drives customers  – which makes the pop-up perfect!

Pop-up goes from strength to strength

An example of a pop-up shop in London's Boxpark

Pop Up Retail

With the pop-up economy worth over £2.3 billion, it is one of the largest areas of growth in UK retail. There are more than 10,500 pop-up shops in the UK employing more than 26,000 people. 10% of retailers plan to deliver a pop-up experience as part of their retail and marketing strategy in the next 5 years. Due to their flexible nature, it’s the perfect way for brands to test new markets, new products and new locations. New ideas and new markets are the life blood of retail.

London seems to be at the epicentre of the Pop-Up Revolution. Take Boxpark in Shoreditch for example – shipping containers play host to retailers such as Nike who run brand sponsored events from there, attracting huge local support. Charity retailer Oxfam had a pop-up there in 2017 for Halloween selling brand pieces inspired by Victoriana and Gothic fashion. The pop-up philosophy allows the retailer to take creative risks, stepping outside their usual business model.

Creating an experience

Whether you’re an established brand or have a niche following – harnessing this experiential form of marketing creates a buzz and a unique and memorable shopping experience.  At Acopia, we have helped many brands do just that by supporting their ambitions of pop-up retailing. If you would like to know more about the full fit-out service we offer or want to find out more about our full range of shop-fit displays and consumables, just get in touch using the form below and let us know more about your retail vision!


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Would shoppers buy their Christmas or birthday presents from a charity shop? It’s a question that many may have not have considered before. Where a few years ago the answer may have been a definite “no”, today things have changed and the public’s perception of charity shops is also changing.

With concern about the environment and with the spotlight on re-purposing and recycling, charities play a huge roll in protecting our planet. Every donation to a charity shop helps with reducing carbon emissions, around 6.9 million tons a year, as well as resulting in less waste. Last year, charity shops prevented 323,000 tonnes of textiles going to landfill. So not only is shopping at the local charity store great for the pocket, it’s great for the planet too! Charity shops raise more than £270 million a year for good causes across the UK and abroad, as well as providing over 23,000 jobs.  The charity retail sector has more than 230,000 volunteers, the largest single group in the country. Pretty amazing statistics!

Expect the unexpected

Step inside a charity shop today and the difference is clear. A collection of eclectic goodies probably displayed like a modern high street shop with modern interiors. Some specialise in vintage clothing, antiques, furniture or pre-loved wedding dresses for example.  It’s like entering an Aladins cave of discovery of hidden gems! Some Charity stores have completely destroyed the preconceptions of what a charity store should look like. Take a look at these stunning examples – inviting, exciting, unique and incredibly creative. All are setting benchmarks and receiving awards on the charity scene.


FARA charity shop


Cancer Research


Mary Portas Living & Giving Shop










Posh Pop-Up

Recently Harrods unveiled their luxury charity pop-up store, raising money for the NSPCC with pre-owned designer items. Located on Sloane Street and named Fashion Re-told, it opened for a month with the aim to compete with the likes of Mulberry, Loewe, and Paul Smith for a fraction of the price. The concept for the decor was to be completely Instragrammable, perfect for unique photo opportunities, encouraging shoppers to share their experiences. It’s something that will no doubt be followed by other design houses and big brands who recognise the value of shopping for good.

Street 76 

Street 76

Street 76

We recently showcased our latest display system at the recent Charity Retail Conference. Street 76 is  modern, adaptable and guaranteed to make the most out of product lines or donated stock. Enhanced with industrial looking baskets and display cages, the ability to display clothing side hanging or forward facing, and shelves that can be moved as quickly as your stock changes.

The very epitome of flexibility and style, Street76™ allows you to create key product focused areas as well as providing virtually limitless display options for a whole range of merchandise. If you are looking to create that urban environment with true adjustability and variety, then look no further!

We also have a range of complimentary furniture items including console tables, ladder shelves, podiums and counters. These can be integrated as part of the Street76™ look, with our fashion feature stands which are made of milled steel – creating a unique shopping experience for your customers.



Want to find out more about our full fit-out service and display range options? Of course you do! Please complete the form below:

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Statistics from the Charity Retail Association

The Charity Retail Show is just days away and we are excited to be show-casing our unique display system Street76 which we have designed and developed to ensure it always remains on-trend and infinitely adaptable.

Street76 has been exclusively engineered to allow for ease of assembly and dismantling in a matter of seconds to enable shelves and hanging spaces to be moved quickly to reflect new stock and product lines, keeping you business ready at all times. This was a key component when we designed Street 76, allowing for quick and effortless adaptation for changing stock whilst minimising ‘down time’.

We wanted to reflect the high street and also ensure that the range continues to evolve with new additions as well as complementary furniture to accommodate different merchandise.

Street 76

Street 76

With different types of shelving and industrial cages and baskets – the range looks modern and robust and allows for different product ranges as well as providing for exciting ways to display merchandise, creating key product areas.  Street76 establishes a stylish and relaxed environment for shoppers to browse merchandise and encourage purchases.

Charity shop merchandise is impossible to predict with donated products which is why Street76 is perfect. When a key item is donated, the display can be re-arranged in seconds to accommodate it.  Having the ability to move your stock and display around quickly also keeps the shop looking new and fresh for regular shoppers.

Come and see us at the Charity Retail Show where you can take a look at the range for yourself and chat to our team to find out the full benefits of bringing Street76 to your retail estate.

You may have been following progress on our latest shop-fit in Redhill for our client St Catherine’s Hospice. The 27th of April was the culmination of months of hard work and planning, the new shop in Redhill opened its doors to the community for the first time. Acopia had been involved right from the start with the fit-out from an initial site survey – all the way through to the finishing touches a few days before opening. The shop looked immaculate for the open day!

This was quite an extensive renovation and our Fit-Out team were on site for a few weeks. The team started by removing the existing shop furnishings and counters, as well as removing walls and flooring. The vision was to create a bright, bold and airy environment with lots of space for customers to move easily around the shop. It was key the look remained uncluttered with products displayed on smart and modern fittings.

Renovation in progress!

Renovation in progress!

Delicious St Catherine's Hospice cupcakes - we had a few of those!

Delicious St Catherine’s Hospice cupcakes – we had a few of those!

The wonderful team at Redhill

The wonderful team at Redhill

The shop started to take shape with new spaces created such as a new modern kitchen bespoke donation sorting area. New flooring was laid, new walls installed and new electrics run. We then highlighted some of the walls with St Catherine’s Hospice trademark brand colour – their wonderful bright and cheerful orange. We installed a modern twin slot system which worked very well in the space and with the diverse nature of donated products.

Wayne Stepney, Retail Manager at St Catherine's Hospice with Acopian Account Director Keith Gilbert.

Wayne Stepney, Retail Manager at St Catherine’s Hospice, with Acopian Account Director Keith Gilbert.

The first transaction through the till!

The first transaction through the till!

With eager customers waiting outside, the doors opened and the shop was was inundated with shoppers keen to support their local hospice. There was a queue at the till within minutes which was a very proud moment for Wayne Stepney, Retail Development Manager, and his team to see after the long months of planning.

Acopia were thrilled to not only complete the shop-fit but to also be invited to the opening itself. We are delighted to hear that the shop had a very successful first weekend. We know from our clients that our shop fits deliver great return on investment and we shall be returning very soon to catch up with the wonderful team at Redhill.

If you would like to talk to us about your next shop-fit, just call us on 0845 075 6111 and we would be delighted to chat to you.


Our goal at Acopia has always been to look at procurement and process from our client’s side of the table and how we can establish meaningful partnerships that allow us to support their growth and return on investment. Looking to add value and constantly anticipate our customer’s needs really sets us apart. When focusing on the Charity Retail Sector, we felt that by introducing some free support would really help shops gain traction in their communities. Providing a working knowledge of Visual Merchandising could really help to transform retail spaces to encourage more footfall and purchases.

Getting it right

We are very lucky to be invited to the Hospice UK Retail Steering Group to launch the idea and gain feedback from the group to help tailor the training. It was important to us that the training was to be relevant, provide solutions – as well as being enjoyable! The idea was greeted very enthusiastically by the group and we were delighted to be able to provide a much needed service and collaborative support.

The training was held at our Head Office in sunny Bognor Regis! We had representatives from 8 Charities attend the training which examined the principles of Visual Merchandising such as how to create an impactful window, thinking about the customer journey around the store, positioning products for impulse purchases, space planning, colour blocking – and loads more! It was also a great networking opportunity as attendees were able to discuss and swap new ideas with fellow charities.

Our group were keen to explore how the basic principles could be applied to their own retail spaces and were able to take time with our trainer to discuss specific in-store challenges and look at planning their space better.

Learning into practice

Well dressed mannequins!

The winning table top display! Tables from our Street 76 display Range

Our Street 76 Display Ladder









The afternoon was dedicated to putting it all into practice! The group had lots fun diving into our products from our Street 76 display range and the props (all from local charities!) to create table top displays and dress mannequins. We were keen to replicate the typical products that Charities receive everyday and learn to understand how to make the most of donated product. We rounded off the day with a competition for the best dressed mannequin and display!

We had some great feedback from the day:

“Relevant content and inspirational ideas”  “Great energy from the presenter”  “I have learnt a lot and have some great ideas to take back to our stores”

If you like the sound of some learning more about Visual Merchandising and what benefits this could bring to your Charity retail estate – please just get in touch. We’d love to hear from you and help you to achieve more from your stores!

Call Jake Elkins on 0845 075 6111 for more information and details on our next FREE course.

It will be our 4th time at the CRA Conference this year and we are delighted to be a part of this network dedicated to the support and growth of the charity retail sector.

As a proud member of the CRA, Acopia is thrilled to be sponsoring the Charity Retail Awards, recognising all the hard work by staff and volunteers throughout the UK and Northern Ireland.

Developments in the charity retail sector show real innovation with initiatives such as personal shopping, Style-me-in-Seconds and special events such as the recent Science and Shopping talks earlier this year, showing customers how the money raised goes directly into vital medical research. This really brings into sharp focus just how crucial the success of this sector is.

At Acopia, we understand the challenges faced from working with and supporting retail in the charity sector for over 20 years. From the supply of all retail consumables, shop fittings and providing complete turn-key solutions for Fit-Out itself, we pride ourselves on being the single source supplier of choice for all things retail. We are committed to developing strong business relationships and meaningful partnerships through our collaborative approach. Providing bespoke support is our strength, with experience to both understand and support important deliverables – we can be a key enabler for your business.

Charity Retail Awards

Charity Retail Awards

With benefits such as free warehousing and free delivery, our holistic approach – solutions-led philosophy is a winning combination with our customers. We work with some impressive names within the sector and we are delighted to be their Single Source supplier for all GNFR items, delivering time, resource and cost savings.

To find out more about we can do for your business as well as our unique ordering system – MyAcopia™ and our 3D Retail Design Experience – talk to our award winning team on Stand 2 at the Charity Retail Conference. We’d love to know more about your retail operation too so that we can understand your needs and align our service to these specifically.