Oxfam superstore

Take the formula of an out of town supermarket, add a few ingredients from IKEA, the precise display skills of a west London prop house and finally a sprinkling of sports store Decathlon to discover the recipe behind Oxfam’s new superstore design. The blog takes a tour of this new sustainable and charitable department store concept to find out what might make us all want to shop there.

Oxfam superstore floorplan

Housed in a shiny new ‘shed’ on a business park just outside of Oxford City centre, it offers a drive through recycling centre, a creatively designed Oxfam ‘water tank’ café and a store selling everything from books and records to toys, clothes, furniture and accessories. 

Exterior of Oxfam superstore, Oxford. The superstore is 12 times the size of the average Oxfam charity shop. Photo: Charis White
Sportswear creatively displayed on varying heights of painted and raw chipboard plinths at Oxfam superstore. Photo: Charis White
2020-01-11 14.20.47
Part of the brand new Sourced by Oxfam range. Photo: Charis White

Sustainable shopping – blog tour

I have been itching to visit the new superstore for some time and finally made it there just after Christmas. Not as glamourous I grant you as previous blog tours which have included a Fornasetti exhibition in Rome and Madrid’s Modern Antique Style but we are talking about the importance of dealing sustainably with stuff – how we use it, recycle it and create charitable funds from it. 

2020-01-11 14.05.41
Papier mache bowls part of the brand new Sourced by Oxfam range. Photo: Charis White

Serious bargains

Charity shops are always on my propping radar. Especially when it comes to commercial retail shoots as when budgets are tight, it is often cheaper to buy than to hire from a prop house. If you keep your eyes peeled, there are some serious bargains to be found.

Kerryn Harper-Cuss, Editor of The English Home magazine, recently posted on Instagram how she had found for her own home a rather swoony pair of Bennison curtains at her local Cat and Dog Protection Association charity shop.

2020-01-11 14.23.27
Vintage tartan travel rugs. The Oxfam superstore, Oxford. Photo: Charis White
2020-01-11 14.06.51-1
Aynsley (a British manufacturer of porcelain established in 1775) cup and saucer, £1.99, The Oxfam superstore. Photo: Charis White

Giving back

Charity shops make sense in all sorts of ways from helping the very hard up and the ‘squeezed middle’ make ends meet to recycling and finally giving to the individuals and communities who are in most need.

Sourced by Oxfam rugs at new Oxfam superstore on Charis White Interiors blog
Oval rug, Sourced by Oxfam at Oxfam superstore, £39.99. Photo: Charis White

Fun retail design

The superstore looks and acts like any other out of town store especially because the layout and displays are really well designed with a series of market stalls at the front of the shop and the rather fun Water Tank café.  This new marriage of ideas creates a culture of its own which is a clever way to encourage more people to ‘say yes to second hand’. 

2020-01-11 14.12.05
The Men’s section of Oxfam superstore, Oxford appropriately styled with college (or local private school?) woollen scarf. Photo: Charis White
2020-01-11 14.12.50
Creative displays throughout the Oxfam superstore include this record/music/video stand. Photo: Charis White
2020-01-11 14.16.29
Fabulous fashion styling. Could have been a Fat Face store. Love the Persian rug and the street market stall enclosure. Photo: Charis White
Handwoven Seagrass Basket, £19.99 from Oxfam
New Sourced by Oxfam handwoven Carnival seagrass large basket. £22.99, Oxfam superstore, Oxford. Photo: Charis White
2020-01-11 14.19.55
Water Tank café at Oxfam superstore, Oxford. Photo: Charis White
2020-01-11 14.20.24
We didn’t have time to try the food in the Water Tank café but it looked like an appetising and affordable Vegan selection when we visited in January. Photo: Charis White

Tomorrow is another day

But of course, even though there is a selection of new Oxfam items to buy, you are at the mercy of what charity stock has been donated and whether or not all the ‘good stuff’ had already gone that day. 

2020-01-11 14.18.51
Vintage typewriter – perfect for styling. £49.99, The Oxfam superstore. Photo: Charis White

I loved it

I love the whole ethos and cohesion of all of the departments. Some great thought has gone in to how the shop looks and flows. On the day that we visited I didn’t find any furniture bargains that I liked but the rows upon rows of interesting glassware, china and home accessories more than made up for that. The styling of these display shelves was on a par with one of the very ordered West London prop houses that stylists use for photographic shoots. 

2020-01-11 14.08.37
West London prop house styling chic at The Oxfam superstore, Oxford. Photo: Charis White
2020-01-11 14.08.55
Quality 1970s stainless steel sets, plated food covers and toast racks at The Oxfam superstore, Oxford. Photo: Charis White
2020-01-11 14.07.10
Retro coffee and teapots, £4.99, The Oxfam superstore, Oxford. Photo: Charis White

Oxfam superstore opening hours

The superstore is open for trading 4 days a week (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays) but will accept donations 7 days a week. Free parking is available and a drive through donation point makes it easy for people to drop-off pre-loved items. www.oxfam.org.uk/superstore, 6500 Alec Issigonis Way, Oxford Business Park North, Oxford OX4 2JZ. Telephone 01865 396322. The store has created 11 new jobs with numerous volunteering opportunities. 

2020-01-11 14.12.18
Toy department at The Oxfam superstore, Oxford. Photo: Charis White

Thank you

Thank you so much for reading. If you have enjoyed this and would like to receive email alerts for future posts then please just press the large blue ‘Follow’ button either at the beginning or end of a post. With many thanks, Charis x

Charis White, Interior stylist/writer. Photography: www.FionaMcLean.co.uk
Charis White, interior stylist/writer