The Emporium of Loveliness will be bringing their collection of fabulous labels, quirky fashions and vintage pop ups to the Grain Barge, this April, with all profits going to the Empower the Gambia charity.
“My daughter works at the Grain Barge,” says Jo Heaven, who founded The Emporium of Loveliness to raise money for her charity Empower the Gambia.
“They heard about our charity pop ups and have kindly supported us by letting us use their function room free of charge.”
“It’s such a funky place to run a pop-up shop,” continues Jo. “All profits made will go towards the charity, raising money for women and children’s projects in rural Gambi.”
Now on their third Bristol event Jo and her, fabulously named, daughter, Cherry Heaven, are back with their popular charity pop up at The Grain Barge on April 4.
“Everyone really likes the eclectic mix of fashions and of course the prices,” says Jo. “We are getting quite a following in Bristol and we change our stock for each event, so it is worth popping along every month.”
Swindon-based Jo has charity shops in both Malborough and Malmsesbury and runs her pop-up events alongside Cherry, in Swindon and Bristol, with a few festivals and fairs added in over the summer months.
“We both have a passion for the charity and Cherry has always helped me with fundraising events, this was a great way to enjoy our shared interest,” says Jo.
“We started fundraising for Empower the Gambia with stalls at car boots, pop up events, market stalls and eventually into a bricks and mortar shops with The Emporium of Loveliness.”
With plans to set up shop in Bristol, The Emporium of Loveliness want to build up their Bristol clientele through these pop up events.
“Our prices range from £2 – £35 at the pop-up events, so everyone can come and pick up a bargain. The aim is to sell the items at reasonable prices, rather than looking at them unsold for months.”
“We are cheaper than most charity shops and our quality is amazing. No boggly jumpers or limp cardigans,” adds Jo.
“People love donating to the cause as we can tell them, on a weekly basis, what the money raised is going towards. We also ship out donated items to our Gambia projects every three months.”
With a background working in Travel and Tourism at Swindon College, Jo combined her love of fashion to find a way to raise money for The Gambia.
“I took a group of students to The Gambia in 2009, whilst there, I realised that training and resourcing was much needed, from teachers to nurses.”
“I originally started the Empower the Gambia charity in 2013 and now have a Gambian team who contribute skills such as first aid training, organic gardening, deaf awareness, nursery education and maths training.”
This registered charity works with grass roots villages that are off road and far away from the coastal resorts, working with community leaders on shared future projects.
“The fundraising is focused for specific projects so every donation is accountable,” adds Jo.
“We particularly support women and children’s projects such as bikes for community nurses, resources for medical centres and we sponsor over 250 children to go to school.
“Our latest project has been to set up a deaf unit at Daru which is now teaching seven children to sign language and participate in education.
“We also plan to set up a small school in Bansang to support these children and provide accommodation, as currently they have to travel many miles to reach the school.”
With much more fundraising needed to make these amazing, life changing projects happen in The Gambia, The Emporium of Loveliness are keen to attract a bigger Bristol audience.
“I love the fusion of cultures, styles and the bohemian vibe of the city. Anything goes,” says Jo. “We can really go wild with our fashions at the Bristol pop up events.”
With the promise of new stock and charity shop prices, what can Bristol’s chazzer shop and vintage fashion lovers alike expect to find at the Grain Barge pop up in April?
“We adapt the range according to the seasons and also bring in different themes, we will have lots of spring dresses, floaty tops, vintage fashions, a men’s section and a £2 rail. We have some fabulous Gambian clothing too!”
Join The Emporium of Loveliness pop up at the Grain Barge on Thurs, April 4 and every first Thursday of the month this spring/summer.
Read our fashion editor Emma’s blog No Debutante