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From a Volunteer's Perspective: The Princess Shop Experience

posted by The Princess Shop    |   September 10, 2018 14:34

Stepping into the role of Volunteer Representative is not what you would expect, or at least in comparison to my own previous volunteer experience, not what I expected.

It's been more than - and better than - I envisioned. Every week I attend a weekly meeting with a group of successful and motivating women. We're surrounded by beautiful donated gowns, shoes and accessories. We brainstorm, goal set, get off track for a moment and laugh, and are constantly re-evaluating every aspect of the organization to ensure we have a positive impact on not only our Princess Graduates but our community as whole. By the end of the meeting, were assigned chosen tasks to meet our goals and out into the community we go. We fundraise, network with donors and sponsors and build lasting relationships. 

While this is happening, me and other Volunteer Representatives along with individuals from our list of 'Helping Hands', conduct dress appointments which is by far, one of the most fulfilling duties. We simply consult with the graduate about her wants and needs for grad day and beyond. We outline the different programs The Princess Shop offers and ultimately attempt to be the bridge between adversity and prosperity. Once graduation season arrives, it's a whirlwind of wearing many different hats. We go from being a graduate's personal assistant to being a team player of the salons were in and out of. 

Every so often, were pulled aside by a graduate who feels graduation and everything that comes with this major achievement, would not be possible without the organization. Rather it was through lending her a dress, providing her with a scholarship or simply being a mentor in her life, we've alleviated hardship in more ways than one. We're thanked and told that we should be proud of the work we do. And when the graduates acknowledge our work and display appreciation for all that we do, it is only a bonus. Because I can tell you, that is not why myself or our team, volunteer for The Princess Shop. 

I volunteer because of everything I just shared with you. Though it is only a glimpse of the expectations and experiences that come with the position. If you read between the lines, it's quite easy to recognize that this organization pushes you to become better for yourself and the community. It's a doorway to seeing what community means and what our community offers. It's a way to feel empowered through empowering other women. It further develops various life skills that one utilizes in their everyday life. Skills such as Communication and Leadership skills. And it overall provides you with an experience that changes your life while changing others' lives

Chelsey is one of a group of amazing individuals who make The Princess Shop a magical place through their passion and dedication. Does this sound like your kind of crew? We are looking to fill some more roles and would love to have you if this post spoke to you. Click here!

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Inventory!

posted by The Princess Shop    |   November 12, 2014 10:33

 

The majority of first-time visitors to The Princess Shop always say the same thing upon entry into our location, something along the lines of: "Wow. There are a LOT of dresses in here." 

Since its inception in 2007, The Princess Shop has accepted donated graduation and formal dresses from members of the public and from dress stores. We have an inventory of over 3000 dresses (and growing everyday)! We have been so fortunate to have amassed such an incredible selection of beautiful gowns. But, there's more to it than just collecting dresses! We thought we would share a bit about how our dress donation and invetory process works.

How does The Princess Shop receive its dresses? 

Dresses are donated to The Princess Shop or to our dress drop off location. We currently have one drop off location besides The Princess Shop, but we are always looking for more! If you would be interested in collecting dresses at your business on behalf of The Princess Shop, please let us know! Further details of the dress donation process are available here. But a summary is that we love and accept all dresses that the donater thinks a 2015 Princess Graduate would wear - so generally, a dress should be no more than 5 years old. We ask that the dress is in clean, wearable condition. 

Once a dress comes in as a donation, members of our volunteer team enter it into inventory. Each dress is assigned a unique number and entered into our large inventory spreadsheet with description of the dress and any information provided with the donation. Once a dress is selected, the spreadsheet is updated to reflect whether the dress is out witha Princess Graduate, or has been returned to our shop. 

Every fall, the entire volunteer team gets together for an afternoon and we go through each and every dress in our inventory. We ensure that all of the dresses that should be in the dress racks are accounted for, check for any mending or drycleaning needs, and take the opportunity to organize the racks. At this time, we also take the opportunity to keep our inventory up to date and remove any dresses that are damaged beyond repair, or we think might be a bit too dated for a 2015 Princess Graduate to wear to her high school graduation. This year, the inventory process took the entire team 6 hours together, plus an extra 5 hours put in by one of our awesome volunteers (thanks, Lizanne!).

What does The Princess Shop do with the dresses that have been removed from inventory? 

We make an effort to keep our collection of dresses up to date and exciting for our Princess Graduates selecting their dresses. Some dresses that have become a bit dated over the years have a limited liklihood of being selected for graduation. Rather than tossing these dresses, we take the oppotunity to give them another life! We sell donated dresses at a very reasonable price at flea/thrift markets and comic-themed festivals. We have had a lot of people purchase dresses to be re-purposed in sewing projects or costumes. We like the idea that these dresses have been worn to a special occasion, donated to our organization and worn by Princess Graduates, and now can continue to be re-used in another way! 

How can you get involved with the dress donation or removed inventory process?

We love to accept dress donations! It keeps our inventory fresh and interesting for each year's Princess Graduates. Please consider donating a dress that you think a 2015 graduate would wear (less than 5 years old, preferably). If you provide your contact information, we will send you a photo of a Princess Graduate in your dress when it is selected for a graduation ceremony.

Interested in picking up one of our dresses that has been recently removed from inventory? Stop by the Saskatoon Lions Club Super Duper Flea Market - this Saturday, November 15 at Prairieland Park from 9:00AM-5:00PM. We will be there in Hall D! 

Thanks for your donations and support! 
The Princess Shop

 

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The Princess Shop
our location
12 - 1622 Ontario Avenue
Saskatoon, SK S7K 1S8
t: 306-222-3311

Karen Robson, Executive Director

Office Hours:
Mondays: 9am - 12pm, 1pm - 6pm
Tuesdays: 9am - 1pm
Thursdays: 12pm - 8pm

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