Sally Ruddle is the Head of Retail at Willow Burn and is responsible for managing the retail income stream for the hospice and working with our three shop managers and volunteers to deliver the best experience to our customers. This week we have interviewed our 'Sally Queen of Shops' about her career before Willow Burn and and her best charity shop purchase to date.
How did you start your career in retail and how did it progress?
I was 15 and worked in a newsagents and loved it, then progressed throughout life with different retail and customer service roles including high street and high end retailers, until joining a management team 18 years ago.
Why Willow Burn?
After a busy career, I still had the passion and drive to work in retail but I felt the time had come for a new challenge and to try a different kind of role, that's when I came across Willow Burn and they chose me. Before I was promoted to Head of Retail, I was the Shop Manager at Stanley where I worked with my volunteers to increase income before handing over the shop to Kath, the current manager.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
It is both physically and mentally challenging at times but there are never two days the same. I learn something new everyday as it becomes addictive to continue to keep up with what is trending in the charitable sector and the best way to generate income from this. This is a very interesting role.
Can you remember the first piece of clothing you bought when you were younger?
I saved all my pocket money for 6 weeks to get proper big wedges which my mam would not let me have unless I paid for them myself. Trying to teach me the value of money I expect. With my first proper pay packet in those days I bought a whole outfit; black jeans and a black and white fashion top all from the market.
What is your best personal charity shop purchase?
Karen Millen jacket £15 still wear it now, bought it about 3 years ago.
If you have a passion for retail just like Sally and you'd like to work with her and our team of managers, we have volunteering roles in Chester-le-Street, Stanley and Consett with your name on. Volunteering is a great way of starting your career or learning a new skill at the end of it. Find out more: Volunteering