BritishIndia, one of Malaysia’s most renowned and well-loved, premium home-grown lifestyle brand has recently unveiled a charity concept store.
White Elephant, Retail For Charity, the charity arm of BritishIndia opened its doors at Publika Solaris Dutamas to a hive of activity and warm reception from bargain hunters on November 22nd. The charity outlet reflects the tasteful, simple elegance of BritishIndia with decorations and fixtures sourced from its stores in Malaysia and Singapore.
With pretty white rattan bird cages, faux trees and old-style rattan chests lending a cheerful and inspiring reminder to respect nature and be kind to the environment, the store exudes a slightly rustic but youthful charm with colourful elephant art on walls and dressing room curtains.
Spanning 1,400 square feet, White Elephant, Retail for Charity, a joint CSR project with UEM Sunrise, the leasing partner and owner of Publika is a treasure trove of unexpected bargains.
“White Elephant is a special venue and shoppers’ haven as we sell a plethora of goods from inventory samples and production over-runs from BritishIndia as well as other well-known clothing brands to eclectic merchandise such as books, toys, sports equipment, musical instruments, kitchenware, stationery, hobbycraft, small furniture, objets d’art, curiosities and paraphernalia, donated by the expatriate and local community,” explains Pat Liew, Founder of White Elephant and BritishIndia.
“The world we live in is far from an ideal world where charities are unnecessary. We all accept the need for them, hence the White Elephant Retail for Charity,” adds Liew.
On the name, White Elephant, Liew says the term refers to any burdensome but valuable possession that takes up space and collects dust, whose deterioration through neglect and cost of upkeep, is out of proportion with its usefulness to its owner.
“We only accept new, never-before-worn clothes and excellent condition pre-loved items from the public. All proceeds from the sale of goods will go to deserving charities and marginalised communities in Malaysia,” she adds.
White Elephant’s raison d’etre is to care for the old and sick, provide hope and opportunities for the young and a helping hand to those whose daily lives are a struggle. Proceeds of the store will provide not just a one-off donation but a constant flow of funds and financial support to charitable organisations identified by members of the White Elephant committee.
“The committee may, from time-to-time, also apportion some of the store’s proceeds to provide financial support to individuals with limited means of seeking medical treatment for serious medical conditions,” says Liew.
White Elephant’s current mission is to raise RM1mil in 2 to 3 years. “We may look at setting up a fully equipped physiotherapy facility that will afford better interaction and stimulation to benefit the disabled young and old in future. We would also like to organise outings and activities at homes for the elderly to help keep senior citizens’ minds active,” she adds.
The idea for the charity outlet took root in Liew’s mind almost 15 years ago. “It was in the early days of building the BritishIndia brand, I was busy raising a young family and expanding my business. We didn’t have enough manpower to run a retail charity store then,” she explains.
“BritishIndia has been around for 20 years now. We have been doing charity on an ad-hoc basis for a long time but I feel a permanent store is more meaningful and provides a more sustainable source of regular funds to charities,” she adds. “Although it is every company’s duty to partake in social responsibility, I feel it’s a privilege to give back to society,” says Liew.
The introduction of BritishIndia’s charity arm via a concept store is timely. “With the world economy slowdown and consumers more cautious with spending against the rising cost of goods, many people are looking to shop at bargain prices.
“By shopping here, consumers not only make exciting discoveries from our plentiful stock but have the opportunity to give back to society and help others,” adds Liew. Despite being set-up solely as a means to raise funds for the needy, the store will, nevertheless, be expected to run not on sympathy patronage, but as a serious contender on the retail scene.
“We are pleased to embark on this project with BritishIndia, widely recognized as a homegrown brand that has gone global and an established retail operator for fashion. BritishIndia and UEM Sunrise has had a very long working relationship and when this idea was mooted to me in July this year, we felt that it is a good initiative to give back to society,” said Devamanokaran, General Manager-Retail Management of UEM Sunrise Berhad.
“BritishIndia and UEM Sunrise shall endeavour to sustain this project as a strictly non-profit initiative,” he added. White Elephant is currently manned by staff of BritishIndia and Friends of White Elephant, volunteers from the diplomatic and expatriate community.
For more information on how you can help, please contact White Elephant Retail for Charity at 03-6145 6888, log on to http://whiteelephant.org.my, email [email protected] or [email protected]. Alternatively, you may approach the staff for enquiries at Lot 8, Level G3, Publika Shopping Gallery, Solaris Dutamas, JalanDutamas 1, Kuala Lumpur.