Bargain BoutiquesWith frost appearing on our windshields and temperatures dropping, we find ourselves again nearing the height of the holiday season. And with only one week left to go before Christmas, holiday shoppers are on a tight deadline to find the latest deals and steals before time runs out. But there’s no need to worry because at area Bargain Boutiques, the deals are not only good for your pocketbook, they also benefit children.

There is little doubt that there is a tremendous amount of shopping that goes on during December. According to the American Research Group the average American spends nearly $1000 on gifts around the holidays each year.

What you might not know is that that this increased spending is also accompanied by an increase in giving around the holidays each year. If you talk to Eva Campbell from Seattle Children’s, she’d probably tell you that shopping for gifts and donating to a worthy cause don’t need to be done separately.

Campbell is the director of Seattle Children’s chain of Bargain Boutiques, located throughout Western Washington. Bargain Boutiques are retail stores that feature a wide array of high end clothing, handbags, shoes and jewelry, all at a discounted price. The entirety of the proceeds from each Bargain Boutique goes directly to Children’s uncompensated care, which ensures that every child in our region who needs the expert care at Children’s can get it.

Because of this, Bargain Boutiques offer customers around the holidays the best of both worlds – the opportunity to shop for hidden treasures, or donate a treasure someone else will enjoy, all to benefit Children’s.

“I wanted to create a store that appealed to those who (like myself) look to find the bargain in the boutique,” said Campbell. “I love to shop, but at our stores you aren’t just shopping, you are also giving a wonderful gift that will go to help children and their families.”

Making a store more than just a one-stop-shop

Bargain Boutiques have gone through a great deal of growth in the four years since Campbell has taken over the stores. With six stores, numerous staff and more than 300 volunteers, the shops have taken off.

“I think people are surprised by the quality of the items in our stores,” said Campbell. “We carry Ann Taylor, Louis Vuitton, Coach and numerous other brands, much of which is donated from hundreds of individuals and organizations within our community.”

But if people come for the bargains, they stay for the staff.

“Our staff and volunteers are absolutely incredible,” said Campbell. “Nearly everyone has a connection to Children’s in some way. They either know a child or a family who was treated there, or they have been treated there themselves.”

Like her team, Campbell also has a personal connection with Children’s. Her son Ben was treated there for a heart condition when he was born, and then returned years later after he fell from a Ferris Wheel.

“The doctors and medical team at Children’s were wonderful. More than once they helped me through what was a very scary time as a mother,” said Campbell.

It is with this in mind that Campbell goes to work every day.

Finding passion through Children’s

While Campbell and her team love helping their customers find a bargain, deep down it is the care families receive at Children’s that ignites their passion and gives them a reason to come to work each day.

“It is all about helping the children,” said Campbell. “Our work is devoted to ensuring that every child and family has the same opportunity to be helped at Children’s that myself, and so many members of our team have had in the past.”

It is for this reason that Campbell takes every member of her staff on a tour of Children’s before they start working at the boutiques.

“They need to see who their work is helping,” said Campbell.

This reminder, however, is not solely confined to the tour of the hospital. Every store keeps a “Wall of Courage,” which proudly displays photos of children from the community who have and are being treated at Children’s. It’s a constant reminder to volunteers and shoppers alike that each purchase helps to benefit a child in need.

“Our shops are so much more than a standing store, each location represents a small community,” said Campbell. “At our locations we’ve held support meetings for families, parties and celebrations, as well as fundraising drives.”

Dr. Jensen's DonationIn fact, in 2013 alone, the six Bargain Boutique locations managed to raise over $25,000 for the cancer research being done by the team lead by Michael Jensen, MD, at Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research.

“The work Dr. Jensen and his team are doing to eliminate pediatric cancer is so important,” Campbell said. “His collaboration with our work has just been tremendous.”

The Bargain Boutiques are growing, and with six shops currently open, Campbell hopes to have ten before too long.

“It seems like the ball has really gotten rolling,” she said. “We have seen such a great response from the local community, and we couldn’t hope to do our work without their generous support.”

Resources

If you’d like to arrange an interview with Eva Campbell, please contact Children’s PR team at 206-987-4500 or press@seattlechildrens.org