The Ipswich sisters making a difference to their community and developing countries

Providing assistance to people suffering in developing countries is at the core of charity store co-owner, Anne Underwood’s heart.

Fashion Connections is in the Nicholas St precinct and is home to many quality handmade clothing, collectables and crafts items.

Sisters Anne Underwood and Marie Smith started the store selling Australiana fashion pieces donated by stylists.

However Mrs Underwood said she found it hard to keep up with the fashion industry and the market changes so began sourcing new items to sell to the public.

“It changed so quickly and we found customers were looking for gift lines of hand crafted items of different sorts … so we made the change from one to the other,” Mrs Underwood said.

The store, which has been in operation for over three decades, sells handmade and donated goods from the public such as hand towels, children’s clothing, jewellery, collectables and home-wares with all the proceeds going to those less fortunate.

Double and single hand towels handmade by a member of the Ipswich community.

Ms Underwood’s passion for helping the developing countries started in the 1980s when she formed a group of people in Ipswich that settled Vietnamese refugees.

“Soon after I read this story about the famine in Africa in 1984 that really got me … I remember the headline was ‘even as they die, they hope’,” she said.

“A friend of ours once said we ‘give twice’. We give to the person that’s coming in here, they have an experience and they can give to their friend and because we have that sale we’re giving to the third world – so it is a thing that gives twice.”

Christmas dresses designed and handmade by a member of the Ipswich community.

Fashion Connections donates proceeds from sales to East Timor, Indonesia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Tonga.

Customers come from all over Queensland with people travelling from Brisbane, Toowoomba, Warwick and North Queensland on their way through Ipswich.

Fashion Connections is in Nicholas St precinct, next to Dominique’s Bakery and is open 9am to 2pm Monday to Friday.

The store will also be open for a VIP Christmas night on Sunday, 1 December 2pm to 4pm.

VIP Christmas night is a special one-day-only shopping event which will include complimentary drinks, nibbles, special offers and a gift bag for the first 150 customers.

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