Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How to Throw a Clothes Swap

Clothes-Swap 2010 was a huge success!  We had a very nice turn-out.  I even got to meet one of my followers (hi, Jane!).  There was a wider variety of sizes and styles this year than in years past.  Even the little ones got involved!

The Stuff.

Matching Mother-Daughter Maxi Dresses! 

Audrey wanted to try on big girl clothes too!

Clothes-swaps can be SO much fun, but require some thought, preparation, and time.

1.  Community. 

Unless you have 10 girlfriends, all the same size, it's difficult to do this event in small form.  The more, the better, I say.  Go big, and invite your neighborhood, work, church, school, or all of the above.  Send invites in plenty advance so folks have time to go through their closets.  Print fliers, make announcements, mail postcards, send e-vites, or create a Facebook event.  Get the word out by whatever means necessary.

2.  Space.

Your big backyard, church fellowship hall, school gymnasium, or large park pavilion will work just fine.  Make sure you can rent or borrow enough tables to accommodate the event.  If you can get your hands on some racks or turnstiles and hangers, all the better.

3.  Organization. 

This year, the tables on one side of the room were for shirts divided by XS-S, M, L, XL+.  The other side had pants organized by sizes 0-5, 6-10, 11+.  Skirts and shorts each had their own table.  We were able to hang jackets, dresses and accessories.  The shoes were lined up on shelves and the floor by size.  We also had children's, maternity, and sleepwear in a separate area.  Don't get your undies in a bundle when your neat piles get messed up in a hurry.  Just let your guests dig.  It's part of the fun.

4.  Extras. 
  •      Bags - the paper grocery bags with handles work well and are free.  Free is good.
  •      Mirrors - cheap mirrors can be bought for $5 or less at your local discount department store. Make sure there is a place for trying stuff on - a bathroom or makeshift dressing rooms.
  •      Food and Beverages - this was the first year we've provided food that it actually worked.  It helped that the food was in a separate room from the clothing and in close proximity to the washroom.  No one wants to shop with grimy fingers.  Have drinks available.  At the very least, pack a large cooler with bottled water, a couple varieties of soda, and ice.
  •      Money - The cost involved here is fairly minimal, especially when it's divided among team members.  Provide a basket for monetary donations anyway.  Either reimburse the event host(s) or give it to charity.  Consider providing receipts for those who donate (both money & clothing).  The charity organization should be able to help you with this.
  •      Spice it up.   Lead willing participants in a runway fashion show displaying their finds.  Or better yet, have them come up with the most absurd ensembles with the 'leftovers'.  If you have a budget for your swap, do a raffle or drawing to win product or gift cards. 
5.  Fundraising.

This particular swap wasn't a fundraiser, but I have attended a few that were for that purpose.  Participants either paid $3 per item or unlimited for a flat $25.  The flat fee is always the better deal for all parties involved, so if it were me, I might not bother with the $3/item choice.  It is a fundraiser, after all.  Consider seeking sponsorship for your fundraiser swap too.  Get local businesses involved!

I know I'm missing stuff here.  Other tips/ideas?  Comment please.

At the end of the evening, I went home with a bag full of great stuff - for FREE!  I can't wait to show you in upcoming posts!

Here's the count:

Shirt - 1
Shorts - 1
Trousers - 1
Dress - 1
Hat - 1
Bag - 1
Jeans - 2
Cardigans - 3
Skirts - 3


Rebecca said...

I'm glad your swap was a success!

Emy said...

What a cool activity!


Modesty is Pretty said...

Oh I wish we had one close by to where I live but probably what I need is to give up more clothes than to get some, I have too much already. Your mother and you look so pretty wearing the maxi dress. =)

Anonymous said...

Great post! Thanks for the insight. Maybe, someday, when my head stops spinning a million miles a minute, I'll try to throw one of these together. I think my community would really benefit froma clothing swap!

You made a KILLING. Can't wait to see what you scored!

Girly Muse said...

G & I racked up the goods! 3 bags full! Got it all washed up today and tried on more things. We both really like what we came home with. So fun. Thanks for all the hard work.

Jilliebeanie said...

Haha...should've given proper credit on that picture - that's my BFF Katie and her mama Deb. People sometimes ask if we're related, and I consider Deb one of my "other mothers". Katie is pretty, so I'll take that compliment!

Emily said...

This is a great idea!



Refined Chic said...

A clothing swap is a great idea. This February {2011}, I will be hosting my 4th swap party...they are so much fun!
It sounds like you got alot of cute things! :)


Kate said...

Wow I have so much to think about between now and the next Great Trade. There's an Urban Outfitter RIGHT around the corner from where we hold the event. I'm thinking sponsorship... Great post!!