This is a post by Melissa and Amy, my partners for the Frugal Festival Summer Swap in North Hollywood on June 19.
So you’ve never been to a clothing swap before? Sweet! We love newbies, and are always psyched to share the infinite joys of getting something new-to-you for free (or very, very little).
The best part about getting practically free fashion (and media, and housewares) is that you can take risks for little, if no, money. Rock a romper. Watch a foreign film with subtitles and a crazy-sounding title. Snag that kitschy vase and put it on display for all your friends to see. We’ll have all this and so much more — raffle prizes including spa gift certificates and iPods, VIP bags for our 25 VIP ticket-holders, DJ Cassette droppin’ backbeats — at our first West Coast swap with Bargain Babe: The Frugal Fe$t Summer Swap on June 19 at the NoHo Performing Arts Center.
We’ve hosted over three dozen swaps in the last two years as The Swapaholics, ranging in size from 25 people to over 300 — some with two dozen of our closest friends, some as public fundraisers for charities and causes we’re passionate about. We’ve been interviewed by USA Today, The Boston Globe, and NBC News for our modern swap expertise.
So, without further ado, here’s how we do clothing swaps at The Swapaholics, plus some tips on what to bring and what to expect when you show up at the NoHo Performing Arts Center at 11020 Magnolia Blvd in North Hollywood on Saturday.
WHAT TO BRING
Please, for the love of dog, do *not* bring us your tired, your worn, your sad-looking and stinky. If you’d be embarrassed to give it a friend or to put it on consignment — or would drop it off at Goodwill and quickly run away in shame — don’t bring it to the swap. That means no bathing suits, no underwear, no sports bras or jock straps, no dirty socks or sneakers, no worn-through-the-butt jeans. Nothing stained in the armpits or holey or otherwise un-wearable. (Yes, people have actually shown up with all of these things at clothing swaps before.)
Do, however, bring your fun, your irreverent, your gently worn, gently loved, and gently used clothing, media, and home decor. Basically, anything you’d sell at a yard sale (save furniture & toys), we’ll be swapping!
Here are the types of swappables we’ll be accepting at the Frugal Fe$t Summer Swap on Saturday:
- Women’s Clothing (including maternity wear)
- Men’s Clothing (including tees)
- Kids’ Clothing (but no toys or gear, please!)
- Home Decor
- Accessories (jewelry, hats, belts, headbands, scarves)
Do us a favor, though, and keep it to things no bigger than a breadbox, since we have to cart all the leftovers to charity at the end of the swap.
HOW THE SWAP WORKS
Basically, there are three parts to the swap:
From 10 a.m. to noon, our doors will be open and you can check-in with your Goldstar ticket to the Frugal Fe$t if you’re donating swappables. We’ll take your donations and our volunteers will magically turn those bags of chic cast-off into a “swaptique” when you return for the swap at 1 p.m. SHARP. The price you pay for your Frugal Fe$t ticket on Goldstar is your only expense — once you’re into the swap itself, everything is FREE.
YOU EXPLORE & SHOP, WE SORT
After the drop-off period ends, we shut the doors to the swap so we can turn those awesome donations into an even more radical (and well-organized) “swaptique.” We’ll give you a special Swap Map we’ve created by working with local businesses in the NoHo Arts District, who’ll be offering special deals and discounts just for Frugal Fe$t swappers. Show your Goldstar ticket at places like Mani-Kir Royale and Someone Else’s Vintage for sweet scores, but be sure to get back to the NoHo PAC by 1 p.m. SHARP.
SWAP ‘TIL YOU DROP
VIP ticket-holders get to jump to the front, everyone else will grab a first come, first served place in line outside the “swaptique” until we open the doors at 1 p.m. SHARP. Then it’s a virtual free-for-all (think: Filene’s Basement Running of the Brides” as swappers spread out to find the best scores. Items are first come, first served, as well, and you can carry out as much as you can fit in your swap bag (and pockets, and purse). Be polite, be courteous, be fair. If you’re shopping the swap to stock your own eBay store or vintage shop, please don’t brag about it — we know you’re doing it, just don’t talk about it, especially in front of other swappers. It’s totally tacky.
Otherwise, have fun and swap ’til you drop! We can’t WAIT to meet you on Saturday.
~ Melissa & Amy