Ooooh those are fighting words. Usually, when a friend says to you “if the shoe fits, wear it”, it is almost always spells the beginning of an end to a friendship. There is at least one occasion when if the shoe fits is a cause for celebration. For example: try to imagine you just came back from your friend’s house and walked away with some designer shoes that fit you or a member of your household perfectly. Not only did you get a great pair of shoes but you also got matching blouse or shirt. And a few other accessories for some other clothing item in your closet. What a score eh!
Friends, this kind of score can be had at a Swap Soiree (pronounced SWA-RAY). It is a kind of event organized so people can trade stuff they want to give away and get other people’s stuff in return. All over the world there are many examples of ‘second hand’ markets where you can buy fashion items that you need. If you are Nigerian, you know “Bend Down Select”, Okrika, O.K. you know what I mean. No shame in it. Okrika dey abroad too. A Swap Soiree is almost the same except it is a chance to party, hang out, chit chat, and try on cool fashion items. What’s not to love!?
How can you host a successful swap soiree?
Below are some neat tips on how to plan and execute a successful swap soiree.
- Plan you invite list. Get people who you know are of like minds. Some people are very very finicky about wearing second hand stuff. You want to invite people you know are not too critical and competitive. This is not a chance to size up your friends and others that you invite. If you do, it will quickly fall apart. It doesn’t hurt to invite people you know have a good taste and a sense of style.
- Invitation: state the objective of the Swap Soiree clearly. If it is just for fun or for a cause let them know. No need for a fancy invitation. An e-vite will do.
- Raid closets: Go looking for good decent clothes in your and that of your friends. I recommend having a set of hands to go around collecting all the items from those who have committed to participate in the soiree. Things like coats, jackets, boots, shoes, belts, jewelry, hand bags, travel bags are very popular at swap swoirees.
- Records: try to keep a record of who brought what. I recommend you ask the donors do their record keeping and you can verify by a simple count. It’s less cumbersome that way.
- Set up: Find a fairly spacious place to set up shop. Most of the swap soiree’s I attend have clothing racks, table lay out and shoe shelves where things are displayed like it would in your famous boutique. You might consider a change room where guests can try on things.
- Closing plan: have a plan for what to do with all the remaining stuff after all the guests have left. My girls donate it to a religious organization with a really good cause.
Here is an idea: why not do a fundraiser with a swap soiree for a good cause? For example, Autism and Cancer still need a lot of funding. Or could you do an education or medical fundraiser? You could ask your friends to donate clothes and $5.00 entry fee? All proceeds towards a good cause and you could get a good Stuart Weitzman pair of shoes for just five dollars.
As you can see, this is a labour of love done by the planner. That is why, I give my girls kudos for doing this things every year or so for free. Be a good guest. Don’t be judgemental and critical. But if the shoe fits, wear it!