How to Organise a Frock Swap

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Organising a clothes swap is definitely up there on my list of things to try out one day.  I can't think of a better way to recycle unwanted, unworn fashion pieces, than to swap with a suitable garment that you'll get more wear out of. One persons fash is another persons treasure ;)

I've talked about organising a clothes swap here, and been to an organised event here, where I managed to take home these amazing cowboy boots (which in fact, I'm wearing today)

The following guestpost, from freelance writer Rob James, "How to organise a Frock Swap" covers the fundamentals of organising such an event..

How to organise a Frock Swap

Frock swaps can be a great way to clear out your wardrobe clutter and find some bargains. Basically involving an event where people bring in old dresses, and take new ones from the selection provided, frock swaps have been a popular option for some years for people looking to save some money. Frock swaps can take many forms, from broad ranging events through to more specialist prom dress or vintage swaps. When organising a frock swap, it’s worth thinking about a few general areas to avoid problems:

1 - Decide on Size

How large a frock swap will make a significant difference to its success. Smaller events for friends and family can be informally organized and put together in a few days. However, a larger event that needs wider advertising will take time and money to put together, from renting an appropriately sized venue, to investing in marketing.

2 - Set a Date and Location

Once you have your space, it’s important to set a date and a location for the swap. This can typically be in a space that’s large enough to accommodate a lot of stalls, and that is reasonably central if you’re organising a swap in a large city.

3 - Set Maximum Items

When sending out information for a frock swap, you will need to set a maximum item limit for what people can bring along with them. Doing so will prevent the event from being overloaded, and will reduce any headaches that you might suffer as a result.

4 - Have Enough Staff

Staff, in this sense, typically means volunteers that are prepared to put in the time to help you on the day to set up tables and stalls, as well as offering assistance and helping to register items that are dropped off and taken away.

5 - Ensure Rules Are Clear

Having a clear set of rules over what people can and cannot bring will make an event run much more smoothly. Be specific about the quality of the items to be brought, and make sure that people know that they need to be cleaned and ironed.

6 - Marketing

Depending on how large an event is, you will have several choices over how to market your event. These choices can range from traditional paper adverts and local newspaper and magazine listings, through to the use of Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and a dedicated Tumblr page for images of the event. It is important to make your event engaging for a community in ways that will extend beyond the swap itself, from encouraging people to post videos online to blogging about their experiences.

7 - Charitable Donations

Most frock swaps will donate any money they receive to charity. Money can come from entry fees on the day, as well as from options to give to charity boxes within a venue. It is also possible to donate any leftover clothes from the end of a day to a local charity. Make sure that you have cleared this with a charity beforehand though to avoid breaking any regulations on donations.

Rob James, interests include second hand fashion, organizing community events, and currently working for

Readers, have you organised a small or large scale frock swap before?



Something Else said...

yes - about 5 or 6 years ago, I started organising them amongst friends when I lived in Shanghai as there are no charity stores there so it can sometimes to be hard to move unwanted clothes etc. I invited a bunch of friends who brought unwanted stuff from clothes to books to art supplies and everyone brought a brunch plate so we could swap stuff, talk and eat and drink. At the end of each swap, I donated the leftovers to a charity that accepted clothing donations. They were fun.

Peta said...

it could be cool to even organise a blog swap!

Unknown said...

@Peta I love the idea of a blog swap!

Anonymous said...

Love the boots!

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