Monday, June 20th, 2011...2:58 pm

Q&A with Swapaholics founder Amy Chase (plus 25% off Thursday’s San Francisco swap!)

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I met Amy Chase this spring in Austin at the Texas Style Council Conference, where we spoke on a panel together and she, appropriately, hosted a clothing swap. She has an excellent perspective on sustainable style, which translates into an equally excellent day job — since co-founding The Swapaholics in 2008, she now makes a living traveling the country hosting clothing swaps for Swap.com. Amy’s next swap is this Thursday here in San Francisco, co-hosted by Lulu’s, and she’s shared a special deal with us for 25% off the $20 ticket price with code FASHIONLOVESPEOPLE! She was sweet enough to answer a few questions for me recently, from how she scored such a great gig to how to host your own swap.

What’s the story behind The Swapaholics? What inspired you to get started?

I had started hosting clothing swaps in my town the year I bought a house. I was researching how to run a greener/cheaper household, and swapping items with in your community kept coming up. Being extremely interested in fashion, I knew I had to make a clothing swap work. A few months later I was outgrowing every venue I could find. A friend introduced me to Melissa and asked if we would plan a swap for her indie craft market in Boston, which was a huge success, and we just never looked back.

How did it happen that you became the official clothing swap hosts for Swap.com? Is this what let you focus on swapping full-time? (And congrats for that, of course!)

Thank you! After growing The Swapaholics nationwide, hosting events in Boston as well as LA and Denver last year, we approached Swap.com to become our corporate sponsor so that we could bring our swaps to even more cities in 2011, which was the perfect fit since Swap.com is the world’s largest online swapping community. At the first meeting with their CEO we got along so well and had the same vision and passion for swapping that we were talking about joining forces by the time we’d reached the elevators. Swap.com officially acquired The Swapaholics in September 2010 and Melissa and I joined their full-time management team.

Why do you think clothing swaps are such a great option for ethical fashionistas?

The way I see it is, the longer we keep a item in rotation, the longer it stays out of a landfill and the more likely another item won’t be bought to replace it. When I discovered how much water and chemicals were used to make new clothing, it made me think twice about how much NEW stuff I really needed in my wardrobe.

What’s the best thing you’ve ever gotten at one of your swaps?

I’ve gotten so many things I love, I can’t event keep track anymore — most of my wardrobe is swapped. I love finding vintage items at swaps. Also, items that I’ve loved for seasons on my friends that they are ready to part with.

What was your favorite swap you’ve hosted, and why?

I am partial to all the swaps we host in my hometown. It’s where I started hosting events years ago and where I was greatly supported by my community. It’s really fun to go back and bring some swappers/shoppers with me to give back to the small business that helped me get started.

What tips do you have for people thinking about hosting their own clothing swaps?

Start small — my fist swap was with a handful of friends with their Goodwill bags. Pick a day and invite your girlfriends over.

If you want to check out a swap before you host, check our Events Directory and see if there is one coming up in your city: http://events.swap.com

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If you’re in SF, don’t forget to grab your tickets for this Thursday here — just $15 with discount code FASHIONLOVESPEOPLE. I’ll be there and would love to see you, too!

Top image via the UK’s clever vintage curator Supermarket Sarah

1 Comment

  • What a great little interview. I’m surprised more people arent swapping! I cant wait to go to this one on Thursday.

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