11 March 2017

Swap Meets 101

If you've never been to a swap meet before, this is the post for you. However, if you have, you'll also find some printable tags and some tips from my good friend Shannie about what swap meet hosts appreciate from attendees.

So what exactly is a swap meet? A swap is where a group brings a bunch of things to sell or trade/swap and to buy new things. People also come just to buy things because you can find great deals at swaps. Lolitas can be much more willing to lower a price if they don't have to ship it out and it's going to a friend.

There is often more snacking, socializing, and selfies than there is selling. This is a problem I've noticed after years of attending swap meets. I think the problem is just a matter of variety. Lolitas have many different aesthetics, wish lists, and budgets that limit what they are looking for at a swap meet. The more attendees, the better the chance you'll find something to take home and someone to take your things home.

Who Can Come

The answer is really quite simple: anyone can come!

If you're new to the fashion and don't have a full wardrobe yet, swap meets are the best place to try different styles on and get items for less than you would online. You don't need to wear lolita to go to a swap; even experienced lolitas are lazy and just want to wear something casual and comfortable for hauling all their stuff.

I have also seen significant others of lolitas who come to swap meets. Always check with the host if bringing an SO is alright, but they are usually welcome.

Preparing For The Swap Meet

Being prepared is key to buying and selling effectively.

  • Determine your budget ahead of time for any purchases, this will reduce impulse buys that you can't really afford. Seeing beautiful pieces in person is really tempting!
  • Gather up what you plan on selling and tag them the day before to avoid forgetting the things you need to clean out of your closet.
  • Remember to put contact information (i.e. your name, phone number, or photo) on your tags so potential buyers know who to inquire about. The more work it is to find a seller, the less appealing the purchase is.
  • Wear something comfortable. Swap meets are generally hubs for socializing in standing or sitting groups, so casual coordinates or regular street-wear are good. 
  • Bring extra hangers, tags, safety pins, plastic bags, and small bills to make change. These things always seem to be in short supply at swap meets, and it's always nice to be the person to help someone out.
  • If you have a portable clothing rack, bring it! There is never enough hanging space.
  • Ask the host about parking and directions to get to the space if it's at a complex. Trying to check the event page while carrying a load of dresses isn't easy.
  • Keep a checklist of what you bring, and check off what you sell. This will make it easier to collect everything leftover when the meet ends.
  • On that checklist, write down your asking price and your lowest offer price. Haggling is expected, and it's good to come prepared.

Printable Tags

If you're not the DIY kind of person, here are two really great printable files.

Feel free to download and print them as you like, but please only use them for personal, non-commercial use.

This first set of tags is made by Shannie Bee. Download the PDF here.

This second set of tags is made by Mari. Download the PDF here.

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