Save money by swapping with your friends! Ancient and modern civilisations know the value of exchanging goods they no longer need for those they do want. Think of those striking fashions you’ve seen your peers wearing. How you’d love to own them! Did you ever think they may be tired of wearing, for example, the lime-green cocktail dress you find so cute, and may be happy to trade it for the pink suede boots that never quite fit you right?

So hold a “swap party”! Get together with friends and acquaintances and trade clothes, shoes, jewellery and even sunglasses with each other. There will be plenty of fashions in your closet that you no longer wear but that are still in good shape. A swap party is also a fun way to hang out with other girls – and save on the expenditure of store-bought new clothes!

For a Real Fun Time, Invite the Right Guests

Start by coming up with a well-considered, thoughtful guest list rather than inviting every random woman you know to your swap party. There are a few important factors that you must consider while compiling your list so that your party will be a huge hit.

Consider carefully whether the people you want to invite are fashion lovers and share a similar taste in fashion. This is important because all stylish women are keen on shopping, clothes, shoes and accessories. They will own a selection of items that they would probably be willing to swap. Moreover, you can always expect fashion-mongers to contribute high-quality items in good condition. A similar taste in fashion to yours (and hence to that of the rest of the guests) means that everyone at the party will be willing to participate in the swapping. No one would leave your place disappointed.

The second factor to consider in compiling the guest list is the size of clothing that your guests will put up for swapping. It would be the best to invite people of similar sizes to your party. However, if that seems to limit the number of invitees, encourage people to bring accessories rather clothes for swapping. That way, no one with an out-of-the-ordinary size would feel left out by a scarcity of clothes suitable for them.

Your third consideration should be the number of people on the guest list. I would suggest that you keep the number of attendees somewhere between 15 and 20 to prevent an overcrowded and disorderly affair.

After completing your carefully assembled guest list, start designing and sending invitations. There are lots of creative, efficient ways to send invites that will appeal to your guests. I personally prefer PaperlessPost.com. First and foremost, explain to the invited girls what a swap party is. Make your explanation concise!

Ensure that you include the date, time and address for the event. Keep in mind that your guests will need some time to identify the clothes they want to swap at the party, so this means that they need to be invited at least two or three weeks prior to the event.

Your invite should also indicate the theme of the swap party and the exact number of items each guest should bring. The theme could be, for example, the types of items (clothes, accessories or/and footwear) wearable in which season (spring/summer, fall/winter or year-round). Mention whether lunch or snacks will be served entirely from your side, or if you’d request each guest to bring a dish for a potluck.

So that’s what guests should bring along. Remember to mention what NOT to bring along. Stained, unwashed items of clothing and used undergarments are no-nos.

Last but not least, tell the ladies what you are planning to do with leftover items that remain unswapped. For example, you might donate all remaining fashion items to charity.

Prepare Properly for the Day of the Swap Party

Prepare for the day by ensuring that you have four crucial elements in place.  First, organise a place to display all items to be swapped. For ladies’ fashion items and accessories, I suggest using stands and racks. Racks on wheels are particularly fancy, and they can display jewellery very well. Second, establish a method for swappers to put aside the items they have attained so that other guests do not get the idea that they’re still available. Third, arrange for food and refreshments for your guests. The refreshments do not have to be too high-end or costly. Purchase prosecco or sparkling wine at a reasonable cost – this will ease and please your guests just as well as expensive champagne. For snacks, try chips and dips, fruit or just plain old desserts like cupcakes and donuts.

Make sure that none of your food items are runny or saucy things that might drip and make a mess (no fondue!). Finally, select some fun and bubbly party music to liven up your swap party!

Hey, it’s Swap Party Time!

Start the actual swapping about 30 minutes after all your guests have arrived. Before swapping, set up and display the items they have brought and let them relax with some food and refreshments. Use this time to help everyone get acquainted with each other. Use a lottery system to enable your guests (and you!) to choose one item at a time in an orderly fashion. Continue the order of choosing in a cyclical manner until everyone is happy with the number of items they have obtained from the party. Try to regulate the swapping so that each guest leaves with about the same number of items they brought to the party. At the end of the event, have everyone model the items they’ve gotten. Show yourselves off in a pseudo fashion show with lively music!

Done with the Swap Party…

After the event, take some time to write a ‘Thank You’ note to each of the women who attended your swap party. Be sure to mention that you donated remaining items to a charity, and just how much the organisation appreciated this.

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C.E.O @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is passionate about finance, education, women empowerment and children’s issues. Anna has been featured in CNBC, Forbes, The Straits Times, Business Insider, INC and The Peak Singapore. She was nominated and selected for FORTUNE Most Powerful Women conference in 2016 (Asia) and 2015 (San Francisco, Next Gen). Anna has 10 years of experience in the financial sector and is currently a Director in Tera Capital. Her previous work experience includes positions at Citigroup, United Overseas Bank, a regional role in Business Monitor and a boutique private equity firm based in Shanghai. She graduated from Singapore Management University (Finance and Quantitative Finance).