Eco-fashion is booming and the clothing resale market is the fastest-growing segment. As Lynn Valley’s Geraldine Durant noticed the climbing prices at local thrift shops, she created a more community-oriented swap.
Think globally, act locally
Inspired by the eco-focus of her former employer, Lynn Valley’s Cousteau School, Durant has been trying to make environmentally friendly decisions. Often they pay with bonus rewards.
“I love thrift stores,” she said. “They are unique and interesting. You can find different things than you can find at the mall.”
Speaking with like-minded friends sparked the idea of a clothing swap. If the interested swappers continue like (the non-pandemic restricted portions of) last year, more than 15,000 items will be kept out of the landfill.
The Good Swap
Many people who shop at thrift stores are the very same people who donate to them in the first place, said Durant.
“Talking with friends we realized the amount of money we were spending in thrift shops after we donated to them. The idea of a clothing swap led to this,” she said gesturing to the lower level of her home filled with stock from the Good Swap’s swappers.
The swap idea is simple. Participants bring in their items – quality clothing and children’s items – and choose a similar amount of new-to-them items, as well as paying a small flat fee to cover cleaning and storage costs and minimally compensate Durant for her time organizing the swap.
“Trading doesn’t always work, because if I don’t have what you need then we can’t trade,” she said. “This makes the circle bigger so more people can find items and more items stay out of the garbage.”
Curation is key
The items at the Good Swap have been checked for stains and rips – missing items like buttons are clearly labeled.
“Most people bring in items in good condition,” she said “I check the games and puzzles – I don’t want someone to get home and find there is a piece missing.”
Items that don’t pass her standards are donated for other thrift options or textile recycling. Her swap stock continues to grow with most people choosing to leave with fewer items than they came with.
“I prefer people swap rather than donate. I get a lot of questions about ‘What is the catch?’,” laughs Durant. “There is no catch. Once people visit they are more confident in the swap.”
About 80 percent of her customers return about every three months.
“I do have one that comes around every two weeks.”
With hopes to slowly grow Durant aims to divert as much as 30,000 items from the landfill each year.
To learn more about the swap or book an appointment visit Durant’s Facebook page.