NYC Plus Size Clothing Swap: Pictures & Review

Thank you to everyone who came out to the NYC Plus Size Clothing Swap at Katra Lounge on August 22, 2012. I hope that everyone had a blast! It was a lot of hard work, and I want to thank (from the bottom of my heart!) all of the women who worked hard behind the scenes and on the scene to put this thing together! Also, I wanted to talk a little bit about the things I learned at this swap and the things we’ll do differently next time to be sure the event goes as smoothly as possible.

In the interest of transparency, I do want everyone to know that we don’t put on these events for profit. I’ve invested well over $1000 in the actual physical pieces that are used to put the swaps on, and I will probably never make that $1000 back.

From the clothing racks, to the pop up dressing room, to the lights for the photo booth and dressing room, to the tickets we gave out, to the tables that we usually bring, to transporting donations to and from the actual swap, to the payment of the venues and the bartenders, to paying the people who help behind the scenes, money to replace hangers, and then of course all the time that’s invested in putting this event on.

So – I also want to say thank you to those who have paid for tickets to attend. Please know that we’re reinvesting the money that you spend with us, whatever is left over, to make the following swaps even better. And I don’t take that for granted – I really appreciate your spending money on this event, and I hope that you got enough clothing to justify that $10-15 that you spent to get in!

Now, I think I should talk a little bit about what I learned this time around. Click away if you don’t want to read any negativity, because there are definitely some FEELINGS happening here.

  1. We definitely cannot do the next one in a venue that’s as DARK as this one was, and had I known the lights didn’t go up any higher than that, I would’ve held it somewhere else. The fact of the matter is that I didn’t see the venue until very close to the actual date of the swap, and there were some issues with securing a location, but instead of postponing a second time, I made the decision to go forth because I knew how excited everyone was.
  2. In the future, I want to choose a venue that also is set up differently and, perhaps, is a bit larger. Again, we are suffering from some growing pains, and it’s difficult to find a venue that fits these needs in NYC for no guarantee at the bar. There have been some other locations suggested by some gracious attendees that I really appreciate, and we will look into them!
  3. The tickets for items part of the swap is not a perfect system. This I understand. The reason we instated the system is that without it, there are some attendees who do not allow those who might be a bit more shy to get to the racks and it becomes even more of a free-for-all and even more out of control. That is why we put this system into place, and we’ll try something different next time to hopefully make it go a bit more smoothly.
  4. I think we are going to limit the number of pieces that come through the door next time. We had a hard time sorting everything that came in, we got a fair bit of things that just weren’t appropriate for swapping because I think some of the bags might have had pieces that were meant to be donated mixed in. So, we’ll consider some tighter guidelines here, I think.

Other things that I learned … You can’t please everyone.

I think most people who come to the swaps understand just how much time and energy is put into these things. I started doing them in my house for free because I thought they would be fun. They’ve now grown into something that take a lot of energy and dedication to put together and pull off. I couldn’t do it without an incredible group of friends who often give their time freely, a wonderful boyfriend who puts up with crazy me losing my mind (aka my iPhone) and who puts up with my sometimes panicked voice at the end of the night when I realize just how much clothing there is to get OUT of the venue.

I got one really interesting email post-swap that just sort of blew me away. It was full of criticism with nary a “thank you” in sight. And I have to say, I totally understand that this was not the smoothest event ever, but, in the grand scheme of things, I’m enormously proud of the event. It went really, really smoothly in comparison to other events that I’ve experienced. Nothing is perfect, but there was a lot of hard work and a TON of WONDERFUL INTENTION behind this event – there always is, and that is what I look for in life.

If someone’s intentions are good, I’m willing to give a pass for poor lighting and a bit of a wait. If I can see the human emotion behind why something is the way it is, and if I can tell someone really tried hard, then I can forgive a few bumps in the ride. I have never understood why there are human beings out there who don’t take a step back and think about that, but I’m left to conclude that it must be because they’re generally unhappy about a large number of things in their life that are just too distracting to leave any room for understanding.

Lastly, I have considered NOT doing these swaps again and again particularly because of this reason. Thankfully, the amount of appreciation and the number of “thank you Netta and team” statements, emails and Facebook posts that we received post-event keep me understanding that there are WAY MORE people out there who do appreciate the events than the number who don’t. And I’d like to say to those who think the event just isn’t worth it … then please don’t come.

These events were started because I am a member of a community of understanding, love, and sharing. Because I believe in friendliness, the good hearts of people and the caring of a group of women who have been there for me through some of the meanest parts of my life. They were started because I want other people to feel those same feelings. They have almost ended because I am left sometimes with the feeling that there is not enough understanding, love, and sharing as a result of the events. I am guided by those gut feelings – especially when it comes to something that involves so many other people’s time and patience and willingness to jump in for little to nothing. I must protect that above all else, and that’s just how that is for me.

So … with all of that said. On to the more fun part! Here are some of the photos from the photo booth – I hope the few ladies who had their picture enjoyed! I’m hoping to bring the photo booth back in a different way next time, and I hope that more people will use it! :) I love photo booths haha.

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Very finally, I want to thank again all of the people who helped with this clothing swap and the vendors who came to sell and participate. Keep on keepin’ on my little community and friends (and friends of friends!). I see you, I appreciate you, and I hear you – the complaints, the appreciations, and the love.