Run a swishing event
A swishing (or clothes-swapping) party is a fun way for
your supporters to freshen up their wardrobes while raising money
for your cause.
Choose a date and time for your event, and book the venue. Agree
the rules of the swish and decide how and where tickets will be
sold. Get these printed - tickets should include the date, time,
address, contact details, the rules of the swish and clothing
drop-off cut-off times. Start spreading the word - put up posters
and use local events listings. Promote your event on swishingparties.com.
Create a floor plan of your venue. Beg, borrow or hire an
appropriate number of hanging rails (and hangers). Work out where
you can create a changing area, and source some full length
mirrors. Consider how to separate different clothing sizes on your
rails. You can buy rail dividers and hanger size cubes on eBay, and
sell them again when you're done! If an item is sized S/M/L, try to
get an approximate UK size from the guest. Collect carrier bags for
people to use to take away their items.
Finalise what refreshments will be provided and who will be in
charge of this on the day. Any supply of alcohol (even if offered
free with the ticket price) will require a TEN. Submit your application to your local
council at least ten working days before your event. Set up a
pre-event clothing drop-off if possible - ask people to leave their
name and email address with their items, in order to collect their
vouchers or points card on the night.
On the night, lay out the rails, tables, clothing items and
refreshments. Allow half an hour at the start for guests to arrive
and hand over remaining clothes. Allow 15 minutes for people to
browse the rails and see what items they might like to swap - no
items can be taken during this time. Then, explain the rules again
before declaring the swish open. Guests swish and try on items,
placing unwanted items back on the rails.
Any leftover clothing items can be donated to a local charity or
stored for your next textile recycling collection. Be sure to thank
all your supporters and let them know how much the event
Swishing event tips and advice
Swish rules: The simplest swish is conducted on
a 'one for one' basis. A voucher is issued to each guest with their
number of items written on it, to be checked off at the end of the
event. A more complex system is to grade the items by type or
price, eg, 'standard' = high street/less than £40 (one point), and
'premium' = designer/more than £40 (three points).
Condition: All items should be freshly
laundered, ironed, and in good repair. Ask people to bring them on
hangers. Shoes and accessories should be brought in boxes, if
Raising money: Charge a 'per person' admission
fee. Invite third party stallholders to attend (eg, beauty
products, clothing or accessory retailers, craft workshops), and
charge them a fixed fee of between £10-£25. Hold an auction or
raffle. Sell refreshments.
Licensing: You don't need a licence to run a
swishing event, but if you're selling alcohol you will need a TEN
(England and Wales). Complete a risk assessment.
Venue space: You will need a pre/post-event
milling-around area, plus a dedicated space for the swish. Have a
changing area with mirrors, and additional space for people to sit
and chat. Have a separate coat rail/cloakroom to stop coats getting
mixed up with the swaps!
Swishing event success story:
Hannah Cruickshank, event organiser, Inverurie West
Parish Church's Junior Church, Aberdeen told us: 'We
organised a swap party to fundraise for Leukemia and Lymphoma
Research UK and it proved to be a great success. People brought
unwanted items and swapped them for other pre-loved things. Make
sure you specify the quality needed. A limit was made of five items
per person and people were only allowed to take home the number of
items they brought with them, using tokens to monitor this. We
charged £5 entry and £2 for refreshments. No licences were needed,
and the event was held in our church hall so we had no room-hire
costs either. We raised £516 - not bad for a two-hour event!'
Download a PDF
of this step-by-step guide to running a swishing event
The above is intended as guidance only. We recommend that you
contact the relevant organisations with specific reference to
insurance, legal, health and safety and child protection
requirements. Community Inspired Ltd cannot be held responsible for
any decisions or actions taken by a PTA, based on the guidance
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