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Archive for the ‘Local Stores’ Category

On East 16th Avenue just a block east off Main Street, Burcu’s Angels is one the city’s most iconic vintage clothing stores  in one of Vancouver’s most eclectic and vibrant shopping districts. And as much as the store is known for its impressive collection of vintage clothing and accessories, it is also equally known for its owner – Burcu Ozdemir.

With her short salt and pepper wavy hair, a deep rich voice, and clothes that are layered and vibrant, she definitely has a gypsy feel to her look. You can almost hear her jingle as she walks by. She is passionate and sometimes explosive, but make no mistake; she is a very successful business woman who loves her community deeply. Along with carrying an impressive selection of retro and turn of the century clothing, jewellery, hats and footwear, Burcu is also a zealous advocate for causes dear to her heart.

Inside the store, Burcu has two boxes that she is quite proud of. One is a box filled with all kinds of scarves; the other has clothing, food and everyday household items. The first box is one that she sets aside for children from the neighbourhood. Every time a child comes into the store she lets them rifle through the box and grab a scarf for free. This is just something she started for fun, but has quickly become a favourite with all the kids in the neighbourhood. The other box speaks to Burcu’s passion for helping people in need. She leaves this box outside overnight and encourages people to grab whatever they need. What doesn’t get taken gets delivered to local shelters in the neighbourhood.

These “free boxes” are important to Burcu. Fifteen years ago she was a single mother struggling to raise her two boys. She knows how tough it can be and was extremely grateful for all the support she received over the years. As her business grew, she was determined to never lose sight of being able to assist others along the way while also remaining open to help – in whatever form it came.

She has been at her current location for three years and loves being part of the Main Street community. Not only is she incredibly respected as a knowledgeable fashion historian and business woman in the vintage clothing industry, she is also an accomplished singer with her band called “Something About Reptiles.” At age fifty-one she has decided that she wants to encourage people to have more fun and decadence in their lives. Her new motto for the store has evolved to include “If you don’t need it, I have it!” As an example, she points to a pair of bright purple leotards with built in boots. “These were popular in the 60’s,” she says smiling.

With just over fifteen years in the industry selling retro and vintage clothing, what impresses her most are the people she meets and getting to know their stories. “I love being able to see kids from the neighbourhood grow up. And, I love it when they come in to show me what they have done with some of the vintage pieces they have found. They have embraced the historical and funky side of fashion. Some of the kids that I have gotten to know have even gone on to design school.”

Burcu’s Angels
221 East 16th Ave.
Vancouver, BC
(604) 290-1049

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Once known as “Antique Row”, Vancouver’s Main Street has evolved into one of the city’s most eclectic and vibrant shopping districts. At first glance, it would appear that “Antique Row” no longer exists and that the stretch of antique stores that used to be found between 26th and 29th Avenue has been replaced by a new breed of designer and specialty stores. However, many of the original antique stores are still around, and several new stores have since opened…they are just more spread out in what could now be called “Main Street’s Antique Corridor”.

From just off Hastings Street all the way to Marine Drive you can easily visit up to 25 antique and collectible stores, all along one easy access route that crosses the city from North to South. Many of these shops also sell their wares online via their respective Web sites and will ship across Canada and the United States.

A great starting point is the Antique Market (1324 Franklin) which is located in an industrial part of town a few blocks east of Main Street. In the business over 30 years, this store started out on Main and was there 28 years before the owner, Harry Stryer, decided to consolidate the store front with the warehouse six years ago. An avid traveller and seasoned business man, Harry has transformed his warehouse into a stunning retail space that showcases and impressive collection of architectural antique wrought iron, antique French iron, period lighting, antique lighting, Chinese antiques, and antiques from England, Belgium as well as from more exotic places like Egypt and India.

From there, head west towards Main Street and visit The Source (929 Main).  Located on the border of Chinatown, this shop has also been around for over 30 years. Owned by two sisters, Lorraine Shorrock and Clare Reandy, The Source specializes in heritage iron and brass (building and furniture hardware), antique furniture, stained glass, architectural antiques, and British Pub items (e.g., original pub signs).

A few blocks further South on Main Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenue, is another fun place to stop. Here you will find three vintage stores that specialize in Mid Century Modern; Your Fabulous Find, ReFind, and the new Space Lab. Although technically not antique shops, these stores cater to the “20 somethings” looking for Danish Teak, Art Deco, or what one of the owner’s affectionately calls “groovy bachelor pad stuff”. Maynards, which has operated as a Fine Arts and Antique Auction House since 1902, has moved their showroom next door at 1837 Main Street.

Just a few blocks up the road is another well known and respected antique store called Vancouver Architectural Antiques (2403 Main).  At this location since 1994 they specialize in antique lighting, fine antiques, and estate appraisals.

Continuing south, you come across two very different stores at Main and 16th Avenue; Sellution Vintage Furniture (3206 Main) and Alexander Lamb Antiques (3271 Main) which has a small backroom that houses a collection of vintage tribal photographs and artifacts in a mini-museum called Exotic World.

Baker’s Dozen Antiques is the next must see store on this route. Located at 3520 Main Street, this store caters to antique toy collectors but also features an impressive collection of dolls as well as a diverse selection of folk art and other harder to find antiques and collectibles. When there, ask to see Heather Baker’s provocative three dimensional collages in the back room.

Past King Edward Avenue and heading towards the original antique row is a cluster of antique stores that specialize in European, Asian, and North American antiques. Arriving here is like stepping back in time, many of the buildings in this area were built in the early 1900s. These include Red Corner Antiques (4219 Main), Modern Time Antiques (4260 Main), Red Rose Antiques (4285 Main), Renewal Antiques (4296 Main), Wholesale Antiques (4373 Main), JoJo’s (4376 Main), Abe’s Furniture (4386 Main), J&J Antiques (4394 Main), Le ‘Gent Antiques (4402 Main), Timeless Antiques (4406 Main), Old Stuff Two (4510 Main), and Sugar Barrel Antiques (4514 Main).

Of particular interest in this section of Main Street is Secondtime Around Antiques (4428 Main). In their 30th year of business on Main Street, the owners Mark and Tracey Porter buy mostly from Belgium and France and in lesser amounts from Austria and Germany. They do carry English antiques but buy them locally and selectively. With over 8000 square feet of showroom space, they offer a wide variety of styles such as Victorian, Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts, Edwardian, Art Deco, Louis X1V, Louis XV, Federal styles including Hepplewhite and Duncan Phyfe, as well as Country French and Canadiana.

From here, head further south on Main all the way to Marine Drive, turn right and you then come across two other larger well known antique stores: Antique Warehouse (226 S.W. Marine Drive) and Farmhouse Antiques (1098 S.W. Marine Drive).

This makes for a full day if you plan to visit all of these stores, but rest assured there are many excellent places along the way to stop for coffee and lunch.

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A small group of women on the east side of Vancouver have decided to take what they love to do and create a unique and viable business that makes a difference in their community. Only open for seven months, Miscellany Finds is a hands-on social enterprise that provides hard to place women with basic back to work skills through on the job training programs in their retail thrift store. All profits from the store help to further their social mission and are put towards programming costs.

Many of the women that they work with have had to face some very difficult challenges and need a special kind of support to help them transition back into the workforce. According to Portia Sam, the program’s coordinator, their mandate is “to validate women and help them build confidence and competence.” Zainab Bernard (Production Manager) also stresses that they are passionate about creating a fun and nurturing environment for these women to acquire basic lifeskills like time management and setting up a bank account, as well as specific retail job skills such as working with money, taking inventory, setting up displays, and customer relations.


And, all of this occurs on-site at the thrift store which is located on East Hastings, a few blocks east of Nanaimo Street. The store itself is quite charming and has a boutique feel to it…without the boutique prices. Separated into two distinct sections – humanity and home, they carry a little something for everyone.


In the humanity section they have a broad selection of everyday and brand name clothing and accessories for men, women and children. The prices are extremely reasonable and everything is clean and well organized. Prices range from $4 to $30 and although most items are contemporary, they do have some stunning vintage pieces.

For the home they have some newer as well as funky retro housewares, a few electronics, linen, books, records/CDs, movies, children’s toys, and some rather unique items such as an interesting looking sabre. They also had some nice pieces of furniture, including a beautiful antique phonograph record player that still works when you crank the handle. Prices here vary, depending on the item, but all still very reasonable (e.g., TV for $20). They recently just sold a gorgeous mahogany table with six matching chairs for $200.


They are currently also working on building a warehouse space so that they can increase their capacity for donations. Unlike many other places, they will accept almost any donation as long as it is clean and in working order. The only things that they will not accept are mattresses and children’s car seats (both because of health and safety reasons). They request that you call them first to make arrangements for the drop off and do have parking at the back of the store to make drop off’s easy. There is also ample street parking in front of the store.


This is definitely a place worth checking out, both Portia and Zainab have created a wonderful space that is inviting and immediately offers a sense of community.

Miscellany Finds
2615 East Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC
(604) 254-9999
www.miscellanyfinds.ca

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The madness. The frenzy. And, the fun! These are the words that best describe the scene at the Talize thrift store in Delta early Monday morning. Although this Canadian thrift store has been at this location for just over five years, it is just now starting to gain momentum as one of Metro Vancouver’s favourite thrift shopping destinations – especially when they have their 50% sale.

“Attention shoppers, Wendy your shopping cart is ready.” This surprising type of announcement was a common occurrence on Monday morning. Doors had opened at 7am and with several hundred people in line to get in, all the shopping carts were already in use by 7:15. But, where one would expect chaos and flaring tempers, Talize staff had everything well in hand. A nice touch was that people could sign up to be on the list for the next available shopping cart, which most people would need as this was a day to shop in volume.

This thrift retail chain store originates from Ontario and currently only has one location in British Columbia. Still not as well recognized as Value Village or Salvation Army, this unique thrift store is gaining in popularity. Open seven days a week (often until 9pm) and located at the corner of Nordel Way and Scott Road in Delta, it is easily accessible from all parts of Metro Vancouver and has ample parking.


With several thousand feet of retail floor space, they carry an impressive selection of clothing and accessories for children, men and women, and to a lesser extent housewares, books, DVDs, CDs, furniture and electronics. Most of their stock is what they call “gently used” but they do carry some newer items as well.

The layout of the store is easy to navigate, with wide aisles that can easily fit two shopping carts side by side. Their stock is well organized with a huge selection in all sizes; ranging from petite all the way to plus sizes. Regardless of your shape or age, there is something for everyone and it is easy to find the colour, size and style that best suits your taste.

Regular prices are quite reasonable, running anywhere from a few dollars to $20 or $30 depending on what you are looking for. But during the 50% sale, everything is half price. Shoppers can often get designer labels such as DKNY, Calvin Klein and more for under $5. Brand name clothing and accessories from Old Navy and the Gap are also available for as low as $2 or $3 per item. They also carry a decent selection of vintage items for both men and women.

I would recommend signing up for their E-Flyer so that you will be the first to know when they have their next 50% sale.

Talize
11930 – 88th Avenue
Delta, B.C.
(604) 599-6116
www.talize.com

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UPDATE: This store is no longer in business.

Only open for two months, Green Goddess Consignmentis Vancouver’s newest consignment store in the trendy neighbourhood known to locals at “Kitsilano” or “Kits”. This is a new venture for Carol, the owner, but she has done her homework and created a store that is friendly and inviting, and has an incredible selection of women’s clothing that is both fashionable and affordable.

Her consignment policy is flexible, with few restrictions. As a result she has already developed relationships with many women in the community looking to consign their clothing. Green Goddess therefore has a huge stock of clothing that ranges from casual to business all the way to evening and gala wear. There is also an excellent selection of accessories, jewellery, lingerie and footwear.

Because she is open to looking at many different styles, Carol notices many different “pockets” of types of clothing. There is a section of trendy clothing that includes designer brands such as French Connection and local brands like Aritzia. There is also some “Vintage Drama” that includes exciting vintage pieces in perfect condition as well as some classic pieces from Talbots. And, for those looking for something a bit more eclectic there are recycled saris, linens and clothing made from bamboo and organic cotton.

Carol enjoys being able to create a fun shopping experience for everyone and tries to help customers find what they are looking for. She will even keep a journal of specific items that women are looking for and do her best to get them into the store. To further the shopping experience, Carol also offers a series of events focused on topics related to personal beauty, health and style called Beauty & Brio. Many of these are offered in the store and in other locations throughout the community.

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Main Street Vancouver has gone tree crazy. As one of Vancouver’s most eclectic and vibrant shopping districts it is not surprising that they have launched a colourful new holiday tradition called “Get Your Tree On.” Forty merchants along Main Street have joined forces to decorate Christmas trees and are inviting shoppers to vote on their favourite and enter into a draw for one of two amazing gift baskets. Each store has contributed either a gift certificate or product from their store towards the gift baskets, making each basket worth just over $1000…definitely making it worth while to head over to Main Street this week and to vote for your favourite tree.

Shoppers can vote either online at www.shopmain.ca or at a ballot box located at Re-Entry Espresso (4363 Main). Voting will be open until December 12th at 12 noon. Flyers with a list of all the tree sites, and a ballot, are available at each of the participating stores. The draw will be held at 2pm on December 12th at Once a Huckleberry Bush (4387 Main Street) along with a performance by the Vancouver Children’s Choir.

There will also be food boxes in each of the participating stores collecting donations for the food banks at St. Michael’s Church on Broadway.

Each tree is quite different and appears to reflect the personality of the store along with its owners. Bodacious (shown above) has showcased a stunning green “plus size” gown as their tree and and in similar fashion, Solid Threads (3851 Main Street) has decorated a mannequin in a vintage green dress as their entry.

Echo Unique Resale (3553 Main Street) has gone a very different route and had children (and some adults) draw pictures of trees. The drawings are very sweet and offer a unique approach to this competition.

Down the road, Public Lounge has also enlisted the help of children and had them make tree ornaments out of wine corks to look like reindeer and angels. They were done by children in the after school program at the Mount Pleasant Community Centre.

Vintage trees and ornaments were also popular for many of the store owners. Laura Frederick from Dandelion Emporium used a vintage “tinsel” tree from the 1960’s and decorated it with gold army men ornaments made by local artist Laura Skuse (Exskuse Design). The tree is standing on the Branch Table by designer Harry Allen. Neptoon Records and CDs also used some classic vintage ornaments on their tree and Sellution Vintage Furniture (3206 Main Street) put their unique spin on things by using antique tea cups, broaches, and silver as decorations.

The spirit of giving was also an important theme for some stores. Bohemia Gallery/The Loft decorated their tree with warm mittens, gloves, hats and scarves…all of which will be donated to St. Michael’s church to support families in need. Two of Hearts Clothing (3728 Main Street) had local designers create ornaments for their tree and are all for sale with 100% of the purchase supporting the Adoptive Family Association.

Yummy treats also made their way on to a few trees. Tina Teoli from Miranda’s Hat (3860 Main Street) decorated her tree with candy…and with each purchase shoppers get to grab a piece from the tree to take home. In a slightly different approach, the tree at Life of Riley (3697 Main Street) had dog biscuits attached with red bows.

Artistic expression featured well throughout all of the trees. Barbara from Plush used beautiful green fabric to create her tree while artists from Arts Off Main designed their own decorations to reflect their art being sold in the shop. The tree on display at Body Politic also showcased handmade ornaments by local designers and the tree at Scala was decorated with paper cut outs, all individually created. Kiddo Consignment was also quite clever with their tree…they used white hangers to create the silhouette of a Christmas tree.

Although all the trees were beautifully and thoughtfully decorated, and I am sorry that I couldn’t list them all here, two stand out for me a bit more than the rest. I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into On The Fringe Hair Design and saw that they had used red hair extensions as tinsel and gold hair rollers as ornaments…but even more captivating was the “corset tree” that was on display at Lace Embrace Atelier…a very provocative approach indeed!

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**Quick update on Cheapskates: The storefront at 19th and Dunbar will be closing in October 2009. The building has been sold. As a result they will operate only one store, the one at 3644 West 16th Ave, and this will affect what they are able to consign. Call them directly for more information: 604-222-1125


I noticed the most wonderful sign this morning – Free Ski and Snowboard Boots! It wasn’t in a laneway but rather at a local sports consignment store called Cheapskates. They seemed to have a terrific selection of all types of sizes and makes. Definitely a great find for anyone wanting to learn to ski or snowboard this season. This way you can save some money on the boots while being able to rent the rest of the gear. Also, I have learned that by putting money into a pair of inserts, that can make any boot work.

Cheapskates has been a regular fixture in the Dunbar neighbourhood for over 20 years. What started out with one little store has grown into a formidable presence at the corner of 16th and Dunbar. There used to be four locations but now there are two, both located within walking distance: Cheapskates One (3644 W16th Ave, Vancouver) and Cheapskates 19 (3496 Dunbar St., Vancouver). Here you can pretty much find every kind of used sports equipment. Barry Gilpin, the owner, likes to think of this as his own sporting goods department store -“but one with sidewalks instead of escalators taking you to the different departments.”

Barry has been a sports enthusiast most of his life and after having accumulated excessive amounts of sports equipment, he decided that there had to be a way to recycle and resell all of it. He had previously been in the real estate business but decided to start his own sporting goods business after he had swapped a house in Gibsons for a storefront business in Vancouver.

Times were different back then, people bought secondhand because of necessity and it was not as socially acceptable to purchase used goods as it is today. Barry remembers one woman who came from across town to buy used equipment for her kids and liked that it was out of the way, none of her friends or family knew that she was buying things secondhand. But he also started the business at a time when recycling was becoming more prominent. And this changed everything.

After a few years in business he outgrew the first storefront location, but instead of going after a larger building he decided to open up a second store and split up the different kinds of sporting equipment. This led to Cheapskates Too at the corner of Dunbar and 17th, and two years later Cheapskates Fore a few doors down, and finally Cheapskates 19 at Dunbar and 19th.

The stores evolved into departments, each with its own specific type of inventory: Cheapskates 1 -skating, hockey, soccer, baseball and exercise equipment; Cheapskates Too -bicycles and parts; Cheapskates Fore -golf, racquets, and inline skates; and Cheapskates 19 -skis, snowboards, snowshoes, camping equipment, and ski clothes. This allowed Barry and his staff to keep better track on the inventory and to become very knowledgeable in each area.

Everything is sold on consignment, and the prices are discounted over time. Barry also made a decision in the beginning to only mail out the cheques so as to discourage people from trying to sell stolen merchandise. He currently has thousands of consignees who cover a large geographic area including the Kootenay’s, Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland, and even the U.S. And he has a very diverse client base.

According to Barry, “no two days are ever the same. The stock is always changing and this keeps it interesting.” He is very proud of the business that he and his wife have built together and he loves what he does and he does it well. “We try to focus on what we do and then do the best job we can with what we have.”

He has also made a strong commitment to the community and has created a unique way of donating to charity. He has a wonderful system in place where people can drop off used sports equipment and then have the proceeds of the sale go to a charity of their choice. He currently has accounts set up for the Boys and Girls Clubs, Amnesty International, KidSport, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Junior League Sunshine Wheels, and the Hearing Impaired Foundation. But he can also arrange to send the money to different charities if you provide him with all the necessary contact information.

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Bohemia Gallery Front WindowBohemia Gallery (3243 Main Street @ 16th), one of Vancouver’s best kept consignment store secrets, welcomes local designer Karen Green, from ODP Designs, to The Loft. Jann Purcell, Bohemia’s owner, is thrilled to showcase ODP Designs and passionately believes that Karen’s designs are a perfect fit with her belief and life philosophy that “fashion is art”. Karen’s designs, all one-of-a kind pieces, are reconstructed from recycled clothing and fabric and reflect her love of all things unique and beautiful. Knowing no boundaries, Karen’s designs create cultural connections by mixing fabrics and fusing them in the most unexpected and exciting ways.

Bohemia and ODP Fall Fashion Show TrioTogether, Jann and Karen are no strangers to the fashion industry, between them they have over 40 years experience. Jann has worked 20 years in fashion retail and opened Bohemia Gallery in 2004 with her daughter Ashlee. Five years later, with her son Jason and his wife Taryn now part of the business, they have expanded the store to include the upstairs portion, called The Loft, and have over 3000 square feet of retail space. With a blend of contemporary, retro and vintage clothing and accessories for both men and women, their store can best be described as “boho chic meets retro crazy.”

Karen started designing her own clothing at an early age and created her own distinctive look – first for herself and then for her children. Eventually her passion for fashion led her to start her own fashion line – ODP Designs. With the loving support of her family, Karen has grown her fashion line to include everything from reconstructed sweaters and kilts to beautiful wedding gowns that are crafted from a unique multi-cultural mix of fabric.

Bohemia and ODP Fall Fashion Show Green Dress

This past week, Karen and Jann joined forces to host their first fashion show in the Loft, upstairs in the Bohemia Gallery. It was an incredible success with over 200 people in attendance. Jann showcased vintage fashions and clothing from the late 70s and early 80s, reminding us that what is old is definitely new again. The models (both men and women) presented a visual feast of bright colours with shiny gold accents as accessories (everything they wore came from the store). Their silhouettes were framed by striking hair pieces.

Bohemia and ODP Fall Fashion Show GoldKaren’s models (again both men and women) on the other hand were more muted in colour, but vibrant in layers of texture and fabric. All of her designs are unique and can best be described as Victorian Romanticism meets the streets of Vancouver. From everyday wear to Celtic inspired wedding gowns and stylish kilts and sweaters for men, her clothing not only blends texture and fabric but various fashion eras as well.

Bohemia and ODP Fall Fashion Show Wedding Dresses 2

The evening was both festive and fun. I look forward to their next event, as I am sure it won’t disappoint.

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Ladner Thrift Store CupsThe Delta Hospital Auxillary Thrift Store in Ladner (4816 Delta Ave., Ladner, BC) is definitely old school when it comes to how they do business. And it shows, their shop is always busy. Located in the quaint fishing village known as Ladner, this thrift store (located in two separate store fronts side by side) has a wonderful selection of clothing, housewares, books, some furniture, collectibles, sports gear, tools, electronics and so much more. And, everything is priced to sell. Here you can actually find many different items under a dollar and the clothing has fixed prices that are extremely reasonable.

As a result of their prices being so low, their stock is constantly changing and many of the locals visit the store at least a few times a week to see what new items have come in. They cater to all ages and the friendly volunteers who run the store are always eager to help. I also appreciate how well organized they are and how clean everything is. The atmosphere is quite fun and I can’t help myself but want to buy something. This last time I found a really nice white long sleeved Tshirt for $3. It looks quite new and fits like a glove.

Every month they also host the Collectible’s Sale where they will bring out a terrific selection of some of their better pieces that include collectibles, antiques, silver, china, vintage clothing, retro housewares, etc. Although the prices for these sales are a bit higher, they are still priced to sell. Well worth checking out! Their next Collectible Sale is set for September 30th 10am to 3pm.

Ladner Thrift Store Kids ClothingStore Details:
Hours of Operation: Mondays 1:30pm to 5pm, Tuesdays to Saturdays 10am to 3pm, and Closed Sundays
4816 Delta Avenue, Lander BC
(604) 946-1455

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clothing exchangeA few years back I had the opportunity to participate in a unique gathering that brought together all the elements for a terrific night out: good friends, fine wine, great food, and a massive pile of clothes. The evening was part of a seasonal gathering called the “clothing exchange,” where women swap their unwanted clothes and have a bit of a social at the same time.

In order to find out how to organize one, I consulted with my friend Suzanne who is one of the more seasoned veterans of this process. She has been involved with clothing exchanges, sometimes called “the games,” for over 15 years and continues to love this process. “It is the best thing,” she says. “You take a bag of stuff you no longer want and/or have outgrown and come home with a bag of amazing new finds – all without spending a dime.”

The social aspect is above all central, but the added benefits are many. Not only do you get to clean out your closets, you also get to see some of your stuff go to a good home and the rest to charity. There is no waste and the process is fun with just the right amount of sport to keep it interesting. And, you get to go home with some great new clothes.

Hosting a “clothing exchange” party is easy and fun. Suzanne jokingly says that there are no rules – but there are a few to keep in mind. Below are Suzanne’s tips for having the best “Great Canadian Clothing Exchange Party.”

The Basics:

  1. Need between 9 – 15 women for it to really work.
  2. Good to invite a variety of women (different sizes) with a mixture of tastes and styles. It also helps to mix social circles.
  3. Everyone should come with at least one large bag of clothes and accessories (shoes, hats, belts, etc.).
  4. Provide refreshments and snacks or make it a potluck. (Trying on all those clothes can make a person hungry)
  5. If you plan on doing this more than once, create a core group of four to five women who will always be invited…keeping “the games alive.”
  6. Need to alternate the other people you invite so as not to keep getting the same stuff each time.
  7. Good to offer these parties seasonally.
  8. Whatever is left over at the end of the evening gets donated to charity by the party host.

Planning Process:

  1. Make sure your home can accommodate 9-15 women trying on clothes. If not, consider using a friend’s home that may have more space.
  2. Set the date a few weeks in advance. It is generally better to offer it during the week, but if you want more of a social…the weekend is best.
  3. Invite people over at around 7:30. This allows some time for socializing before “the games” begin, which should promptly start at 8:00 and go to about 10.00.
  4. Invite your core group and the rest. You need at least 9 women to make it work, but up to 15 is ideal. Always a good idea to invite a few more as some people may cancel.
  5. Good to call a few days in advance to confirm, making sure you have enough time to invite others if you need to.
  6. When choosing the group, make sure you are inviting people who enjoy secondhand clothes and this type of event.

The Night Of:

  1. Clear a space in your home that will comfortably fit up to 15 women and one massive pile of clothes.
  2. Make sure that you have enough mirrors handy so that people can check to see that things fit properly. You might even ask a few people to bring over some stand up mirrors. Spread the mirrors in different rooms, allowing privacy for those who need it.
  3. Because of how everyone will be trying on clothes, possibly stripping to their knickers in the open, best to not have husbands/boyfriends and children around. This could make some people feel a bit uncomfortable.
  4. As people arrive have them dump their clothes in the pile and quickly cover it so no one gets the “advantage.” You need to make sure that you have a few large blankets handy to cover the pile adequately.

Let “the games” Begin:

Once everyone has arrived, go over the “rules” before you start.

  • There are really no rules, BUT…
  • Have fun, first and foremost
  • Everyone is to create a circle around the pile
  • The host counts to three and then everyone helps to remove the blankets together
  • Each person grabs the clothes and accessories that she is interested in and creates a personal pile. No one can take from that pile, but they can call “dibs” just in case you decide you that don’t want it. If no one has called dibs, it goes back into the pile as “incoming” or “seconds” so that people know to go and check it out.
  • There should be several stations set up where people can try things on.

Some Tips:

  • Good to go in with both a playful and assertive attitude
  • Know what you like, especially in terms of colours and textures
  • Make quick assessments
  • Move quickly, don’t dawdle
  • Grab everything that is of interest to you and place it in your pile–you can always throw it back in if you don’t want it
  • Don’t take it personally when people aren’t going after the clothes you brought

At The End:

Once everyone is done creating her own pile, all the clothes that are left over are sent to charity. The host usually deals with this aspect, but can ask if people have some favourite charities that they like to donate clothes to. Always a good idea to call the charities ahead of time to make sure they are in need of the clothes. Many have outlined what they need and how they accept clothes. Some will even pick them up like the Canadian Diabetes Association, Big Brothers, and Developmental Disabilities Association. Many of these charities also have deposit bins conveniently located throughout the city.

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