Everyone is familiar with the ol’ saying “What’s old is new…” and when it comes to shopping for Bebe Bird & fam I’ve discovered there is so much value in treasure hunting through the old (vintage shops, flea markets & thrift stores) to discover something new, like clothing, furniture or the little Buddha statue sitting on my mantle that I picked up at the Brooklyn Flea a few years back.. You can imagine my excitement when I learned about Little Swappies, a brilliant NYC based clothing, toys & book swapping event, created by Lauren Patterson, that offers a solution to figuring out what exactly one should do with their Bebe Birds out grown items!
Bebe Birds (BB): Hi Lauren, Can you tell me about Little Swappies?
Lauren Patterson (LP): Litte Swappies organizes kids clothing, books & toy swaps in the NYC area. Participants bring at least 8 items (kids clothing size 0-6, books, toys or maternity wear) and can take home up to 20 items. All items not swapped at the event are donated to our charity partner, Room to Grow.
BB: Such a brilliant idea! What year did you start Little Swappes & how many times a year does Little Swappies host a swap?
LP: I started Little Swappies in the Fall of 2012. Since then we have had 5 events in Manhattan. We try to hold them once a season. We currently are hosting our first ever Brooklyn event on Saturday, April 27th from 10am-12pm.
BB: Awesome! What are some suggestions you can give to those attending their first ever Little Swappies event?
LP: I think the best tip is to know what you are looking for. As you sort through your children’s items, see what they have outgrown & think about what your family can use now. For example, if your daughter currently wears a 2T, but you think that by the summer she will be fitting into a 3T, keep that in mind for the swap. We have everything organized by category, size and gender, so when the swap begins you’ll know to go directly to the size 3t table.
BB: What have been some of your best finds from a swap?
LP: I have found everything and am always amazed and warmed by the generosity of our attendees. Everyone brings such nice things. My favorite at the moment is the coolest red wool beanie hat that our son has been wearing all winter, but we have gotten some incredible shoes at past events too.
BB: Any entertaining swap stories you could share with us?
LP: I have seen it all but what has made me the happiest are the stories I hear from people who have attended our events. At our last event, there was a mother who told me that she was thrilled because she brought her son to the swap and he was able to meet the little girl who took home one of the toys he brought. Crazily enough our event photographer captured the moment that the two met. It was special for me because I believe that these events teach our kids about sharing and giving back, and hearing and seeing it happen in real time is powerful.
BB: How many people can participate in the swap?
LP: Our swaps are community events. In order to retain that feeling, we cap tickets at 100. It feels good that all of your loved items will be going to a good home and that others in the community are bringing their loved items for you and your family.
BB: Okay, so what’s your secret: as a mom, a contributor to WellRoundedNY andKidville’s Vouices from the Ville as well as an expert mom at Mommy Nearest & organizer of Little Swappies how do you find the time? I barely find time to shower these days? I’d love any tips!
LP: Sometimes I wish that there were more hours in the day, but the truth is that there has to be a balance, because you can never do everything as perfectly as you would like. What helps me let go a little is the knowledge that what I am doing benefits not only my family but other families in our community as well.
BB: As you expand the swap to Brooklyn what are the future plans for Little Swappies?
LP: I think that every community needs a Little Swappies. Our plans are to continue events into Brooklyn and Manhattan and in the Fall expand to Hoboken.
Very exciting! Thank you so much Lauren for organizing such a wonderful event. I can’t wait to attend this weekend. To get your tickets ($20 if bought ahead of time or $25 at the door for general admission, $40 for Premier ticket) to Brooklyn’s first Little Swappies event this Saturday on April 27th from 10:00am-12pm visit them here. Little Swappie events are all kid-friendly. They offer free babysitting, arts & crafts, music, raffle, gift bags & more. Don’t miss it.