Howdy, everyone! This week’s email is from our swap meet and content coordinator, Ruthie, who will tell you all about how to have a successful swap meet experience.
It’s summer! Which means there are only five months left until Royal Vegas Retreat is finally here. While there are plenty of things to get excited about – special guests, online vendors, panels – you can’t have a great lolita convention without a lolita swap meet. A Lace Flea Market, if you will.
No matter if you’re selling or just there for those sweet deals, here are some basics to make sure your swap meet experience at RVR is the best it can be.
-Make sure to line up early! You never know what’s going to be behind those doors, and the last thing you want is to miss out on a deal for your dream dress because you were lollygagging. -Give yourself a budget. It’s easy to go overboard at a swap meet, so a good method is to have cash on hand, and only resort to a backup Venmo or PayPal account if you find your absolute “must-have” wardrobe piece. -Most sellers are agreeable, but be courteous. In my experience with swap meets, a lot of sellers are willing to haggle on prices, or negotiate a trade deal. However, you never want to be that person who annoys their way to a better price. There are also some sellers who are not willing to lower their price, and that is entirely up to them. Remember that you’re all lovers of lolita fashion, and if you’re not a pain in the petticoat, you might even make some new friends! -This isn’t a Black Friday sale, so keep it mellow. Getting excited is all par for the course when it comes to a hobby that you could reasonably trade a kidney for, but remember that we’re all there to have fun and relax. So try not to let your excitement turn you into a bloodthirsty brand shark. Besides, no one wants to trample their enemies in their nice Tea Parties. -Check the tags! RVR will be doing the best it can to make sure that no forgery dresses get let on to the swap meet floor. However, there’s no guarantee that we’ll be able to police the tables close enough to catch everything. Make sure that if you’re buying a main piece, especially if it’s from a reputable brand, to check the inside tag to be doubly sure that it’s not a fake. If you suspect someone on the floor is selling replicas, please alert your nearest volunteer, and we’ll handle it accordingly.
-Have change at the ready. While a lot of transactions can be done digitally these days, it’s always best to have some cash change on you, especially if you’re selling smaller items like accessories. Try to assess your average price and plan ahead. For example: if nothing at your table is under $100, have $20’s on hand for bigger change. If you have a bunch of $3 hair clips, have $1’s and $5’s. -Try to have as much information on your pieces as possible. Even without the pandemic, swap meets tend to not have changing rooms. Therefore, if you have the measurements, brand name, release date, etc., try to include this with the dress so that buyers know exactly what they’re getting. If you’re a second or third owner, try to also divulge that information as well. -Disclose any damage or possible stains. Pretty standard LM practices. If you’re selling a damaged dress, be upfront and honest about it. Most lolitas are fairly crafty when it comes to stain removal or stitching up a button, so it may still result in a sale. -You’re free to handle returns, deals or trades as you see fit. If someone buys your Super Rare Milky Planet OP, only to come back and want a refund because it wasn’t as glittery as they thought it was, it’s up to you whether or not you want to give them their money back. Additionally, if someone insists on haggling for every little thing at your table, you’re more than welcome to politely decline, and keep your prices as is. If a situation comes up that’s getting heated, please alert the staff and we will sort it out. -If you can, supply paper receipts. This will not only help you keep track of your stock, but let’s say you were a great seller, and a customer you sold to wants to tell their friends. Now they’ve got your name, the price of their new dress, and maybe even your social media information in case you have left over items, or in case you decide to sell anything else in the future. Supplying plastic or paper bags for purchases can also be a convenience for your buyers. -Do not bring replicas or other inappropriate material. RVR takes the distribution of counterfeit dresses seriously. So even if it’s a replica you bought in your baby-lita days that you’ve been dying to get rid of, don’t do it here. Anyone selling replicas will be asked to leave the sale floor. Other inappropriate material includes: pornography of any kind, irrelevent material beyond 20% of their stock (anime/manga), or any weaponry like knives. -Be comfortable. You’re going to be selling stuff nonstop for like… 5 hours. Wear your most comfortable coord with the least amount of fuss. Remember, the show stopper is for the tea party. Also, snacks are a must.
If you are a buyer, be sure to reserve your table once they are available, and keep an eye out for a more comprehensive list of rules and regulations for the event. But until then, start gathering up those old and unloved JSK’s, and we’ll see you in November!
Call to Action: June marks the start of Pride month. Lolita fashion is inherently political, and it is more important than ever for all of us to stick together in times of crisis. Support the queer, trans, and gender non-conforming people in your life and in your community. Rather than discussing what parts of sexuality do and don’t belong at Pride celebrations, think about the ways in which Pride is inaccessible to those with disabilities and what an expansive, disability-friendly Pride looks like. Continue donating to mutual aid funds, especially for Black and Indigenous queer folks. If you’re ever looking for mutual aid funds in need of donations, consider donating to and boosting any of the funds boosted by this Twitter account: https://twitter.com/OpenYourWallett