During the course of those blink-and-you’ll-miss-them kid growth spurts, it’s only natural to feel a pang of regret when you gather up the stuff your youngster has outgrown. Luckily, there’s a local solution that’s green, community-oriented, and involved with a totally worthy charity. It’s a great event called Little Swappies, and it’s your Totally Awesome pick for best consignment/resale resource.
Lauren Patterson, founder of Little Swappies, recently took the time to chat with us about the inspiration behind her business, what makes Little Swappies so awesome, and more. Read on:
Red Tricycle: Congratulations on being voted “Most Awesome” by your community! What do you think your customers value most about your business?
Lauren Patterson: Little Swappies kids clothing, book, and toy swaps give families the opportunity to swap their new and gently used children’s clothes, books, and toys for something new and different. I think that our attendees value and embrace our philosophy, which is to give parents a feeling of connection to their communities and respect for our environment by reducing, reusing, and recycling. It is also empowering to help support our charity partner, Room to Grow, by donating all remaining items from the swaps to the organization.
RT: What inspired you to start your business?
LP: When our daughter was born, our friends and family bought her such wonderful gifts. I remember going into her closet when she was around 6 months old and feeling terrible because she had already outgrown many of the adorable outfits – some brand-new with tags still on them. I didn’t have any close friends who were pregnant at the time, and I wasn’t sure if and when we would have more children.
One day someone sent a message through my mother’s group asking if anyone wanted to organize a clothing swap. I realized that other parents were in the same situation, and immediately knew that this was the answer. I volunteered to organize the swap and haven’t stopped since then.
RT: Any advice for new business owners just getting started?
LP: If you believe in your idea, do it, and don’t listen to the naysayers. When I decided that I wanted to make Little Swappies a business, my friends and family thought that I was crazy, and that the business would never be sustainable or profitable. It is now a year and a half later and we have expanded our events from Manhattan to Brooklyn and have plans to continue that expansion to Hoboken in the Fall.
RT: Can you give us one tip for balancing entrepreneurship with parenthood?
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, and you have to learn to embrace that as best you can. What helps me is the knowledge that what I am doing with Little Swappies, benefits not only my family but other families in our community as well.
RT: What is your proudest moment as a business owner or parent?
LP: I can’t think of a defining moment of pride, but there have been many moments of utter gratefulness. Little Swappies is a family effort. My husband, parents, in-laws, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends, have all helped out at our events. We also have incredible volunteers. Without their help and support, these events would not be possible.
RT: Is there a special offer you’d like to include for Red Tricycle readers?
LP: We always offer hot list discounts for upcoming events. Look for the May hotlist post for a discount to our next Little Swappies Manhattan event on May 31.