. . . . . . . . . . . .I started by enlisting a co-organizer and a hostess. This made it much more manageable. We decided a "Home Goods" theme would suit our group nicely. Other themes: clothing, accessories, kids stuff, holiday, etc. We drew up a guest list. We settled on a Saturday morning from 10am to noon and asked everyone to bring a brunch item to share. Out went the invitations, complete with suggestions of what [home decor, kitchen goods, lamps, pillows, gadgets, craft supplies, etc.] and how much [1-8 items] to bring:
Our hostess was simply asked to make coffee ... and open her home to a small crowd of excited shoppers with armfuls of treasures. We mixed, mingled and munched in her great room, while we displayed our Swap wares on her patio. Unfortunately, I was too busy to think about taking pictures until we were almost down to the leftovers:
As ladies arrived, they were given a swap # and some "mixer" suggestions:
as well as a name tag. I am THAT person who forgets your name before you've finished telling me, so name tags helped me if no one else! Our main goal was really just to connect people who fly by each other at church on their way to pick up the kids from the nursery, so name tags and the mixer questions were a plus!
As everyone arrived, they set out their swap items and brunch treats, and got settled in. About 10:15 we began. We announced the rules: in groups of 3, ladies would shop the patio for one item. (based on their Swap #: 1-3, 4-6, 7-9, etc. So first arrivals had an advantage in nabbing the good stuff!) After everyone snagged one thing, we went around the numbers again. Each was asked to take in proportion to what they had brought. Meanwhile everyone could snack and chat. The no pressure, no all-eyes-on-me way it was set up with the wares a little separated from the hanging-out was well-received. The focus was on the fellowship.
We cycled through our 20 guests three times, then we said everyone could pop out and take whatever was left that they had their eye on. A generous amount of items were brought and several of us wanted to leave with less than we had come! :-) After this last shop, anyone was welcome to take their own leftovers home. The remainders were donated to a thrift store run by our Crisis Pregnancy center.
So, other than tips like "have your friend tell you your shirt label is sticking out BEFORE the event is over" I think I covered it! :-) I imagine we'll be doing more swap or swap-type events. The ladies who came are buzzing about what the next theme should be and the ones who missed want to do home stuff again! Let me know if you have questions or more tips to add!
If you'd like to use this invitation template/background to get started, feel free:
PS: Two of my best resources were: Better Homes & Gardens Jan. 2010, Swap till you drop article pg. 20 and this blog post by Nester.
Linking this post to the DIY collection of ideas at Kimba's blog.