Give + Take Swap Boutique: Swapping Gets Serious

Any fashion-conscious gal with Champagne wishes on a Coors Light budget will be delighted to discover Give + Take Swap Boutique in Santa Monica. Store owners Dora Copperthite and Celina Burns offer an economical and eco-friendly alternative to buying new clothes with an innovative membership-based clothing exchange program.

After hosting clothing swaps with their friends, Dora and Celina grew tired of seeing the same items crop up again and again. Celina recalls, "It was also sometimes unsatisfying to give a lot of clothes but then leave with a scarf!" They decided to solve the problem of swapping inequity once and for all with Give + Take.

The concept is fairly simple, but it isn't free, as Celina explains: "You pay a membership of $30 a month. Then you give us the clothes in your closet that you don't love anymore. We give you credits. Then you spend your credits in the store. You can also bring stuff back. So if you have a party to go to and you need a dress, you get the dress here, wear it, dry clean it, and bring it back for your points. It's like sharing a big closet."

The store does, however, offer free bins to accommodate the extra clothing they need to move out of the store. The monthly fee gives members unlimited access to the bins, and anyone with sewing skills has a leg up because they can alter the items as necessary to get the right fit. But whether or not you're handy with a needle and thread, the swapping concept is appealing to any clothes consumer who wants to make less of an environmental impact.

Give + Take deals in a range of labels and styles; you'll find more expensive labels like Marc Jacobs and Gucci, along with trendy items from Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and even H&M. Boutique designer labels are also welcome. Celina explains, "most women have a pyramid of clothing where they have cheaper stuff on the bottom of the pyramid and few expensive pieces at the top. If it is cute and in great condition, we will take it. We accept all sizes."

The store's members run the gamut from professionals looking to frequently change up their wardrobes to moms ready to unload the high heels they don't wear anymore to college students looking to snatch those heels right up.

Give + Take originally opened in Playa del Rey, but has moved to a high-profile location in Santa Monica's Sunset Park neighborhood. Check the business hours before visiting, as the store is closed mornings and all day Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Give + Take Swap Boutique
1740 Ocean Park Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90405

Store Hours:
Wednesday-Friday: 2pm-8pm

Saturday: 12pm-6pm

About the Author

Erin Harris is the editor of sustainable living blog SimpleFives.com and author of "Walking LA: 38 Walking Tours Exploring Stairways, Streets and Buildings You Never Knew Existed." She lives in Santa Monica with her husband and tw...
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