Alicia Polacok, from Resourceful PDX partner Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, stopped by Shwop in Southeast Portland and spoke with owner Marci Pelletier about a new take on swapping.
Marci Pelletier has been thrift shopping for 27 years. And owning her own business isn’t anything new either. She’s been involved with start-ups and financial companies most of her professional life. Starting a swapping business seemed like a natural fit. Marci opened Shwop three years ago. After outgrowing a space in Woodstock, she’s been in the Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood since 2013.
“Shwop is a clothing swap boutique where people pay a membership fee and then swap clothes,” said Marci. There are over 600 members who swap clothes, shoes and some household goods. Marci wants her shop to have a community feeling – offering women, men and kids a place to meet each other, find usable items at a deep discount and get the retail therapy that many of us crave.
The average person throws away 65 pounds of clothing a year. Swapping provides a different way to donate unwanted or unneeded clothes and reinvigorate your own wardrobe by shopping at Shwop.
Shwop isn’t a consignment store, nor does Marci buy clothes. Instead, members pay a fee to harness the stock. Marci keeps track of everything that comes through the door and then sorts and tags it for member store credit. Members are then free to shop for items they want to take home, matching their credit.
Marci also works with artists to upcycle or repurpose not-so-perfect items that come into the store. One artist uses denim jeans as her canvas. One classroom of first to third graders at Franciscan Montessori Earth School use stained and worn out t-shirts for weaving rag rugs. The rugs sold at their school auction for $1,300 each!
Portland residents are welcome to learn more about Shwop online or by visiting the store to become a member.