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Swap Meet Guide to Buying & Selling

Bay Area Kei is hosting the annual J.ardsale swap meet (coined by our LA-based friend and colleague, @seams_witch) in San Jose, CA, on July 14th at Guildhouse!

Seller tables are currently sold out, but entrance is free for shoppers and there is no admission ticket required to attend.

Before the event, we wanted to remind both sellers and buyers of some general tips and etiquette for swap meets and shopping events to generally make the experience smoother for everyone involved!


Ask Before Picking Up/Trying On

Ask before handling any items, as some sellers prefer certain items to be handled with care. Always ask the seller if you may try the item on. J.ardsale will have limited changing rooms available, but it's up to each individual seller to allow for their dresses to be tried on.

Handle Items Carefully

When trying on or examining an item, be careful. If you damage an item while handling it or trying it on, you will be responsible for covering the cost of the damage or for purchasing the item outright, at the seller’s discretion. This can include things like an item being ripped/torn after trying it on, or transferring makeup or food stains onto sellers’ items. If you need assistance trying an item on, please ask the seller or staff.

No Returns

Most sellers at the event will not accept returns, and sales are considered final. If you aren’t sure about an item, be sure to take measurements, ask plenty of questions, and examine its condition closely before purchasing to make sure you are 100% satisfied with your purchase.

Don't Lowball

Some sellers may be open to offers, so If someone's prices are more than you'd like to pay, ask if they are willing to accept a lower price. Be courteous while negotiating, and don't offer a seller an insultingly low price (more than 50% off, for example). If the price is still too high, thank them politely and move on!

Another note - swap meets aren't an appropriate setting for requesting payment plans! The appeal of selling at a swap meet for many people is the convenience of getting rid of things easily, which a payment plan definitely isn't.

Bring Cash

Sellers are allowed to take payment any way they like (common platforms to use are PayPal, Zelle, Venmo, or Cashapp), but it's always a good idea to carry some cold hard cash.

Bring a Bag

Phew! You bought all this stuff and now you're lugging it around the room in your arms? Bringing a shopping bag is a great idea if you're expecting to buy more than just a few items! Sellers don't usually provide shopping bags, so make things easy for yourself and pack a bag just in case.

Know Your Measurements/Bring a Tape Measure

As any lolita knows, it's important to know your measurements for online shopping, but it's also useful to have them on hand even when the item is right in front of you. Bringing your own tape measure allows you to measure any items you may be interested in so you can gauge if you’d like to try it on.


Have Clear Payment Methods

We recommend a small sign listing the platforms you accept money on, with usernames or QR codes to make things easy for your shoppers. It's also a good place to note whether you accept offers!

Tag Your Items

Clearly tag your items with price, condition, measurements, and item information in advance! When you display your items, make sure the tag is attached securely and displayed in a very obvious manner, since having a visible price will make things easier for your shoppers.

Bay Area Kei has a tag template that sellers are free to fill and print beforehand. We will have a limited number of tags and safety pins available at the event, but not enough for every item that every seller is bringing.

Make the Item Condition Clear

It’s okay to sell items with stains, rips, missing accessories, or other damage, but please be sure to clearly disclose the condition on your item tags so that your buyers have a clear idea of what they’re purchasing.

Clean Your Clothing

Please sell only clean and washed garments. Items with stains or damage are okay to sell, as long as these things are properly disclosed, but no one wants to go home with a stinky dress. Please wash your clothing.

Set Up On Time

To make things easier for us, the organizers, and also for your shoppers, it's best to give yourself ample time for setup! We give our sellers one hour of setup time before the floor opens to shoppers, so please take advantage of that.

Respect Your Fellow Sellers

Don't intrude on the space of your neighbors when setting up or during shopping hours. If you want to take a peek at your fellow sellers’ wares, wait for them to finish setting up before asking about their items!


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