Local moms create online swap marketplace for frugal families

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By Lara Alexander

When Rondee Fehrs, a mom of two, moved to the Edmonds area a year and a half ago from Las Vegas with her husband, she was looking to meet other moms. She found a mom’s group on the Meetup.com website and within a month met Rhaya McConnell, her soon-to-be best friend. “We decided to create our own group for play dates, parties and outings for kids and their moms,” Fehrs said. They set up a mom’s group for the South Snohomish and North King County areas. “We realized that we were always getting posts from mom’s who were looking for used items,” she explained.

With McConnell’s help, the two women decided to start a local online swap group where other area moms can post their used items for other moms to purchase. Using Facebook as the platform, their group acts as an online marketplace for parents to buy and sell children’s items to each other. In the few months that the group has been operating on Facebook, it has grown to 214 members with dozens of childrens’ items listed daily.

Michelle L Hempleman, an Edmonds resident and mom to a toddler, first heard about the swap group through Fehrs’ and McConnell’s original play group. As someone who shops consignment stores regularly, Hempleman says that her interest was piques immediately. She describes the swap group as a “win/win” for her and her daughter: She has been able to buy her daughter clothes and toys through the site’s postings, as well as sell a few things and use the money to buy new items for her daughter. She says that she has been able to buy shoes, swim suits, rain coats, dresses, a talking and singing rocking horse, and even a sandwich maker, which she says has become one of her husband’s favorite toys.

“I’m surprised at how addicted I’ve become to the group.  I have to check for new items being sold multiple times a day!” she says.

Another Edmonds mom, Julie Voiland, also joined the SnoKing Swap group after hearing about it from the mom’s meet-up play group. Unlike Hempleman, Voiland has used the site as a place to sell rather than buy. “I have four years’ worth of baby, toddler and preschooler items that I can no longer use and it’s nice to have a resource for selling items that seems a little more personal than Craigslist,” she says.

Both Voiland and Hempleman point to the administrators of the website as a key reason why the have had positive experiences with the swap group, saying that the administrators regulate the group closely to be sure that rules are followed and the site remains a positive place. “We wanted to have a group that was drama free!” says Fehrs, explaining that the rules are well documented on the site for all members to adhere to. “We work very hard to ensure things run smoothly for the ladies.” She adds that the site is growing every day. The group has seen 18 new members join just this week alone.

Currently, the group is planning “The Big Swap” on Saturday, March 24. The event will be “garage style” with each seller setting up a table or blanket with their items for sale. They are still searching for an appropriate location — a covered parking area, a church basement or similar space — and are open to suggestions or offers of space.

Interested readers can find the SnoKing Swap group on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/205222049570336/

3 COMMENTS

  1. Kudos to these folks! This is such an inspiring, creative and sustainable way of doing things. Spread the word folks~ this is a great way to support our local area families.

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