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Confessions of a Swapper: Kate

Lindsey Morse
ByLindsey MorseOct 6, 2021 | 1 comment

Confessions of a Swapper is a series that profiles MSA's top swappers. Want to share your own swapping experiences with the community? Details for how to get in touch are located at the bottom of the page. 

In this week's edition of "Confessions of a Swapper," we're going to hear from Kate, a self-proclaimed "swap addict" who's completed 561 swaps with a 100% positive feedback rating. (Way to score those gold stars, Kate!)

Before we dive into the interview, I want to quickly bring up the holidays. Yes, I know it's only October, but Kate shared a great idea that I want to pass along to you all:

Two years ago, I decided I wanted to send gifts to about a dozen of my female Facebook friends. That would have been expensive, so I swapped for a dozen palettes. I then wrapped them up and sent them with a Christmas card to each friend.
There are so many palettes available on the Swap site that it was very easy and my friends were elated.  But the trick is to think ahead. I worked on that swap project for a couple of months. It takes time to hunt down an item, negotiate a swap, then receive it in the mail.  Now's the perfect time to start a Christmas swap project!
Swaps is a great place to source gifts, but it's essential to plan ahead! As Kate says, now's a great time to start if you'd like to do some "shopping" for the holidays.

Now, before we dive into the interview, let's take a quick look at what the Swaps site is all about.

What is the MSA Swap site?

Image from MSA's Swap site.

The Swaps section of My Subscription Addiction launched way back in 2014, and it's a place where members of the community can exchange items they receive in subscription boxes. If you've ever wanted to get your hands on a subscription box item you missed out on, Swaps is the place to make it happen. Coveting the Teressa Foglia X Curateur "Lynn" Hat you missed in Spring's Curateur box? Looking to add the Library of Flowers Field & Flowers Luminary from Summer's Margot Elena Subscription Box to your candle collection? Swaps provides a platform where you can connect with other members of the community to trade for the items you can't stop thinking about.

To become a swapper, you'll need to sign up for a free MSA account and set up your profile. After you confirm your email address, you can navigate to the Swaps section and join the Swap site waitlist. Once you've been approved, you're ready to start swapping! (FYI-- your MSA profile is for more than just swaps. It's is a great place to keep track of your subscriptions, opt in to brand-specific emails, and create your subscription wishlist.)

You can browse the wide selection of items and request swaps from members of the community who've listed items that catch your eye. They'll then be invited to browse your listed items. Agree on items you'd like to trade? You've got yourself a swap! Each participant ships their half of the trade and provides tracking information. When the swap is complete, both parties submit feedback.

Over 20,000 swaps have been completed, and there are over 4,000 registered swappers. All members of the My Subscription Addiction community are welcome to participate.

Now, without further ado, let's meet Kate!

Confessions of a Swapper: Kate

Lindsey: Kate, thanks so much for reaching out and expressing an interest in being a part of this series! Let's start at the beginning: how long have you been swapping on MSA?

Kate: I Joined on April 09, 2017. I have completed 561 swaps.

L: How did you discover Swaps?

K: I discovered swapping on MSA while looking up spoilers and reviews for Julep, my first-ever sub box.

L: How frequently do you use Swaps?

K: I scan my inbox for swap notifications every morning while I have my coffee. And often get lost on the swap pages late at night. If you've gotten a request from me, it was probably in the wee hours!

L: What are your 3 favorite swaps you have completed? What made them stand out?

K: My 3 favorite swaps all came from ladies who were total strangers. Bunny, Bri, and Elizabeth were all so fun to swap with that they are now Facebook/Instagram friends! Those ladies were so fun to chat with via the chat message system that I couldn't let them out of my life! I don't even remember what we swapped; the connection we made in the message section was far more meaningful.

L: What are the “holy grail” items on your swapping wish list?

K: We call the items we obsessively seek: "unicorns" because they'd be magical to obtain. I've been after a particular purse since I started in 2017 but have never been able to swap for it. Right now I'm seeking the "Siren" perfume from a Margot Elena box that came out a year or so ago. (The one I now regret skipping!)

I'm also a very gifty person so I'm always on the lookout for gifts. I "Christmas-Swap" every year and try to do so months in advance.

L: When you receive a box, how do you decide which products to keep and which to swap? 

K: When I get a box, I decide if I'll actually use the item. If no, then I think over the gifts I'll need for upcoming holidays or birthdays. If I don't have a friend who I know will give it a loving home, it goes up for swap. If it's an inexpensive item and/or very difficult to ship (fragile, liquid, heavy, etc) I might not bother swapping it (and donate it instead).

Many on the site swap based (at least loosely) on retail value. That's why you see most people put the RV price in the listing (though many swap beauty items only for other beauty items or for less than RV if swapping for a non-beauty item.). We're all on beauty overload and non-beauty items are more coveted. So for example, the glass swear jar I received from Smartass & Sass, though I'll never use it, isn't worth shipping for only the RV of $12.

L: What's your favorite thing about Swaps?

K: My favorite thing about swapping is two-fold. Trading something I'll never use for something that I will, with someone that could potentially become a great friend. It's also nice to have a place to talk with others who are into sub boxes because my family and friends aren't. Sub boxes are a hobby of mine and I enjoy talking about them; my family is glad I have My Subscription Addiction friends so that they don't have to hear the latest news about Boxycharm, for instance.

One of my swap friends, MayBritt, and I even have what we call "Ipsy Day" where we wake up super early on the 2nd of each month to select our Ipsy Plus items and compare them. Sounds a little silly, but it's our monthly ritual and a way to bond.

L: What's your favorite subscription? And what do you love about subscriptions?

K: Subscriptions are great because you receive items you might never have found out about or thought to purchase for yourself, often for a great value.

I've tried dozens of boxes! I really love:

Your Bijoux Box - I've been stunned by the quality and style of the jewelry since I subscribed 4 years ago (and you won't find better customer service). It's like a little gift you give yourself every month!

Fortune Cookie Soap - it never disappoints! Very fun bath and body products for a great value!

Breo Box - this has the best items for me to gift! Especially to my brother in laws! Because of Breo I've been able to gift an Ember mug, a Phonesoap, a BBQ grill, and even a drone!

Margot Elena box - you won't find a more beautifully curated box. Each item is even individually wrapped in tissue so opening it is like Christmas!

Smartass & Sass - this one is just so fun! Every month has a sassy theme and the items fit it so well. If you have a sarcastic sense of humor and appreciate swear words, this is the subscription for you!

The boxes I miss most are Happy Rebel Box, Popsugar Must Have, and Julep!

L: What advice do you have for new swappers who are just getting started? What pieces of swap etiquette should they know? 

K: Communicate! Please. In my bio next to each listing, it says: "please talk to me." I'm far more likely to swap with someone who takes an extra second to say hi. I always put, "Hi! Thanks for looking!" Every time I request. I've had people request hundreds of dollars of stuff from me without even a "Hi." I wouldn't do that in real life, so I appreciate those who take the second to say Hi online.

I've even swapped before, purely based on the kindness of the other swapper. They were so nice, even though I didn't need anything in particular, I swapped with them (and gifted the swap to a friend).

And if you're going to take more time than normal to ship or something comes up, let the other swapper know. I've met some incredibly kind and generous people on this site. Most don't mind waiting if you're upfront and communicate.

Also: Don't. Open. The. Box! Swapping on MSA differs from swapping on Facebook or Pinterest in a very big way; opening the box/item, even if you don't "use" it is a no-no. It immediately lowers the value of the item. You must mark it as "used" on the site. Often, I, like a lot of people on the site, am swapping for gift items. So it can't even look opened. Plus there's the safety issue. I have a suppressed immune system so I can only use brand new items. And if I receive a beauty item that's obviously been opened, I have to throw it away.

Thanks so much, Kate, for taking the time to speak with me about Swaps. I really appreciate it!

Now, I want to hear from YOU. Are you an active swapper who'd like to share your swapping stories, tips, and tricks? Get in touch at [email protected]


Have a swap-related story to share? Or a question about Swaps? Drop a note in the comments section below! Eager to start swapping? Sign up here

Lindsey Morse
Lindsey Morse

Lindsey is a professional baker, cold brew coffee addict, and rosé aficionado who loves writing about food and wine. When she’s not sharing her love of subscription boxes with the world, you’ll find her in the podcasting studio, perfecting her cake decorating techniques, or cursing her way through the New York Times daily crossword puzzle. 

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1 comment


Hi Kate, it was nice to read your interview. I have swapped with you before. I agree that when a swapper is friendly and communicative, and you’ve swapped before, it’s hard to say no andso just swap for the sake of the friendship. As you said we can always pass the swap on.

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