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Confessions of a Swapper: Caryn

Lindsey Morse
ByLindsey MorseNov 15, 2021 | 0 comments

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. 

This week in “Confessions of a Swapper,” we’re going to meet Caryn, who’s completed 600 swaps with a 100% positive feedback rating. Caryn, who goes by Kiki on Swaps, is a Colorado-based licensed esthetician and makeup artist. She’s worked in the beauty industry for over 20 years, and her business is now geared around virtual clients. She offers virtual makeup lessons and skin care consultations, and she also launched a pilot program at her local hospital for new moms having a hard time after giving birth. She’ll go in and offer them mini facials or braid their hair– little things to help make them feel special and cared for. Caryn also collects seatbelt purses from Harvey’s Seatbelt Bags and loves scouting for vintage items to add to her home and wardrobe.

Before we dive in, 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 Caryn, a.k.a. Kiki!

Confessions of a Swapper: Caryn

Lindsey: Caryn, thanks so much for being a part of this series! How long have you been swapping on MSA?

Caryn: I’ve been swapping since Spring 2014.

L: How did you discover Swaps?

C: I first discovered swapping when I was looking for subscription box reviews. I came across it through another friend recommending My Subscription Addiction.

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

C: That’s so hard to say! I’ve had so many amazing swaps over the years. Some of my favorite stand outs are for a record player through the Robb Vices box, a killer party dress from ModCloth (which I wore to my besties Vegas wedding) & some gorgeous eyeshadow palettes from the Beautylish mystery bag! The eyeshadow palettes are amazing because as a professional make up artist I was able to incorporate them into my pro kit!

L: I love that record player! I have one, too, and I use it all the time!

C: My husband and I collect vinyl records, and I currently have over 500 dating back to when I was a little girl.

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

C: Right now it would be the Spanish Box from Robb Vices, Nixon watch & some of the Les Neirdes Bracelets.

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

C: When I receive a box, I pull everything out and sort into categories… what I will immediately use, items for my pro kit, and gifting. I have a storage bin with items labeled for specific holiday gifts, birthdays etc. for friends and family. If something doesn’t fall into one of those categories, I set aside for swapping/trading.

L: Do you upcycle in other ways? If so, please share some examples!

C: I don’t have a very crafty upcycling story. Anything that hasn’t been used (such as cosmetics), I will donate to new makeup artists that are starting out in the industry and want to build their kit. I will also donate things like accessories, jewelry, new sealed Cosmetics and Clothing to a variety of women’s charities.

L: What’s your favorite thing about Swaps?

C: One of my favorite things about swapping is I have the opportunity to try sample/ receive something from a subscription box I don’t subscribe to.

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

C: My current favorite subscription is the GlamX box from Ipsy! I love that it is curated with amazing products, but you also have some choices that you can make on your own. The value is substantial! One of the things I love about subscription boxes is the opportunity to try new things for a great value! I used to subscribe to many boxes, but have slow down over the years. I love quarterly lifestyle boxes, and enjoy a couple of beauty subscriptions. I do monthly reviews of them for my clients and that’s really fun! 

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

C: MSA has a vibrant and fun swapping community. I would say communication is key and being responsive. Shipping when you say you will. Having patience. Sometimes hiccups can arise, and giving each other grace and that occurs. I think it’s really important to be forthright and honest about descriptions of items. Making sure that things are new and not used. Checking expirations on product/perishables. Have realistic expectations with the value. It doesn’t have to be dollar for dollar, but retail value is a helpful guide for swapping. Understanding the value of the items you’re offering versus what you’re requesting. Be generous if you can. I will look through someone’s profile, and if I have some thing that they are searching for, I will often throw that in with our swap as a fun surprise. I also love receiving that in return.


Thanks so much, Caryn, 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.

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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Our reviewers research, test, and recommend the best subscriptions and products independently; click to learn more about our editorial guidelines. We may receive commissions on purchases made through links on our site.