Fashion Talk: SNOBSWAP’s Elise & Emily
by ATFDC Contributor Barbara Collins
Do you have an obsession with online shopping? Are you always looking for discounts on designer items? Or want to get rid of your handbag from last season? All Things Fashion DC has a solution for you: SNOBSWAP offers everything designer and is an online heaven for all you Fashiontonians!
SNOBSWAP is an online clothing exchange where fashionistas can sell, swap, and shop for clothing and accessories that not only make heads turn but make your pockets very happy! The site features plenty of fashion goodies like awesome secondhand designer clothes, vintage handbags, and gently used brand name shoes. If you have trendy dresses or designer jeans that are collecting dust in the back of your closet, become a member of SNOWSWAP today and swap designer clothing with other stylish women! And did we mention that SNOBSWAP is an eco-friendly way to shop? It can’t get any better than this!
Founded by sophisticated sisters, Elise and Emily started SNOBSWAP back in June 2011. “Elise, hailing from a highly successful law background, decided to join forces with her sister Emily, a natural stylista with an MBA, deep luxury retail background, and passion for all things designer. Uniting complementary strengths, expertise, and vision made for a perfectly tailored business venture.”
Read on below for our exclusive All Things Fashion DC interview with the two divine sisters to learn more about the dynamic duo!
All Things Fashion DC (ATFDC): Elise and Emily…are you two twins? If not, do you get that a lot? (Laughs)
Elise: I love this question! Especially because Emily is 7 years younger than I am. Yay!
ATFDC: Where are you lovely ladies from?
Elise: I was born in New York and grew up in New Jersey, until my hair got too big and our parents moved us to Northern VA in high school. I’ve worked mainly in DC and New York. I’m settled down in Chevy Chase / Friendship Heights – the “Rodeo Drive” of DC.
Emily: I worked and lived in New York for 6+ years and now I’m in San Francisco. But I will always consider DC my hometown.
ATFDC: Did you always want a career in the fashion industry?
Emily: I’ve always had a deep love for fashion and went to business school to make a career move into the retail industry after years of consulting. From working at Hermes and Chanel, and now with SNOBSWAP, I have found my calling and couldn’t be happier.
Elise: I’ve always been a huge fan of fashion but because a Tiger Mom raised us, we were supposed to be doctors, pharmacists, or lawyers. I ended up going to law school and practiced for about ten years so I’ve checked that box off. And now that I have two very young kids, I needed a flexible schedule so a start-up business related to fashion is a dream come true.
ATFDC: When was SNOBSWAP started and how did you come up with the idea?
Elise: The launch of SNOBSWAP was inspired by my hunt for the perfect push present – a pre-owned Chanel bag. I felt guilty paying full price for a new bag in an economic downturn and expecting a new baby. So I looked in my closet one day and saw a few “it” designer bags just sitting there collecting dust and wished to swap or sell them for a pre-owned Chanel bag. I approached Emily with the idea of virtual closets where people can swap and sell their stuff and being a shopaholic herself, she loved it.
ATFDC: Who came up with the name “SNOBSWAP”?
Elise: “SNOBSWAP” was conceived in the kitchen – where I think best. “SNOB” represents our focus on high-end, designer labels but it’s also fun and cheeky. “SWAP” represents our love for recycling fashion and updating our wardrobes in an earth friendly way – totally not “snobby”!
ATFDC: Do you think working with your sister is easier or more difficult?
Emily: It’s been great working together. We have many interests in common and we complement each other with our different skill sets. We both absolutely love what we’re doing, launching and growing SNOBSWAP has been both a lot of hard work but has been an incredible and fun experience!
ATFDC: What do you love most about swapping fashion goods with other fashionistas?
Emily: We love the guilt-free feeling of bringing home “new” clothes and accessories for virtually free! I swapped J Brand jeans for a cute Elizabeth and James shoes the last time!
ATFDC: I see on your website you can have swap parties online? How does that work?
Emily: Members can swap with each other on SNOBSWAP so we are bringing the thrill of swapping online. It’s great because you can swap in the comfort of your own home and also turn down swap offers without feeling bad about hurting someone’s feelings.
ATFDC: So you have let us in on some consignment shopping secrets. Where are some of your favorite consignment shops in the DMV area?
Emily: Our favorite consignment shops include TARI in Georgetown, which now sells hundreds of coveted items on SNOBSWAP! We also like finding gems at Second Hand Rose, Ella-Rue, and Secondi in DC and Chic to Chic in Maryland. And we’ve become quite the experts at consignment shopping.
Elise: We are definitely experienced consignment shoppers! Some good tips to keep in mind when shopping are: (1) Look for quality, staple pieces by classic designers like a vintage pencil skirt by Chanel or Louis Vuitton wallet that you can use again and again. (2) Inspect the item closely for authenticity, stains, missing buttons, broken zippers, etc. to avoid going home disappointed. (3) Make sure you’re getting a good deal by doing your research. We will whip out our phones and search the Internet to see how similar items are priced.
ATFDC: How often do you shop at consignment shops?
Emily: We need to get our consignment fix at least two to three times a month! But of course we can get our fix anytime during the day or night on SNOBSWAP!
ATFDC: Are you a fan of thrift stores? If so, can you tell us some of your favorite thrift stores?
Elise: When I have time to browse, I love getting lost in thrift stores looking for vintage bags. Last time at Georgia Avenue Thrift, I found a great 80’s taupe colored cross body bag that I’ve been using all summer and an adorable Coach saddlebag that will be perfect for the fall. Each bag was under $15 – can’t get better than that.
ATFDC: Where are your favorite places to shop in DC?
Emily: Besides the consignment stores above, I love Barneys, Muleh, and Intermix.
Elise: I love shopping online but if I’m out I gravitate towards discount retail stores like Nordstrom Rack for great deals, cute clothing boutiques like Rue14 and Hu’s Shoes and Wear for unique and on-trend pieces, and used furniture stores like Miss Pixies and Good Wood for vintage home goods. Although I deeply enjoy splurging on designer goods, I love the hunt for that unique piece and getting that bargain buzz!
ATFDC: What are your future goals for SNOBSWAP?
Elise: Our goal continues to be the ULTIMATE online market place for selling, swapping, and purchases of pre-loved designer fashion. And to be this, we continue to focus on providing a robust marketplace for our users and making the site as user-friendly as possible. We hope to also support and participate in more local fashion community events. We are so excited to be a part of the rapidly growing fashion scene here!
Emily: We also want to provide charities an online platform to raise funds for worthy causes by selling items online. Currently, Real Housewives of DC have donated fabulous pieces for sale that were worn by reality starlets, Mary Amons and Lynda Erkiletian, to raise money for Cancer Schmancer (a cancer prevention charity) and Girl Power 2 Cure (raising funds to fight neurological disease Rhetts Syndrome). Funds are being raised through Mary Amon’s awesome charity, Labels for Love.
ATFDC: Can we see SNOBSWAP boutiques maybe in the future?
Elise: We don’t have plans to open a boutique in the near future but you never know . . . if our members want SNOBSWAP boutiques, we could be convinced!
ATFDC: What other projects are you working on?
Emily: We will be launching an iPhone App very soon, so users can list, shop, swap, and sell on your phone, anytime, anywhere. Also, due to high demand, we will be launching Closet Concierge, a white glove service where we help you list and sell your items, making it super easy to clean your closet and get paid for your goodies. Stay tuned for both!
Barbara is a sophomore at Old Dominion University, majoring in International Studies with a minor in Fashion Merchandising. She also writes for CocoKouture Magazine and would love to pursue a career in the fashion industry as a writer for a top fashion magazine.