Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bargainista interviews Marta Nowinska from SwapSity

As you may know, I've been intrigued by local swap parties. Last year when Marta Nowinska approached me about promoting her swap meet on Bargainista, I was happy to help. Last week when Marta emailed to let me know she was launching SwapSity – an online consumer barter community – I suggested we do an interview.

What inspires you?

I love bringing my ideas to life and building exciting initiatives from the ground up. The creative process, along with the challenges it brings, fuels an entrepreneurial flame within me. Dialogue and idea-sharing also bring me new insights and spark my creativity.

Where did you get the idea for SwapSity?
Often, my best ideas come in flashes of insight, which was the case with SwapSity. The thought of swapping things crossed my mind one early morning in 2005, while on the way to work. Market research revealed clear potential for consumer barter in Canada. The idea was also fresh and unique, so I set out to create SwapSity.

Are you planning on holding swap parties in other locations besides central Toronto?

We started out with swap meets for downtowners and if there is significant interest, we will definitely consider expanding our events to other locations.

What would you like people to know about your approach to swap parties? How are they different from others and how will they integrate with the SwapSity brand?

Our brand offers the option of both an online and offline swapping experience. The swap meets have a variety of themes depending on the season. To date, we’ve organized a general garage sale and a book-movie-music swap. Upcoming events may include toy swaps for parents, clothing exchanges and arts and crafts fairs. Our events are open to everyone, including those who are not SwapSity members.

You’re on Twitter, Facebook and Flickr and have a blog, how are you using social media to help build SwapSity?

Our social media presence keeps growing. We share our swap meet photos on Flickr, tweet daily swap listings on Twitter and feature interesting items on Facebook. Recently, we have also started highlighting success swap stories on our blog.

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