Frequently Asked Questions

1. How does swapping work?

Please check our homepage for a description of the steps. If you have any further questions on the process, please feel free to reach out to us.

2. Why do we charge for donations?

  • Cost of shipping & handling: Our give away fee includes the cost of shipping so that you can donate all your items together, hassle free. No need to find a buyer, sell each individual item, fill forms in Japanese, etc. You will just need to put your items into the shipping kit we send you and drop it off at your nearest convenience store. 
  • Swap Points: Every item you donate also gets you Swap Points which you can spend on anything in our online store. These aren't just minute discounts on expensive products - the Swap Points you get are enough to get several products totally free. 
  • To minimize waste: Traditional thrift / charity stores accept donations free of charge, which creates a new problem: these stores become dumping grounds and generate a large amount of waste. This waste is then sent to landfills in developing countries, becoming a major source of pollution. By charging donors, we encourage them to donate their best items that other swappers would love, also minimizing waste. 

2. How are products on our site so cheap?

Thanks for thinking of this :). This goes back to our waste minimization principle. When you choose to swap instead of buy new, you are directly contributing to waste reduction and sustainability. We would like to reward you for this with low prices. 

3. How are Swap Points awarded to donors?

We calculate Swap Points based on the quality of your upload including:

  • Quality of photo: A photo where you are wearing the outfit (with your face cropped out for anonymity) helps others understand the style and fit of the item. We know this takes effort to upload, so we reward you with double the number of Swap Points. 
  • Description: The clarity of your description including info on size, what makes the item special etc. Bonus points for enthusiasm and creativity!
  • In season/ not in season: We also consider how appropriate the item is for the season. We don't evaluate items based on conventional notions of seasonal fashion i.e. colours. With some creativity, most items can be worn all through the year (Shouting out to whoever invented layering!). However, in some cases we may reject the item altogether if it is totally unwearable in the current season e.g. a heavy winter jacket or sweater in Summer. 
  • Diversity: Here at Swap Stories we celebrate our differences, and we know how difficult it is to find extra small or large sizes in Japan. We award extra Swap Points for these sizes, encouraging inclusiveness. 
  • Uniqueness & Brand: Everyone loves a swap treasure, so we award extra Swap Points for rare finds. 

4. Can you also swap in person?

Yes, absolutely. We run swap events in Tokyo approximately every two months, and we are also looking to organize events in other cities. At swap events, you can meet others like you who are interested in sustainability and zero waste living. Follow us on Instagram @swapstories.jp to stay updated.