Clothes. Make-up. Chocolate cake. All words that make your average dame quiver with glee. But alas not words we usually associate with Siem Reap. Yet.
Sarah Cantero, the baker and businesswoman behind Wat Bo cake shop Upstairs Café is planning an occasion that encompasses all things girlie: a clothes swap.
This Sunday, June 17, at 3pm, participants are invited to come along to Sarah’s café with a bag-load of threads for an afternoon tea with a difference. For $6, ladies will enjoy a tea or coffee along with Sarah’s now famous chocolate fondant.
Attendees can avail of free make-up advice and tips from Sarah who previously worked for Mac as a make-up artist and trainer, and has painted faces on many a Paris Fashion Week catwalk.
Once guests are well-fed and beautified, the swapathon will commence.
“I really want this to be a place where people can meet each other, really mingle and get to know one another,” explains Sarah of the reason behind the party. “We have really loyal customers but I think the place is not known by everybody. And after that I am a girl!”
Sarah said she noticed that she, like other girls, tire out of clothes they bring from abroad or buy here quickly, so she thought the Clothes Swap would be a great format to get started with a new program of events.
Following her recent success hosting both Nerd Nite and an afternoon tea in aid of the Women’s Resource Centre, she decided to add some more quirky gatherings.
“I really would like to have two or three per month, maybe one during the evening which could be for an NGO. Or maybe during the week for the mums, enjoy a cup of tea or a brunch together, then have a flea or a swap focussing on kids clothes and toys.”
Sarah is also plotting a bridge slot for seniors and is inviting ideas for those who want a space for their group or activity.
“There are a lot of different kind of expats here. It’s not only young ones: you have the moms, then you have the seniors. Or maybe there are people who have something back home and maybe they are not able to practise their hobby here. It could be a venue for people.”
As for the clothes swap, Sarah says she’s come up with a few rules to ensure fair play. Everyone can bring a maximum of 20 items; clothes, shoes or accessories, clean and in good-nick, of course.
You will receive coloured ticket depending on the value you assign to each item. A red ticket could get you a $7 t-shirt for example, or three of them could be traded for a yellow item, say a $40 dress.
There will be a half hour to browse the clothes before the swap starts. But Sarah hopes there won’t be any fisticuffs.
“Normally you have to pick up a number to see who goes first, but I think everybody can go at the same time. We are responsible, we are adults.” But then she jokes, “No scratching, spitting or biting.”
Here’s hoping the handbags at dawn will just be the ones getting swapped. For Sarah, she hopes the event will be the start of something beautiful.
“It’s really the first time, and it will give me an idea of what people are looking for. I can do more make-up or bring a hairdresser, there are a lot of different things I can do,” she explains. “If this one is a success and people are happy, I think it’s going to be regular.”
As capacity is limited, RSVP to the event in the café itself or via Upstairs Café’s Facebook page by end of today.