ONCE UPON A SWAP

Carole Picou-katmann

Chief Meow Officer of SØDE Design and a lover of all things vintage, colourful and above all sustainable.
Screenshot 2021-12-14 at 19.27.07

We take a sneak-peak into one of our top swapper’s home

 

Meet Carole. Born in Paris to a French father and a German mother, she has lived in France, New York and Canada before settling in Amsterdam 5 years ago. Carole is a Marketing Director and a Founder working 2 jobs; for a Dutch Fintech called ClearCo, and for her own sustainable cat furniture start-up called Sode Design.

We took a look inside Carole’s colourful and stylish home and discussed her fashion inspiration and swap-studio.

“My style is a bit unorthodox, a mish mash, unexpected”

What inspires your interior and fashion style?

I’m attracted to bright colours! From a young age, my style has been driven by colours. Today I describe myself as new Danish Scandinavian style – which is pastel colours, comfortable and quality materials. My interior style is very unorthodox, and eclectic. I also like to collect things when I travel and I am not bothered by the size or hassle of bringing big items home.

 

Every corner of the house is decorated with a mix of vintage, flea market, souvenirs and designer pieces that tell a story about my experiences.

 

When did you first start swapping?

In 2008. I was doing my MBA in International Business and I did not have a lot of money. So, I started organising clothes swapping evenings with my friends. We would have food, and wine, and bring lots of clothes to swap with one another. It was a lot of fun. I do tend to have a lot of clothes and I usually give many away.

What was the first thing you ever swapped on swap-studio?

The first thing I swapped was a blue vintage dress that you can see in the photo above. I’m into vintage clothes. I find it hard to find clothes that actually fit me without needing to be tailored. Somehow vintage clothes fit my body shape better.

 

What are your views on Sustainability?

I used to be a fast fashion addict and H&M was my favourite brand – but now I am more careful about what I buy, what I eat, what I wear, and I am trying to be mindful of my impact on the planet. Although I do have a lot of clothes, I usually keep them for many years, and I believe in using things over and over.

 

I have a new rule – one in and one out so I don’t accumulate too many things. If I keep things for 1 year and I haven’t worn them, then I give them away. So that also motivates me to wear new things every day.

The brief for my kitchen was Ibiza / bohemian style. As this corner gets a lot of light, I wanted it to feel like it was a summer house no matter the time of the year. (Wearing Diane von Furstenberg from swap-studio)

“It’s like searching through a goldmine for a special gem”

Carole's wardrobe is neatly divided into a winter and summer collections

What do you like about swap-studio?

With swap-studio I am basically swapping items for free. They are great quality items that I will wear for a long time – so they suit my fashion values. I like the ease of use of the site, and that it’s curated.

 

It’s also a nice break in my day – it’s like searching through a goldmine for a special gem. It’s light-hearted, it’s fun and I always find amazing stuff.

What are some gems you have found on swap-studio?

I swapped a Moncler Jacket (my first ever Moncler), a Kenzo t-shirt and a Diane von Furstenberg jacket all from swap studio – pretty much for free. It’s fantastic!

What tips would you give others about swap-studio

At first people might not understand the kudos system. I personally like the model, but the issue for new people is working out how to accumulate points.

 

I’m lucky to have plenty of kudos now which I collected different ways: I’ve referred friends, I’ve posted high-ticket items to get more points like a pair of Tom Ford sunglasses, I’ve been super active uploading lots of items and participating in the swap-studio promotions.

Carole shares some of her inspiration, reflections on her style and her favourite swaps and stories....

The ginger bread men are a memory of my years in the US and Canada – I love to decorate these cookies with friends over dinner and have everyone participate and enjoy Christmas.
I love to collect art – sometimes from a flea market and sometimes more expensive and I mix these things together for a bit of contrast.
When I came back from Mexico and wanted to paint my whole house – so this is my Mexican hacienda corner. It’s cosy with a hint of colours and lots of vintage. The chair is from my grandad. The garland around the fireplace was made by my grandmother.
Hipster the Cat - she’s a 12 year old lady with a lot of attitude. She is a stray but believes she is from a true aristocratic background. She’s a bit of a poser as you can see from the photos.
I’m a big sucker for long skirts – this one is velvety and sparkly – perfect for Christmas. The description on swap-studio was awesome - she said she bought it in a small vintage store in New York!
I love ornaments – these ones from Wild Poppies on swap-studio are a bit corny – a broccoli on a Christmas Tree – they bring a smile to people’s faces.

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