I have decided to get heavily into trading swag next year. I don’t know when to start lmao, I already know what I want to trade for specifically. yet I don’t know what the people want, what items should I have in my “trade shop”?
Honestly you don’t need much to trade. Just a few spare shirts ideally in the size you’re trading for. Generally (in FIM at least) people will mainly trade at states and worlds, but I did manage to get a 910 and 7769 shirt this year at a district event.
I personally roll up all of my shirts and put a rubber band on them to make them easy to store in a backpack. Then I just keep that backpack in our pit and I’ll trade whenever we have a long match turnaround.
I gave this advice to one of my fellow mentors earlier this season who wanted to get into trading as well. I hope this helps, but feel free to PM me if you have any questions!
- Do not be scared to walk up to their pits and ask. All teams are friendly, but I do not recommend asking a team when they are busy fixing their robot that just broke. A good time to ask if the pit does not seem stressed out.
- You can walk up to a member of the team and could say hi, I am from team (insert number) from (insert location) and I was wondering if anyone on your team might be interested in trading shirts?
- Not every team or team member is the most helpful or wants to trade. Do not be afraid to come back later and ask someone else. The direct person you ask also may send you to a friend in the stands or have you wait while they slack their team to see if anyone is interested.
- Always say thank you whether you were successful or not.
- A good way to find someone to trade with is if they have a shirt in their hand and they are walking around. Even though you may not be the intended trade, they likely have more shirts where that came from.
- You may have to ask a team more than once if someone would like to trade because events are busy and messages do not always get relayed. Be persistent and eventually you will talk to the “right” person who will trade on a team.
- If a team you asked to trade shirts with was in the pit and told you to find their teams in the stands and ask, be aware of what match is on the field. If the team’s robot is about to be on the field or is on the field, that is not a great time to trade shirts because they are occupied with the match. However, if their robot is not in que and their team’s stands are occupied, feel free to ask about shirt trading!
- Do not be upset if you have trouble trading either because a team does not trade, does not have shirts, or does not want to trade. Always try again next year or at another event if you are really interested in obtaining that team’s shirts.
- Other people’s spreadsheets, such as on the Chief Delphi seasonal trading may have the team shirt(s) that you are looking for. Feel free to PM the person whose spreadsheet you are interested in and ask if they would like to trade.
- Having a trading spreadsheet of your own is very beneficial. Some people track the shirts they currently have, are trading, want to trade, have traded, scheduled trades, etc.
Join the FRC trading discord here: FRC Trading Co.
If you’re not the trading discord, get on it. Know that different people trade for different reasons. Many people like to trade shirts with alliance partners, so that is usually a relatively easy trade. Some people just want a large variety of teams and will trade with just about anyone. Most people who get into trading very seriously want shirts from the most famous/top performing teams. Unless you have some personal connection, it is much easier to trade shirts with other teams at a similar competitive level. Don’t expect to easily find someone willing to trade 118 or 1678 for a random team, even a team with a couple recent blue banners. Ask, but don’t get fixated on a given item. Once you have a decent collection and a spreadsheet, trades may start to find you.
How to get top team merch in my experience: get lots of shirts from your own team and trade them and get as many trades as you can even if most or all of them aren’t wishlist trades. Eventually trade those other teams shirts up until you get top teams, sometime you may need to trade 2 for 1 or hoodie for shirt. Or alternatively, start throwing money around if you are financially able, there are auctions on the Discord, and you can just straight up offer cash to anyone who can find a particular shirt you want.
And, just to emphasize, a lot of teams do have things that are “member exclusive”: IE, they are part of team membership, and not up for trading. Don’t be too offended if folks aren’t able to trade anything they have.
Adding on to what everyone is saying, also look for when teams sell shirts online. Notable example are the 330 customink fundraiser, the Deep Space Cowboys (118/148) fundraiser, and when 4414 gives shirts for money.
I’d also make a spreadsheet of what you have! Many examples are in the Discord. I need to update my sheet, but if you are interested here it is. (please note you don’t have to put what you have already traded on your sheet, this was so I knew what stock I had at Worlds!)
Adding onto this, don’t pursue someone for a specific trade after they said they weren’t interested. There will always be another person with that shirt/hoodie/hat/insert-clothing-here! This especially goes for trying to trade online.
Good luck, and never be afraid to ask for advice from experienced traders to find out the value of a shirt, or what is a good trade.