Kids' online marketplace in the UAE

Buy and sell family gear with Mini Exchange


Mini Exchange is a new online marketplace for kid’s clothes with a difference. We caught up with founder, Sarah Appleton to get the low down on how sellers can make money and give to charity at the same time.

Tell us a bit about Mini Exchange – what is it and where did the idea come from?
Mini Exchange is something that’s never been done in the region before - we’ve built an online marketplace for parents to buy and sell new and like-new kids’ clothing, accessories, fancy dress and school uniforms. Mini Exchange does all the hard work for sellers and gives buyers easy access to discounted branded and designer clothes. Items are collected from sellers for free and quality-checked by the team. They are then professionally photographed, described and listed on the site. When the items sell, Mini Exchange deposits the profits directly into the seller’s account. Prices start from as low as Dhs30 and there’s everything from GAP pyjamas to luxury Dior dresses on the site, catering for all tastes and budgets.

Why do you think there’s a gap in the market for Mini Exchange?
All these wonderful clothes that parents buy for their children, some of them are never even worn and that have then been grown out of suddenly have no home. Mini Exchange is a way for parents to either get some money back for these lovely items and give them a new home, or allow parents to support some brilliant causes by gifting the proceeds away.

On the buying side, Mini Exchange gives parents an online store to buy new and like new kids clothing and accessories at discounted prices. We’ve tied up with stores and brands in the region too – at the moment almost 80% of the items on the site are actually new and from the stores and brands themselves, so parents really can get the same items as they’d find in the malls at a greatly discounted price and delivered free of charge straight to their front door.

Tell us about your tie ups with Start, Little Wings and Action Care – how do sellers give back to the community?
This is the great thing about Mini Exchange, sellers really can support some amazing community causes with all the clothes their kiddies no longer wear if they want to.

Sellers can either gift their items straight to Mini Exchange, we’ll sell them and then gift the proceeds directly to their chosen cause, or sellers can sell their items and then choose how much to gift to each cause from their Mini Exchange balance in one ‘click’.

What about ‘Mini Groups’ – explain the concept there.
Mini Groups are a really fun element of the site. They allow individuals and organisations to support causes that matter to them, whether it be supporting kids in Syria, or raising money for a natural disaster in the world.

Sellers can invite friends and family to clear out their kids’ wardrobes by listing items on the site, and when the items sell they can gift the profits directly to that Mini Group or good cause. These groups can be two people or 1,000 people and allow everyone to group together to support amazing causes that are close to their own hearts.

You used to work in finance – why did you leave the industry?
Working in finance, I was always working for other people, advising these inspiring entrepreneurs how to grow and sell their companies and was always envious when they left the room. I wanted to be on the other side of the table! So one day, I took the leap and now I’m here, absolutely loving my new role and am excited by all the new challenges that lie ahead.

Do you have a family yourself?
No, not yet but I have six brothers and sisters some of whom are very young – so when my mum needs a break it sometimes feels like I have kids of my own! Everyone’s next question is why therefore a kid’s online clothing business? Coming from the UK where there are lots of ‘online marketplaces’ such as eBay, alongside growing up in such a large family and seeing how quickly kids go through their clothes, led me to the idea of Mini Exchange. It’s the perfect solution and there’s nothing like it in the region so I thought I would see if we could make a success of it here.

How do you guarantee the quality of the items you sell?
That’s a good question. We have a team of experts that check all items when they come in. They have an eye for spotting even the slightest flaws and check for authenticity, tears, rips, marks, fraying, odours, holes, bobbling, fading or missing parts, to ensure that all items that go onto the site really are absolutely perfect.

What makes your shop different to the others out there?
Aside from the huge variety of kids clothing on the site, no other online site in the region sells kids clothes at discounted prices. We also built the site with users in mind – it’s easy to navigate, straightforward to use, and checkout is super quick with a number of different payment options including cash on delivery.

Why should people sell their stuff with you as opposed to at a second hand market?
That’s an easy one. You can sell your items on Mini Exchange from the comfort of your own home. You don’t need to move a muscle, we come straight to your door and collect it all and you won’t need to rent a stall or table, or spend hours negotiating prices with buyers. We do it all for you.

Also, because buyers know that they’ll receive perfect items from us they’re happy to pay more than if they had to rummage through a second hand market for your little gems so you’ll get more money for your items with Mini Exchange too.
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