Genuine vintage and good-quality second-hand goods can be hard to come by in Dubai. It’s not just that our city is relatively new, but also because new is often seen as better here. However, there are a handful of ground-breaking niche boutiques and antiques stores that are changing the scene, and the latest member to join the ‘old-school is cool’ movement opened last month in a giant Al Quoz warehouse. Not only does Cash Converters stock used goods, but it also offers a convenient option for people wanting to sell unwanted items. The store is already filled with pre-loved electronic goods, watches, artworks and musical instruments. We met 43-year-old French owner Fabrice Le Boulenger to find out why he brought the second-hand retail franchise to our city.
Why did you decide to set up this store in Dubai?
The used goods business is not new in Dubai, but the concept of being able to buy and sell used goods through a store is. We wanted to offer something that the market wanted but also needed, to make it as convenient as possible.
Can you explain the concept behind Cash Converters?
Cash Converters is the world’s number-one retailer for buying and selling used goods. The Dubai franchise allows customers to sell unwanted goods, buy used items from our store or secure an item with our layby option. We also offer a consignment option and a home collection service. Our margin is approximately 35 percent. We also give a six-month full warranty on all our goods.
Dubai is a particularly transient city, so there seems to be a market for this type of concept…
Cash Converters answers a demand for those who need to sell their unwanted goods immediately, which will do very well here. We bought the master franchise for the UAE so we can open as many stores as we want during the next ten years. Once we’ve perfected the business model, we will then look at expansion across the UAE.
Why do you think it’s so hard to find second-hand or vintage items in Dubai?
Dubai isn’t really ‘home’ for many, and the likelihood of moving on or moving back home is very high. This means people tend to prefer to buy second-hand goods, so there is a huge demand for this market. Used goods sell very fast here.
What are some of your favourite items currently in store?
Each week we have the deal of the week, whereby we select one item that offers excellent value. This week it’s a wooden dining table with eight suede-covered chairs. It’s second-hand, but in immaculate condition. I’m always excited to get in unusual items, such as the framed Suzani (a framed tapestry from Uzbekistan), or the beautiful crystal chandeliers and vintage table lamps.
How old are some of the items in the store?
We have a small but growing selection of vintage items, including antique lamps, watches and side tables. We don’t always get the history of the item, so it’s only by experience that we can tell the approximate
age of the item.
What kind of items would you like to see more of?
We currently have a very good stock of furniture and white goods, so are now looking to build our range of jewellery, televisions and gaming devices.
Why is Cash Converters a better option than buying or selling second-hand goods online?
If customers want to sell several items, we are able to take them all and sell them on their behalf. The customer doesn’t have to deal with phone calls or buyers viewing items. We offer additional services, such as the home collection service, for a nominal fee. We also give a six-month warranty for almost all items.
What can customers do if the item they’ve bought doesn’t work?
We test all items before they’re sold so we can assure the customer they are in good working order. Sometimes items do stop working, so we offer to replace the item or to repair it at our own expense. If all else fails, we’ll offer a reimbursement.
Why would you encourage people to buy second-hand goods?
While we didn’t set up Cash Converters to protect the planet, the business of recycling goods actively contributes to environmentally friendly practices by reducing the level of waste going to landfills.
We are encouraging people to look after their furniture and sell to us when they need to. We also hope that more people will consider buying used rather than new goods to avoid using costly resources that are required to manufacture new items.
Sheikh Zayed Road, near Noor Islamic Bank metro station, Al Quoz 3 (04 379 1122).
More second-hand options in Dubai
Head here for real-deal vintage women’s fashion and accessories dating back to the ’60s and ’70s, plus vintage suitcases.
Jumeirah Beach Road, opposite Dubai Zoo (04 349 5585).
This Alserkal Avenue art space sells antique Omani chests, tribal jewellery and knick-knacks.
Unit 35, Alserkal Avenue, Street 8, Al Quoz 1 (04 379 0940).
A gallery that also stocks vintage-style accessories, furniture, pictures, jewellery and textiles.
The Walk at JBR (04 427 0219).