Remembering your early childhood days, building blocks and jigsaw puzzles probably come to mind as your go-to toys — assuming your age is around the Millennial average age demographic of The Co-Dubai’s members, that is. Those were the days when toys were not powered by digital microchips, for the most part.

On the other hand, these days it seems toys come inside screens — as apps on phones, TV screens, and the like. In fact, it’s more often than not that they are made this way because businesses in the space are catering to the demand by parents and their children. Parents want to conveniently carry around hundreds of different multi-media games that fit into a single tote or purse (aka a tablet). Meanwhile, children want to see shiny lights and loud audio tunes combined! It’s almost as if toys that didn’t operate on batteries no longer exist.

As for modern-day toys that aren’t digital, most of them are made of wasteful plastic. As for the problem with that, many of us know that plastic contributes to waste. After all, you should have noticed a little extra charge on your grocery bills at your weekly Waitrose and Choithrams trips over the last few weeks for every plastic bag that you walk out with. That’s because our consumption of plastic over the years has been an overkill on the environment, and the government is trying to get us to change our habits through these little fines.

Nikki and Daan are here to add a different parameter for people to consider when choosing toys — sustainability. They are introducing sustainability to toys by bringing old-school wisdom into the materials that they’re made of (aka wood), ensuring that their intention is purposeful (aka educational), and factoring in the local community when it comes to marketing (aka the GCC).

Now, what if your kids got to play with environmentally-friendly toys that look good too? That’s the sweet spot that KIN Distribution is trying to capture, market-wise. It represents international brands looking to distribute in the GCC, as well as develops its own brands. These brands either sell children’s toys, lifestyle items or decor products.
The Dubai-born company initially made its start selling directly to consumers through its online storefront, Sweet Pea. These days, KIN Distribution also sells to other retail businesses, marketplaces, hotels and schools as a distributor of brands. Their own line of products reflects its roots in that the designs are inspired by the deserts and beaches of the country. We bet children relate more to their toys when they see a bit of their home in them, right?

Nikki and Daan are both parents themselves, so there’s an aspect of them having “been there” when it comes to feeling the pain points in the market — trying to decide between this piece of plastic or that piece of digital hardware for their kids. In fact, both of them spent many years in consulting firms, so we’re sure they must’ve developed quite the feasibility study when starting up the business, but there’s nothing like finding product-market fit to realize that you’re not alone in seeing the need for your products and services in the market.

The team members’ children play an important role in the business. They test new products and give their opinions. In fact, the team engages their community at large when it comes to product development, as they often ask them for their feedback and for user-generated content.

Nikki and Daan’s top tip for entrepreneurs looking to enter the e-commerce space is to use existing stacks to build on, instead of starting from scratch. This is to say, take advantage of customizable storefronts like Shopify, payment integrators like Stripe, flexible offices like The Co-Dubai and 3rd party fulfillment services, to get you up and going — there’s no need to devote valuable resources to rebuild wheels that already exist. And most of the time it’s more economical: building on someone else’s scale while replacing fixed cost with variable cost.

If you are The Co-Dubai, be sure to stop by their office and say hello to Nikki and Daan or any of the 8 team members. Children are welcome 😊