By Megan Harman
A high-end children’s retailer from Dubai, DBbabies, has made its debut in the Canadian market with a new boutique near Montreal, marking the beginning of a cross-country expansion for the brand.
DBbabies specializes in essentials for children ranging in age from newborns to eight years old. Co-founded by Montreal native Danny B. Haddad in 2007, the chain operates seven boutiques throughout the UAE and Oman, as well as an online store serving those regions.
Haddad saw an opportunity to expand the concept to Canada, after determining that there was a lack of similar retailers operating within Canadian shopping centres.
“Most baby shops are destination shops,” Haddad says. “We had gone to a few malls and asked the information desks where we could buy a pushchair or other baby related items. Unfortunately, they could not direct us to any stores within the shopping mall. Unless you are looking for kids’ clothes or toys, you were very limited in the quality and selection of gifts and essentials.”
DBbabies stores are geared specifically to shopping malls, ranging in size from 1,200 square feet to 2,000 square feet. The retailer carries a wide range of essentials for babies and toddlers, such as strollers, high chairs, kitchenware, sleeping and feeding accessories, blankets and bedding, bath products and towels.
The stores also carry a variety of gift items and customizable gift baskets, with a unique in-store embroidery service that allows customers to personalize their gifts.
“We cater to everyone,” Haddad says, “whether you are buying something for your own baby or child, or whether you are shopping for a special personalised gift.”
DBbabies will also be launching an online store for the Canadian market in the months to come.
Longer term, the company is planning much more expansion in Canada.
“As we explore the market and its opportunities, our strategy is to cater to the many communities across Canada,” says Haddad. “Coast to coast, we are interested in cities such as Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver and Calgary, as well as other smaller cities.”
The retailer’s stores are designed in-house, with a focus on simplicity and adaptability.
“It all starts with a white canvas, and we accessorise,” says Haddad. “Our furniture changes based on the products and brands we carry, which are constantly changing and evolving.”
The stores are designed to create a friendly and approachable environment for all shoppers, he adds.
“The simplicity and structure creates an emotionally pleasant experience,” Haddad says.
Also contributing to the shopping experience at DBbabies, he adds, is a high level of customer service.
“Our services and our offering is based on a journey,” Haddad says. “Our team, environment and simple service structure is made to help families and make the entire shopping experience easy for anyone walking into our stores.”
Megan Harman is a business reporter based in Toronto. She writes about topics including retail, financial services and technology. Megan covers Toronto’s retail industry through her blog Retail Realm (torontoretail.wordpress.com). Follow her on Twitter at @meganmharman.