Monthly Parenting Magazine

Interview: Samantha Valentine, co-founder of dotte

Interview: Samantha Valentine, co-founder of dotte

Louise Sam

Absolutely Mama talks sustainable fashion with Samantha Valentine, co-founder of pre-loved kids fashion marketplace dotte…

Where did the idea for dotte come from?

dotte was born out of genuine parental frustration. Louise and I had been buying and selling our own clothing successfully for some time, and we were frustrated that there was no dedicated, exciting place to do that for kidswear. We were adamant to create a space for parents to be proud to be buying and shopping second hand. We didn’t want it to feel bargain basement, or transactional. No longer is second hand second best, it feels better than buying new.

How are you innovating in the kids preloved clothing space?

For too long secondhand kidswear has taken too much time and effort. You either had to scour through charity shops to try and find a hidden gem, or trawl thousands of listings on massive online marketplaces. We take a fashion-first approach to building a marketplace. We are a kidswear fashion specialist, with a community of exciting resellers who are in the know when it comes to quality, stylish kidswear. We put a lot of effort into building our community, and it means dotte is not a place to scour or trawl, but a place to be inspired, to discover new brands, and the find unique items that are just right for your little one’s personality.

Could you tell us more about your donate + recycle initiative? What happens to the items that are no longer wearable?

Community members can send in their old clothes to us that are no longer suitable for resale, and for donations we send on to the baby banks, and for recycling the items are made into exciting things like car seat padding or oil rags!!

Photo Credit Another Fox

The resale collective is also a really cool idea, how did you select your partners for that?

We partner with some of the most forward thinking kidswear brands to help them extend the lifespan of their clothing. By encouraging their communities to resell their outgrown clothing on dotte, these brands are supporting more families to access and get involved with the circular economy. Which has benefits for everyone; families earn more, save more, and can feel good about doing their bit for the planet.

It’s really important to us that the brands we partner with are passionate about sustainability and are genuinely becoming more circular, otherwise what’s the point? So we make sure our brand partners meet certain criteria, from sustainable production processes, to using responsible materials or genderless and seasonless designs.

What are the most popular kidswear brands on the platform (the ones that just fly off the site)?

There are so many favourite brands in the community but the likes of Mini Rodini, Bobo Choses, Zara, Arket, Tiny Cottons, Organic Zoo and TAO always get snapped up quickly.


Do you have any top tips for parents who want to make their kids’ wardrobes more sustainable?

When your kid outgrows an item always think ‘check dotte first’. It’s always worth checking if you can get something secondhand first, as it saves you money and is far more sustainable than buying new. You’ll soon get the bug! It was a real eureka moment for me. 

Invest in quality and desirability. Many cheap brands won’t resell at all.  For example, supermarket brands are often just not desirable enough, which means you can’t recoup the cost through resale. In the long run you actually loose more money by buying cheap and fast. Whereas independent brands like Mini Rodini resell for way more than 50% of the RRP secondhand.  

Even better, if you buy premium brands secondhand, then you can often resell them for exactly the same price you paid in the first place. Any Mini Rodini/ Bobo/ Tiny Cottons I’ve ever bought, I’ve been able to sell no problem, and quickly. Free clothes.

Look out for genderless designs wherever possible – these items can be passed on more easily and worn by anyone!

How do you dress your own children?

I try to get as much as I can secondhand, searching dotte first of course, and then if I can’t find what I need I will purchase from a brand that I know I can resell easily. I will only buy what she needs, and have adopted a one in one out policy, and regularly clear her wardrobe out. When buying new I will always buy one size up, so it’ll be oversized on her for a while. 

How do you juggle parenthood and running a business?

dotte is a four day week venture and has been since the very beginning. We understand the need for flexibility, and the importance of a healthy work-life balance. Working a 4 day week means that it gives us time to pursue hobbies, pick up kids from school, or just enjoy extra time resting at home with a box set.

And finally, is there anything exciting coming up for dotte that we should know about?

We’ve just launched our app making it quicker and easier for our community to resell their kid’s clothes – download it now! We’re so excited to finally share it, it’s going to be a game changer.

Read more interviews here.