Meet the Emirati pilot who launched a service to rent toys, books

Toyshare is the first of its kind in the UAE and allows parents to save big while contributing to a sustainable lifestyle


Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Sat 22 Jan 2022, 11:09 AM

Last updated: Sat 22 Jan 2022, 10:36 PM

Meet Hani AlQattan, the Emirati pilot and social entrepreneur. AlQattan launched the UAE's first online, off-centre rental platform for children's toys and books – Toyshare.

AlQattan launched the unique app-based service after realising that his kids' lost interest in their new toys and books merely two weeks after using them.

Toyshare is a simple to use subscription service where a new set of books and toys for children aged one to 12 are delivered home every two weeks, depending on the package chosen.

'Toys will be delivered home every fortnight'

The father of two also hopes to address two main concerns with the service - save books and toys by increasing their lifecycle and increase practicality for parents while reducing the expense.

UAE residents can purchase a one-month trial for Dh59, and the standard package, including delivery of one toy and one book twice a week, is Dh67.

The toys and accompanied packaging undergo a thorough sterilisation process every time they are taken back from families.

"Children have access to popular toy brands such as Chicco, Lego, Nerf guns, LeapFrog, to thousands of educational wooden and plastic branded toys. The company's diversified portfolio of over hundreds of books includes popular books from over 40 publishers, including the renowned Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and Dog Man," said AlQattan.

Moreover, the company said it has created a concept that embodies a sharing economy for children to play, learn and share while reducing the amount of plastic in landfills and oceans.

"Families across the UAE can now enjoy an economical and sustainable platform to regularly access books and toys while reducing home storage requirements and, ultimately, reducing plastic waste," he added.

Toyshare aims to educate children on the importance of giving and sharing, which is deeply embedded in the company's values.

"Once books and toys are retired from its library, they are then donated to charity to distribute the pre-loved books and toys to refugee camps, orphanages, centres for disabled children, and pediatric hospitals," explained AlQattan.

From pilot to entrepreneur

"Growing up, I've always been passionate about flying, and I was fortunate to have my dream supported by my mother," AlQattan said.

After graduating from BAE systems flight training in Adelaide, Australia, he started his flying career at 19 and is currently a flight captain at a leading airline.

"I've been flying for 20 years. I'm married with two kids - aged ten and eight, respectively," he added. AlQattan ensures that he gets quality time with his family and children when he is not working. "My children enjoy reading, playing with Legos, and playing family board games. As a family, we enjoy outdoor activities such as cycling, hiking, and visiting new restaurants," he explained.


AlQattan discovered early on that the interest his kids had in the books and toys he would gift them was short-lived. After discussing it with his family and friends, he then realised that, like him, other parents were also spending thousands a month on toys that ended up being abandoned and forgotten after a few weeks.

"The idea to launch the Toyshare platform came about just before the pandemic. However, the lockdown helped think of ways to entertain children at home, aside from mobile phones and tablet devices. I found a huge gap in the market since families across the UAE were trying to find ways to save more and spend less, and the toys were becoming more expensive," he explained.

"Physical toys by nature consume space and have a limited span of use and fun and are rarely resold; therefore, Toyshare was highly needed in the market," he added. "The pandemic proved to many the importance of adapting and learning new ways for children to stay creative with children having to undergo distant learning and playing indoors as opposed to outdoor activities," AlQattan stated.

Toyshare ensures that the toys are durable and books are laminated to minimise any damage.


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