Creating a new marketplace for parents with Baby Swap or Shop

“You know. Ebay – for baby stuff!” And just like that, there was the entire premise of Baby Swap or Shop.


Before Facebook Marketplace was a thing (very nearly before Facebook itself was a thing), Baby Swap or Shop was designed to fill a niche that even Ebay wasn’t quite fulfilling. For new parents needing to save money on expensive baby items, and for parents that suddenly found they had an extraordinary amount of children’s clothes, toys and equipment they no longer needed, there had to be some way to bring supply and demand together in a new way. Ultimately, there had to be a way of making the whole of advertising, buying, selling, and swapping pre-owned items easier and cheaper.

Baby Swap or Shop was created out of this concept. The founders, Carrie and Shane Webster, has just had a child, and realised just how much a newborn needs – but also, how much is needed as their child grows. And it wasn’t just about saving money, but the opportunity to reduce waste and help other parents in a similar position.

The name and initial logo came about very simply, and from their, we worked together to define what was required from the service in terms of a fully-functional online marketplace, and a strategy to bring buyers and sellers together via social media. Our strategy, to create Facebook Pages each focused on a local area and utilise those existing social networks, resulted in growing our fanbase from literally zero to over 100,000 people within 6 months. Almost unheard of at the time for a start-up brand with practically no advertising spend.

That acted as a proof-of-concept needed to establish the brand as a serious business proposition and led to us developing the website over a number of years to provide the online marketplace, attracting external investment along the way.

The evolution of the BSOS homepage mirrored the change in market, user experiences, and business focus
(click for larger versions)

We developed Baby Swap or Shop at a time when sites like Ebay and Gumtree were at their strongest, and Facebook was starting to reduce the impact of organic reach, harming the ability for brands to achieve organic growth, whilst simultaneously developing Facebook Marketplace, giving users the benefits Baby Swap or Shop was designed to offer, on their own platform.

As much as Baby Swap or Shop developed over the years to counteract these changes, it became extremely difficult to compete.

Screen layouts for the Baby Swap or Shop website

“Denise has translated the Baby Swap or Shop concept way beyond my expectations with particular attention to detail and shows vast knowledge in technology and social media, which has enhanced the website even further.”


Ultimately I stepped away from Baby Swap or Shop as the focus changed from the core online marketplace concept, to more of a specialist social media agency working with brands in the Baby & Toddler sector, something that happened as a happy accident of the brand becoming so well-known and influential within that industry.

Did you enjoy this article? Please let me know by hitting the Like button.

Further Insights

Why you need to engage your designer in business on a much deeper level…

Design can fundamentally impact every area of a business – and that’s why you need to make your designer a key partner. Their vision, skills, and ability to ask ‘why’, could help you to become the leading brand in your market.

10 Minutes of actual Talking?! Yeah ok then.

When I was asked to do a 10 minute talk at a networking meeting last week my instinct was to say thanks but no thanks. What actually happened is that I said yes without even thinking. What an absolute spanner. Here’s how it went down.

Writing for your Brand

Getting your brand right is critical for your business – you know that, or you wouldn’t be here – and once you’ve got it, that’s a big piece of the business puzzle sorted. But it all takes time. Producing all of the plans, and then all of the words, takes time that many people – especially in SMEs – don’t have to spare. This is where a copywriter can help.

Let’s Create a Klarifi Big Picture…

How good design can help simplify the complex. In the first of a ‘Let’s Create!’ series, showing the process behind the work, Let’s Create a big, detailed picture, that allows you to view an overall (often quite technical) concept, then zoom in to see further detail and information.

6 (ish) Common(ish) questions about branding (and associated(ish) terminology)

Even when we’re trying to keep it simple, if we’re a specialist in a particular area, the words we use may mean different things to different people. Here’s a very brief overview of brand, branding, strategy, and brand management.

How to Innovate with Branding

Branding can be extremely innovative – and it’s often not about the visuals. It’s as much about finding the problems a company faces, and solving them with some clever approaches. That, and a bit of the ‘spark‘ that ignites the creative magic.

Video ain’t all that and a bag o chips…

Chances are, if you’re responsible for any kind of marketing, either for your brand, your business, or your clients, you’ll be ALL for video. And that’s great. But what if you’re really bad at it? What if even the thought of it starts with “I wonder if…” and ends immediately with “NOPE”.

No one gives a shit about the F1 logo and that’s… fine.

Does anyone really care about a logo? Does it matter? As a fan of F1 I was intrigued by the impact its rebrand would have on fans, as well as the updated visual communications behind it. After a year of it being used, here’s my take.

Making people smile at WebSummit

How a ridiculous idea turned out to be one of the best parts of a full-on 70,000 attendee tech conference. The story of Paperwrk at WebSummit 2018.

How Healthy is Your Brand?

A healthy brand not only looks good, but feels good, and that’s something that exposes the very core of the people and the organisation behind it. For that reason, you want to be 10 out of 10 in as many areas as possible.

What Makes Radical Brand Growth so Radical?

Growth mode is tricky. Your business has probably changed dramatically since it was first created. So how do you update your brand to reflect the changes you’re going through, while keeping all of the good things about the old one?

Paperwrk. Creating a start-up brand that will remain strong throughout its development.

Creating a startup brand that would appeal to clients, users, and investors, throughout the conception and development of the product, through to application across the app, social media, funding rounds, and real-world use.

Promoting 10 Years of Look Touch & Feel with a Detailed Infographic

Created a detailed Infographic to help promote and celebrate Digital Marketing Agency, Look Touch & Feel’s 10 Year Anniversary, which could then be utilised as individual posts across social media platforms to extend its reach.

Helping Bait-Tech innovate in a traditional sector, with great design and a fresh perspective

Reviewed and streamlined brand activity across the organisation. Advised on strategy and messaging to position Bait-Tech with more confidence alongside their competitors, and created their new brand strapline to appeal to a wider, more family-focused audience whilst retaining core links to their hard-core and semi-professional customer base.

How do designers know what looks right, and how do they get there?

We’re often told that design is subjective – but there are plenty of examples of bad design. So what makes a designer’s eye such a good judge of what works and why?

Is Christopher Nolan the last of the ‘big brand’ film directors?

How many blockbuster movie directors have a consistent track record of success and recognition today? The Marvels and DC’s of this world always chose competent directors, but very rarely do they have the instant name recognition and appeal of Nolan. Why is that?

Creating a new marketplace for parents with Baby Swap or Shop

Creating a new marketplace for parents with Baby Swap or Shop. An alternative to Ebay to help with the constant requirement for baby and toddler clothes, toys and equipment as they grow.

Branding Hannah Jones Music – Turning it up to full 80s before anyone’s even pressed Play.

Created a personal brand identity to help establish Hannah’s writing and production credentials. Designed to reflect Hannah’s personality across social media, her website, photoshoots, as well as artwork covers for her commercial and portfolio releases.

Creating the identity for Homebase’s in-house Home Delivery Service.

Developing a visual identity for Homebase’s home delivery service within their established brand parameters.

Repositioning Goldbug to enable them to taking valuable retail shelf space from established competitors.

Full company rebrand and design elements for Goldbug, a company that distributes children’s safety accessories. The website was a direct reflection of the rebrand, both repositioning the company as well as promoting its products and stockists throughout the UK.