the bemz story

How it all began

10 years ago, Bemz Founder and CEO Lesley Pennington adopted the Swedish dream lifestyle and bought a summer house by the sea.

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A simple idea: custom covers for IKEA furniture

And having adopted this Swedish lifestyle, naturally Lesley went to IKEA where she chose a white Tomelilla sofa. That sofa sparked a business idea so obvious that she couldn’t believe it didn’t already exist – an idea that she brought to life on the internet, using her technology background. Lesley came to realise that the interest in custom covers for IKEA furniture was about more than the covers themselves; it was about personal expression. She understood people's desire to take a mass-market product - like an IKEA sofa - and tweak it to reflect their own style. The rest is Bemz history...

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The story continues...

A decade later Bemz is still creating stunning designer slipcovers for IKEA sofas and chairs, as well as bedroom products, custom made curtains and so much more. Our products are growing in popularity because they are a collaboration between Bemz and you. The result is a unique piece, co-designed and made to order – a blend of your favourite IKEA furniture, our quality textiles and your personal taste.

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Lesley's story

Lesley Pennington is first and foremost a mom, an entrepreneur, and a design enthusiast. After studying Fine Art and Art History at the University of Toronto, she worked as a graphic designer for a while before realising that it wasn’t her true calling. Instead, she started a business providing computer training to the design industry. It was a highly stimulating entrepreneurial experience that led to a new opportunity at Apple Computer in Silicon Valley. Lesley packed her bags and moved from Canada to California. Lesley fell in love with Apple and California – and also, as it turned out, her Swedish colleague Fredrik! Never one to shy away from a new adventure, she packed up and moved again, this time to Sweden. There she inherited a family, started her own and looked for something that would tie her entrepreneurial spirit and newfound family focus together.

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Then came the summer house and Lesley’s Tomelilla sofa

”It was simple enough to find an IKEA sofa that could fit into our casual summer house. But you know how sometimes you just want to express your own taste? I searched for a stylish custom cover to give my sofa that personal touch, but realised that no such thing existed. Necessity (or stubborn persistence in my case!) is the mother of invention, and that was the beginning of the Bemz business idea. Since then I’ve come to realise that people really want to make personal design choices. And that is the heart of Bemz: to give our customers the tools to make individual design choices that reflect their own style. Bemz is full circle for me – back to my design and entrepreneurial roots. It nurtures both my creative spirit and my entrepreneurial soul.”

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And what does ‘Bemz’ mean? “The name BEMZ is an anagram of the initials of the children in my life. I wanted it to remind me of the really important things in my life, and the reason for doing what I do."