A simple idea
A Canadian newly transplanted to Stockholm, Lesley was keen to adopt the Swedish lifestyle and find a cottage by the water. When it came time to furnish her new abode, naturally she went to IKEA where she chose a white Tomelilla sofa. That sofa sparked an idea so obvious that she couldn’t believe it didn’t already exist: personalised covers for IKEA sofas. She came to realise that the interest in custom covers for IKEA furniture was really 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. She was also deeply passionate about the positive environmental effect of recycling or upcycling countless old IKEA sofas. With a new cover, there’s absolutely no need to throw away a perfectly good piece of furniture if the original fabric is damaged or doesn't suit your taste.
The sofa that started it all
"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 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 but that they also want to make the right choices for the planet. And that is the heart of Bemz - to give our customers the tools to make individual design choices that reflect their own style and values".
“I’ve come to realise that people not only want to make personal design choices but that they also want to make the right choices for the planet.” - Lesley
The story continues
Over a decade later Bemz is still creating stunning designer covers for IKEA sofas and chairs, as well as cushion covers, bedroom products, custom made curtains and more. Our products are growing in popularity because they're a collaboration between Bemz and you. The result is a unique piece, co-designed by you – a blend of your favourite IKEA furniture and our quality textiles. Every piece we make is sewn-to-order - a conscientious decision to manufacture on demand to reduce waste. We've introduced a fabric line using recycled cotton and aim to follow our core concept of upcycling by updating the furniture one already owns, rather than buying new.
Entrepreneur, mother, lover of the tactile and textile— Bemz founder Lesley Pennington is an innovator and one of Scandinavia’s favourite business success stories. Defined by her love of fine art and design—the arenas in life that most nurture the soul—Lesley’s background is unique. After obtaining a degree in Fine Art and Art History from the University of Toronto, she went on to become a graphic designer. Lesley then took a position with Apple in Silicon Valley, followed by roles with other successful tech start-ups in Stockholm. Her distinctive skills and expertise dovetailed when she founded Bemz. Through her passion for ethical and sustainable production, and co-creation, Lesley has created a company with a purpose. Every decision made at Bemz supports this larger goal, where thinking more consciously and being better citizens of the world is vitally important. At Bemz, “reuse and recycle” aren’t just catchphrases, but a stylish way of life.