A simple idea
Having adopted the Swedish lifestyle, naturally Lesley 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. 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 no longer suits 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 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 by you – a blend of your favourite IKEA furniture and our quality textiles. Every piece we make is sewn-to-order, a conscientious decision from the very beginning not to stockpile a warehouse full of goods that end up as unsold waste.
Lesley Pennington is first and foremost a mother, 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. She 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.
"BEMZ is an anagram of the initials of the children in my life. I wanted it to remind me of the reason for doing what I do."