Verdane takes a seat in the sofa of Verdane VIII portfolio company Bemz
Stockholm — Lesley Pennington, with a successful career at Apple in Silicon Valley, moved to Sweden and started the e-commerce company Bemz in 2005. The Bemz business idea – to design sofa covers for IKEA sofas – proved to be a great success. This year the company celebrates ten years and Lesley brings in new investor Verdane Capital VIII to allow for rapid expansion in the global market.
“I knew nothing about textiles and sewing when I started Bemz,” says Lesley. “But when I wanted to exchange the cover for my IKEA sofa and realized that there was no such offering available in the market, my idea was born. I figured I could not be the only one who had this need and the market for IKEA sofa covers had to be huge. ”
Bemz has grown organically and reached a turnover of 5,4 million Euros in 2014 with 20 employees. Today the company sells online to 35 countries with the main markets in Sweden, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Bemz offers covers for more than 150 different IKEA sofa models and most models are available in more than 250 different fabrics. The fabrics are exclusively natural materials of very high quality and they are all machine washable. In addition to sofa covers, Bemz also offers curtains and bed fabrics.
All original Bemz patterns are created by Katarina Wiklund and they also partner with renowned design firms like Designers Guild, Marimekko, up-and-coming design companies like Littlephant and renowned classic designers such as Stig Lindberg. In 2009 Bemz opened a store at Odengatan 22 in Stockholm, however the majority of sales take place online at www.bemz.com.
Bemz celebrates its tenth anniversary this year and Lesley now wants to increase the pace of expansion, which is why she is bringing in an external investor.
“We see huge opportunities in the European market, particularly in Germany, which has now overtaken Sweden as IKEA’s largest market. But we need more marketing funding to reach out. In addition, we want to develop our potential in the United States, where interest is huge. We are very pleased to have Verdane Capital VIII as our new owner. In addition to capital, they bring a deep knowledge of e-commerce from investments in more than 30 e-commerce companies, “she says.
The Bemz commitment to the environment runs deep, with a business concept based on extending the life of IKEA furniture. The Bemz business model limits waste and strain on resources by only producing what customers have ordered and all manufacturing takes place in its largest market, Europe, thereby reducing the environmental impact of shipping.
“We think Bemz is a very exciting company with an innovative and modern business idea for a large global market. Bemz offers something customers want today: an opportunity to create a personal look in your home by renewing your existing furniture rather than throwing them out and buying new ones. That mindset is very timely today, “says Bjorn Beckman, Verdane Capital Advisors.
Funds advised by Verdane Capital Advisors Provide flexible growth capital to Nordic companies with high ambitions in the IT, Energy and Advanced Industrial Sectors. What sets Verdane funds apart is the flexibility to buy either a complete portfolio, parts of a portfolio or a single shareholding amongst a group of unlisted assets. The funds have EUR 700 million in committed capital from institutional investors. Since 2003, the funds advised by Verdane Capital Advisors have Acquired 23 portfolios with stakes in over 250 companies. Verdane funds have Invested in companies Such as Easypark, Mathem, MJP Waterjets, Royal Design and Åkerströms. Former Holdings include CRF Health, Bythjul, DIBS, Tradedoubler and Wireless Maingate. For more information, please visit www.verdanecapital.com
Bemz is a Swedish design company that designs tailor-made covers for IKEA furniture and other home textile products. The company was founded in 2005 by Lesley Pennington. Bemz profile design is deeply rooted in the Scandinavian design history. Bemz fabrics are specially selected for their high quality, natural materials and all Bemz textiles are machine washable. Bemz environmental commitment is large, with a business idea based on extending the life of IKEA furniture. Bemz has no overproduction without producing only what customers have ordered and all production takes place in Europe, which is their biggest market. In December 2009, Bemz opened a store at Odengatan 22, in Stockholm – a shop and showroom in one.