‘Let’s build a fort!’
All content provided by Emily Roffe-Silvester
A Devon ‘mumpreneur’ has just launched a multi-purpose play sofa after being inspired by her children.
Emily Roffe-Silvester, who lives in Mid-Devon, created the Sofee play sofa after watching her two young children trying to build a rocket while they were confined to the house during the pandemic.
She said, ‘My children love building dens and forts out of cushions and sofas and it was seeing their frustration at not being able to build something sturdy enough to hold shape that made me realise we needed a play sofa. I wanted to create something that would be versatile enough to support creative play and development and last multiple childhoods, but still be stylish enough to have in the sitting room.’
The Sofee is made of four sturdy foam pieces covered in soft, durable microsuede fabric that can be used as a sofa or configured into a fort, den, spaceship, slide, chair – whatever a child’s imagination dreams up.
The Sofee is made of three different densities of foam each with a specific purpose and have undergone fire safety and poundage testing. The removable covers, which are available in six colours, are liquid resistant and have anti-slip qualities so that whatever a child builds won’t slip or collapse. Each piece has handles for easy manoeuvrability and zips and tags are hidden so there’s no danger of snags; the microsuede material is a perfect ‘sticky’ canvas for felt shapes. All parts of the Sofee meet or exceed UK safety regulations.
Emily added, ‘It has been intense bringing the Sofee to market during a pandemic but I wanted to ensure that it was a high-quality product made in the UK. I spent a long time investigating UK manufacturers of foam and fabric and ensuring that the play sofa was practical and environmentally sustainable before launching the mysofee.com website.’
While creating the Sofee, production and materials were originally planned for overseas. However, a ‘light bulb’ moment kept manufacturing of the Sofee in the UK and it’s turned out to be a brilliant business strategy.
Emily explained, ‘My initial enquiries were based in China. However, I quickly realised that for ethical and environmental reasons I couldn’t justify launching a business with an overseas company that couldn’t tell me about their environmental practices or working conditions. I consider myself both ecologically-conscious and ethically-aware and felt strongly that my business should reflect my ethics. I took a leap of faith and kept production in the UK and it’s paid off in so many ways. Keeping production in the UK has meant a higher quality product which is exactly what parents are looking for in children’s furniture and toys these days.’
Being led by sustainable practices hasn’t just meant a higher quality product, it also meant faster shipping times for customers. A product made in the UK is significantly faster to ship than something that needs to make its way over from China.
The Sofee can be delivered throughout the UK or is available for pick-up in the West Country. One happy customer said, ‘We have had hours of fun with our Sofee! So far, we have created horse stables, Olympic stadiums, diving boards, teddy picnic areas and forts…. As the children grow, they will be able to adapt Sofee to their needs. It acts as an alternative soft seating area for adults too!’