Parnell business owners Vicki and Susie shared their Comfi journey with Verve Magazine for the ‘Women in Business’ issue—from being great friends to business partners and how their mission has become their joint-seventh lovechild (ninth if you include husbands!)
What inspired you to develop Comfi?
During lockdown we shared our terrible experiences trying to buy mattresses for our teenagers. We couldn’t understand why it was so difficult to find well-priced, great quality, locally made beds online. We decided to dream big and fill this gap. Also, the whole retail experience of buying mattresses seemed so archaic. Testing 12 different models at big retail stores for many isn’t doable. We thought there must be a better way.
Tell us more about your dream to ensure that every Kiwi child sleeps in their own bed.
A good night’s sleep should be accessible to everyone. For every five beds we sell, we donate a brand-new full-sleep solution – mattress, base, and pillow – to a family in need. So far, we’ve enabled nearly 200 individuals to have a great sleep as well. We’re proud to support grassroots organisations and charities like Buttabean Motivation, Woven Earth, and The Aunties.
Tell us more about the ‘perfect’ sleep.
Sleep is the fundamental cornerstone of every aspect of our lives. We value a good night’s sleep for both ourselves and our families, without it, our days generally start and end badly. A perfect sleep for us is all about sleep hygiene. A mattress should be no more than 10 years old, with breathable materials inside – like our wool and hole-punched latex – as well as on top by way of a mattress protector and natural linen and duvets that breathe. As both our husbands sleep extremely hot, we designed our Comfi mattresses with optimum temperature control and Susie and I love the minimum partner disturbance!
I’m ready to renew my bed and pillows. What do I need to know?
The big question is ‘how old is your bed?’ It’s highly recommended to replace your bed every 7-10 years, or when you wake up with aches and pains from your bed being less supportive, too soft or too firm. If your pillow is yellow, lumpy and gives you a sore neck, it’s time to change it – that should be done every 12-24 months.
Another reason why it is time to renew your mattress is there are various types of micro-sized critters in it which you have no idea about. You spend one third of your life rolling around in a mattress with bacteria, fungi, skin cells, and dust mites. Over time, they can cause health issues like allergies and asthma, as well making your mattress feeling heavier and colder.
What has been your most popular product so far?
It is so confusing being faced with so many kinds of models in big stores. We’ve completely simplified the mattress options with only two types to choose from: Supernatural or Natural, with three different feels – firm, medium or soft. Our medium feel is the most popular with couples as it is the Goldilocks option where two people can’t quite decide between a firm or a soft. Our Supernatural is the best value for money, given the superior materials we use – wool, latex, and commercial-grade pocket springs. It’s a luxurious product in an excellent price range.
Do you each have specific roles in Comfi?
We wear many hats, but work to our strengths with Vicki on the offline sales, and business development, and Susie in the online sales, marketing and advertising space. We’re fortunate to have on our team Jenny, who assists with customer orders, deliveries and customer support, and Dana, who is a guru in the social media and graphic design space.
How do you balance your time between the demands of being in business and family life?
Flexibility is key! We both have such an awesome working relationship that we totally support one another with the demands of both business and family. When one is away, the other will step up. There is a great balance here so neither of us feels guilty when we have to deal with a sick child, a broken fridge, or the dentist!
Tell us about the Comfi Sleep Hub.
At Comfi we’ve built our business around selling mattresses online, direct to the consumer, because we believe it’s the best and most honest way to deliver maximum value. That said, we know buying without trying it first is a hurdle for some people to get over, especially if they haven’t done it before. Hence the creation of the Comfi Hub, which is located at 347 Parnell Road, Parnell.
We have created the Comfi Hub knowing that buying a bed can be overwhelming and time consuming. So, we’ve simplified it. You can walk in during office hours or book to test the bed on your own or meet with one of the expert Comfi team. The Comfi Hub is designed for customers to test beds at their own leisure, away from other shoppers and over-attentive salespeople, and to come in their own time, whenever suits, outside business hours.
We know that for many the main barriers to online purchasing is the need to see and feel a product. People have enjoyed visiting the Hub without having anyone there in a relaxed and peaceful environment. Customers have even been known to fall asleep as they’re so comfortable on our beds!
Describe Comfi in a hashtag.
What sets Comfi apart from other similar businesses?
New Zealand-made beds made with New Zealand-sourced and sustainable materials. We’re the only bed business where you can book an appointment to test drive our Comfi beds without anyone in store. We’re the first online New Zealand luxury bed business that gives beds to families in need. The simplicity of choice of our product range also sets us apart as we have specifically designed our range to remove confusion.
Read the full interview in Verve Magazine.