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Having transformed the face of fast food with Deliverance, the takeaway delivery company with a big, tasty difference, co-founders Rohan and Pat set their sights on the sofa.
Why did you decide to start Sofa.com? What was the idea behind the business?
Pat and I started the business in 2005 after one of us had great difficulty trying to buy one. After selling Deliverance we were on the lookout for something new so thought “Why not sofas?”
Sofa.com has been in action since 2005. How have things changed and developed since the beginning?
We have rigorously stuck to our ambition of selling beautiful sofas, beautifully made. Obviously there have been thousands of challenges along the way but the goal remains the same.
How does your day pan out? Do you have an active role within the business?
One day I will be at the factory agonising over stitching techniques, and the next at our warehouse trying to work out more economical and effective methods of delivering a lorry full of huge sofas, so yes it is a very active role. My main focus is the product, its design and construction, and sourcing beautiful, relevant and stimulating fabrics from mills across the globe.
There are some fantastic funny touches on the site (I’m looking at you, risk factor graph). How important was it for the company to have an accessible, approachable voice?
It was vital. Our brand personality is something that set us apart from other furniture retailers from the get-go and something we’ve consistently maintained and been proud of. We like to have fun with it too, which makes for the humorous graphs and illustrations that you see.
Where is all that beautiful, plush fabric sourced?
We buy fabrics by the kilometre directly from mills in Belgium and Italy. Our beautiful linens, herringbones, cottons and velvets, you name it, are all sourced here.
What would you say to any comfort skeptics out there?
Come to our showroom and see what all the fuss is about.
Which piece is your personal favourite?
The Otto – comfort in extremis, laid back but modern.
Sofa.com is wonderfully environmentally conscious. Has this always been something you have focused on?
We’ve always felt it is very important to look after the environment and to make up for the carbon produced by our offices, warehouses and delivery vans. We work with the lovely people at Forest Carbon to plants lots of new trees, most notably a lovely woodland in Aberdeenshire, which is hugely beneficial. We will continue our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint for the foreseeable future.
What made you choose Cheslea as the home of your showroom?
It’s just such a wonderful area. In the foreground is the River Thames and the classic Albert Bridge; as the eye moves towards the horizon, there is Battersea Power station, then the London Eye, then the Gherkin and the Shard. Well, if that can’t provide inspiration…
Any celebrity clients that have had you starstruck?
Loads and loads but we remain tight lipped as to their identity. How boring.
What is your recommended way to enjoy a reclining session on Sofa.com furniture?
Campari and soda, low lighting and a good book.