For Comfi co-founders, Vicki Eriksen and Susie Harris, finding the right beds for their kids was a mission they were not prepared for. They couldn’t quite understand why it was so difficult to find a well-priced, great quality, locally-made bed online. So they decided to dream big and fill this gap.
Here they share their Comfi journey, from being best friends, to business partners and why this mission has become their joint 7th love child - 9th if you include their husbands.
You folks were friends first before you became business partners. Tell us how you met?
Susie: We met at the turn of the millennium in Gisborne New Year’s Eve 2000. Our husbands’ went to school together, and I went to Massey University and flatted with Simon (Vicki’s husband) many years ago.
Talk us through how the idea for Comfi came about?
Vicki: During the first Covid lockdown, we both shared with each other our terrible experiences buying mattresses for our teenagers who had outgrown their beds. It was so confusing, expensive and time consuming. Lying on showroom beds at big retails stores for us busy working Mums was just not doable, not to mention that we couldn’t leave our homes during the first lockdown. The whole experience of bed-shopping just felt so old school. We realised there must be a better way of doing it and this led us on the journey to where we are today.
Each of you have backgrounds in corporate, Susie in Marketing and Vicki in Human Resources, how has this contributed to you starting your own business?
Susie: Vicki has done my first performance review and I am, apparently, performing well, and Vicki is making good inroads with her monthly sales’ targets.
Comfi is a family business, how involved are your partners? What’s the dynamic?
Vicki: Partners? What partners? We are it and they are our fluffers!
What's it like working with family and friends? What have been the advantages and what are some of the challenges?
Susie: Sharing childcare! Also, having the ability to have open and free discussions about everything and anything. The biggest challenge has been not able to work face-to-face during the second lockdown and having to rely on Zoom calls to connect. Given the challenges that we have faced whilst in lockdown, we are super proud of what we have achieved so far, which is a huge testament to our friendship.
How has being in business together affected or contributed to your personal relationship?
Susie: It has brought us closer together, made us stronger and each other’s greatest advocate and supporter.
What sets Comfi apart?
Vicki: At it’s core, we want to make buying beds online easy, with a simple offering at an amazing price. We love how our beds are locally-made, with the best quality NZ wool and with sustainable materials. We have taken away a cumbersome, confusing uninviting bed buying process and turned it on its head. We also have a social purpose, something we’re both very passionate about. For every 5 beds bought we donate one sleep solution to organisations working with families in need. Good sleep is a basic human need; one that we all deserve no matter what our circumstances are.
Talk us through your bedtime routines?
Susie: Vicki’s phone switches off at 9pm, I can never get hold of her after that time. For me, no caffeine in the afternoon or sleep is not going to come easily. Both of us aim to be in bed by 9.30pm and get excited about hopping into our Comfi’s with a good book. Our husbands’ are still learning the importance of a good sleep routine.