Back in 2013, Mark Waddington had a vision. To make couch-dwelling more practical, without sacrificing style!
His epiphany occurred one night in Tasmania. An overzealous right arm sent a glass of vin rouge flying over a brand-new white rug. This catastrophe became the catalyst for the original Couchmate; a couch ‘arm table’ which looks great, but most importantly saves the rug from marriage-threatening stains.
The next day a prototype was made, refined over time, and turned into the beautiful product on offer today.
Couchmate’s ethos is to create products that fill a gap in the market. Says Mark:
“The other products we have launched were born out of necessity – to help solve a problem and provide a solution. They have been immensely popular in the years that have followed!”
We’re thrilled that the brand will be exhibiting at the 17th edition of the Australian International Furniture Fair (AIFF) from 16 – 19 July 2020 in Melbourne. AIFF is the Australian furniture industry’s premier buying and networking destination.
In the lead up to the show, we asked Mark for some insights into their products and the secrets to their growth over the last seven years…
Mark, can you tell us about your design and production process?
The first part of our design process is to listen to what our customers need, in the form of a survey to our large customer base. Then a product name is always carefully created to fit our brand, and trademark protected.
Visualising the product comes next by sketching out ideas, then the fun starts – heading into the workshop to create a working model! The finished prototype is then sent to our manufacturer to create the final product, which we then approve or fine tune.
Once approved, we then fill a container and stock the shelves of our Melbourne warehouse for distribution, as well as retail stores across the country.
We also carefully consider the packaging for each new product. It’s important that it is eye-catching and compact enough to fit on any retail shelf, as well as cost-effective for shipping.
Couchmate have gone from strength-to-strength over the last seven years. How has your media coverage impacted that growth?
After launching online, we were contacted by The Block and The Living Room TV shows. Our product featured on Hot or Not (89% Hot), and after being a seller on The Block Shop online, Hayden and Sara used our Relax-a-Mate Bath Caddy on their main Bathroom reveal in 2018. They went on to win the show…and we think it was because of our Bath Caddy)!
With the ultimate goal of launching into the retail space, we were granted an audition for Shark Tank, but they didn’t take the bait, so we contacted AIFF and did our first trade show in 2017. From this moment on, retailers can’t get enough of the Couchmate brand!
Online resellers carry our product – Better Homes and Garden, who regularly feature our products in their magazine, The Block Shop (who have over 150k social followers), Myer.com, as well as Hard to Find among others.
It’s been one great ride so far – and it’s just started!
Are there any standout pieces from your current ranges?
We’re really proud of all of our products, as they’re so versatile. Our Relax-a-Mate Bath Caddy that was used on The Block is a personal favourite. Who doesn’t like laying in the bath with a glass of wine? Our latest “mate” – the Picnic Mate – is a crowd pleaser and just perfect for music festivals and last minute al-fresco dining. The inclining legs really make this stand out from the crowd, as you can use it on any surface and keep a stable surface!
You’ll be part of the 17th edition of the Australian International Furniture Fair in July 2020. What else is on the agenda for this year?
We can’t wait to see everyone at AIFF this year and showcase our product range. We’d love to meet new retailers!
This year is a huge one for Couchmate, as we are planning on launching several new “mates” that we have been creating for the past 12-18 months.
We are also in the process of setting up several international warehouses overseas to carry our product range so we can launch to the international market. The next 12-18 months will be busy busy busy for Couchmate!
We can’t wait to see what Couchmate exhibit at the Australian International Furniture Fair (AIFF) from 16 – 19 July in Melbourne. Subscribe now to be informed when visitor registration is open, plus receive insights into the world of design.