Interview with Lesley Pennington

Describe yourself in a 5 words. What inspires you? I’m good at… I’m bad at…

I’m inspired by people that follow their hearts, that challenge the staus quo, and that aren’t afraid to stand up for the things that they believe.

Positive- I always look at the positive side. Negative- I always look at the positive side; optimistic, creative, open, curious, unstructured


What are the highlights of your career thus far?

Changing career paths 4 times

Working at Apple Computer

Being an entrepreneur


What are your goals for the next 5 years?

Make Bemz the no. 1 destination worldwide for Custom Made Textiles

Get my daughter successfully through her teenage years

Continue and develop my work with a school in Cambodia.

Live in multiple countries.


What do you enjoy most about working in the interior design industry?

I love design. I love textiles. But, besides that, I think that it’s a very exciting time to be working in the interior design industry- advances in technology are changing the design industry. Consumers are demanding greater involvement and participation in the design process. Interior design is getting very close the the fashion industry- trends and styles change very quickly and have become very personal.


How did the name Bemz come about?

Initials of the children in my life (to remind me always about the important things in life)- Bjorn, Emil, Madeleine, Zo


How did you develop the concept for Bemz? Can you explain how Bemz was started and what your role entails?

I bought an IKEA sofa and wanted a nicer cover. I thought that it was such a good idea to produce sofa covers for IKEA sofas that someone else must be doing it already. But, I checked google and they weren’t.

My background is in technology so it was self evident that I should develop this business on the internet and that it should be worldwide. And The internet allows us to offer 100’s of textile choices for every product- something that we wouldn’t have been able to offer if we had used a traditional retail model.

I am today the Founder and CEO- that means that I do a little bit of everything! But, I am most interested in developnig the business, and, of course, the products.


What has been the most exciting collaboration you’ve worked on so far? Are there any areas that are particularly difficult or challenging?

It has been exciting to work with the designers- from famous brand names like Designers Guild and Marimekko to up and coming designers like Bantie and Lisa Bengtsson. I am also very excited about the potential of digital printing which means that we will be able to work with design, and designers in an entirely new way- and offer unlimited possibilities to our customers!


What do you believe sets you and Bemz apart from your competitors? What are you working on at the moment?

We continue to raise the bar for custom home textiles by focusing on design and innovation. We use only 100% natural fibres, all of our products are machine washable and 100% guaranteed.  We will continue to extend our product line and to offer products that our customers want, and expect from us.

Next in line? This summer we have a major announcement for a new product range- something for your walls instead of your furniture.


Do you have any words of wisdom that you would like to pass on? What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

The only way to be truly happy is to do something that you really love. And, that will be reflected in your work, and your products.


What do you feel are the most important trends / changes happening in the industry that you feel designers should be aware of?

Digital printing will change the ground rules. The trend towards individual, one of a kind products. Of course, recycling, reuse and ethical manufacturing.


What is your most treasured possession?

A teak house with a straw roof on a remote desert island in Thailand.


What is your must-have item for next season?

Something in neon


Who’s your favourite Style Icon?

Patti Smith


Most inspirational person you have met?

Steve Jobs


Your favourite location?

With my family


In a nutshell, your philosophy is…

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. Mark Twain