Our DOVA Design Process
Corrine and I began designing the DOVA play sofa when my son Max was one week old and Corrine has just announced her pregnancy. By the time we launched DOVA, Max was a fully-fledged crawler and Spencer was almost 12 weeks old.
It wasn’t our having new-born babies that made the process long, it was a list of non-negotiables that we agreed had to be 100% covered off before we released the DOVA to the market.
Let us start by saying that play sofas are a fantastic item for any home. However, having researched the market and thinking about our own desires for our children as they grew and became more active, we had some clear expectations that the DOVA had to meet to become the UK's first play sofa.
- Foam density and thickness: One of the many knock-on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic was increases in the price of foam. We didn’t want to skimp on the quality of the foam – at the end of the day children were going to be jumping all over this product and it needed to withstand all the energy of play time. After some trial and error we found a European supplier who ticked all the boxes.
- Stain proofing: As new parents we quickly learnt that it is not just our kids who need a change of clothes multiple times a day, it’s mums and dads too! Unfortunately you can’t just swap out your furniture every time it gets marked during play time, so the DOVA fabric covers had to be tough and stain resistant, day in, day out.
- Biggest play sofa on the market: A bigger sofa = bigger build options, and this was important to us. However we also really wanted the DOVA to be comfortable for family members of all ages, shapes and sizes. No doubt Mum and Dad will want to be included when it comes to play time – or better yet, nap time!
- Zip-apart base pieces: We wanted DOVAs to be as versatile as possible. Some builds require flexibility, while others require stability. The four main base cushions of the DOVA needed to zip together and zip apart as needed. This would also make the DOVA more robust when it was set up in its regular sofa shape.
- Equal size/thickness for base pieces: By making the four base pieces equal dimensions, the DOVA can be spread out into a giant sleepover bed! At 1.6m x 1.6m, the DOVA is wider than a king size mattress.
- Stylish and hidden in plain sight: First and foremost the DOVA is for children’s enjoyment and the possibilities for play time are endless. However we wanted parents to also enjoy having a DOVA about the house. The DOVA can be neatly put back together in sofa format, and the fabric and colour palette blend in with the home environment. We often use our own DOVAs when the kids are in bed and family and friends are in the living room having a coffee or an evening drink.
- A colour range to suit every home: We spent a lot of time choosing the DOVA colour range and making sure we could offer fabric shades to suit every home. Some customers might want their DOVA in a bright and colourful playroom, others might want it to blend in with softer adult-like furniture in the living room. Plus, choosing a DOVA colour is fun! So there should be plenty to choose from.
This photo is from the day our end-product arrived. One day we look forward to telling the boys where their pocket money comes from!
Corrine & Rhona x