In the early days of the March 2020 lockdown, Olivia and Patrick Rudomino were inspired by watching their three children play. Cushions, pillows and blankets became forts, caves and a quiet retreat to escape. But then there was the mess and the missing sofa cushions that came with it!
The family started their search for the perfect piece of furniture that didn’t just take up space but actually complemented it. They wanted something that was safe and cosy but also allowed their children to explore their creativity and to play independently. They couldn’t find it. So the NooK adventure began. Drawing on Patrick’s background with luxury brands and Olivia’s experience in product management, they created a brand that is now loved in more than 10,000 homes around Australia.
The original NooK play sofa has now grown into a range of extras including the Arch Roller, Wedge Tail and Blox, all available in 37 different fabric options. Plus, they’ve recently launched the first and only play sofa frame in the world – the NooK Nest. Every NooK product is made in Australia, something Olivia and Patrick are very proud of.
I sat down with Olivia and Patrick to learn more about the product that so many families all over the country have fallen in love with.
When it comes to modular play sofas, NooK is always the first brand to come to mind. How were you able to establish such a strong brand presence from the start?
To be honest, it’s been an incredibly humbling and rewarding journey to see how our customers have embraced the NooK. From the start we were really clear on our values. We wanted to manufacture our products in Australia and to ensure that everything we make is of the highest quality.
We did that from the beginning and we continue to do that today. We have many customers who have three, four or five NooKs and it’s because they know they will always get a quality product when they buy from us.
There has been a surge of modular play products to market over the past 2 years, particularly as we are spending more time at home than ever. What sets NooK apart?
Nothing happens by chance at NooK. When we first designed the NooK play sofa, it was to fill a gap in our family home for somewhere the kids could play, relax, sleep and connect. We still design every shape and choose every fabric with kids in mind. It’s always been about creating products that kids AND parents will love.
Our products are functional, they wear beautifully and they stimulate the imagination. We won the prestigious Gold Accolade in the Product Design category of the 2021 Australian Good Design Awards. That recognition, on top of knowing that our NooKs are loved in more than 10,000 homes is so phenomenal.
Plus, we pride ourselves on our customer service. We have a dedicated team who respond to all of our customer enquiries. It’s important to us that the whole experience with NooK is a really positive one.
Speaking of innovation, the new Nest is, in my mind, an absolute game-changer in modular play. Tell us about it, and why every NooK needs a Nest.
We think it’s a game-changer too! The Nest came about because we wanted somewhere for the NooK play sofa to live so that it looked neat and tidy. Isn’t it every parent’s dream to have a tidy playroom?
We had a few criteria when developing it. We wanted it to be Australian made, to be the same high quality as the NooK, to be modular, and to be really simple to put together with no tools required. And that’s exactly what we’ve created.
It’s made from sustainable FSC certified 18mm Birch Ply with a weight capacity of 150kg for each individual seat component, so it’s really sturdy. It’s available in Raw Birch or also White and Graphite laminate.
So many of our customers ask about using the NooK as an adult sofa. The Nest raises the seating height of a NooK to a grown-up friendly 40cm and gives added support for the Triangle and Rectangular Bolsters.
You can use the Nest in a single NooK configuration or as separate armchairs. You can also easily connect multiple Nests together in many configurations to suit the size of your NooK collection. We also use the Nest as a base for our NooK builds, which is great for people who have limited play space.
There is nothing else like the Nest anywhere in the world so putting it out there was a little scary! But the response has been absolutely overwhelming.
As a mum with a child who is very picky about fabrics and textures, the finishes on products for our family are always front of mind. NooK has a wonderful range of options including the new Ultra Weave fabric. Can you explain a little about how you choose your fabrics, and why this is so important to the product?
It comes back to our quality promise. We choose fabrics that we will know will stand up to whatever kids throw at them.
We have four different fabric options now – Original, Velvet, Outdoor and the new Original Ultra Weave. They are all commercial grade and machine washable.
The Original Ultra Weave is our first fabric that can be washed in a 40 degree cycle. It’s also our most buildable fabric yet, meaning it has slightly more grip to help builds stay in place. Plus, it’s super soft!
The fabric you choose really comes down to personal preference. We know it can be a difficult decision, so we offer fabric swatches for sale on our website. That way you can touch and feel the fabrics and see which colour will best suit your decor.
This post was published in partnership with Nook. Here at Minty we are huge fans of high-quality Australian products, practical design and all things that nurture joy. We love NooK and everything they stand for.