Whenever I need new a piece of furniture or appliance, I always go on Facebook and ask if anyone I know has a second hand piece for me. For example, a few years ago I asked on Facebook to see if anyone has a spare sofa. A friend responded almost immediately and sent me an IKEA sofa bed which looked brand new when it arrived. Unfortunately the sofa cover came under constant attack by my cats and two years later it started to look shabby and worn (the above photo on the left).
I thought I just needed to go to IKEA to grab a new sofa cover. To my surprise I could not find one that fitted my sofa. I asked a sales rep and he replied: “We only sell sofa covers for models which are currently sold in IKEA. Your sofa model had been discontinued and hence we do not have the matching sofa cover for you.” I cannot understand the logic of this. Of course only when a sofa gets old does it needs a new cover. Who would need an extra cover for a brand new sofa?! I went online to search for a solution. A US website was selling sofa covers specifically for discontinued IKEA sofa models. However the price was not cheap and I needed to pay for delivery from US to Hong Kong.
I then asked a seamstress in the wet market if she could help me sew a cover, but she told me that she only did clothes alternation. There are also numerous shops in every neighbourhood which specialise in sewing curtains but none of them offer to sew sofa covers.
It would be ridiculous for me to throw away this sofa which but for the worn cover is still in great condition (originally sold by IKEA at HKD 6000) and hence I refused to. Though I must admit that it was quite depressing to look at this worn sofa cover on a daily basis.
Upon hearing the sad story of my sofa cover, a friend who happens to travel to Shenzhen quite often kindly offered to help me look for seamstresses who would make sofa cover in Shenzhen. It turned out that there are quite a few in the Luo Hu Shopping Arcade which is just right next to the Shenzhen train station. After a few rounds of discussion and negotiation, a deal was finally made at RMB 1300. My sofa now has got a nice new cover, as you can see in the above photo on the right.
My message to IKEA: producer responsibility should include extending the life span of its product so that it does not end up in the landfill prematurely. IKEA should offer to sell sofa covers for its discontinued sofa models.