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An interview with RAFZ project leader Erika van de Wetering:

'Some people didn't even realize it was second-hand'

In an era where sustainability is becoming increasingly vital, the way we approach office furniture is evolving. Enter RAFZ Kontorsmöbler, a pioneering force in providing businesses and individuals with an affordable and environmentally friendly solution for buying and selling used furniture. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Erika van de Wetering, project leader at RAFZ, to delve into their mission, products, and vision for the future.

Rafz at Stockholm Furniture Fair and Erika van de Wetering.

History of RAFZ
RAFZ was founded in 2016 and has quickly grown as a prominent brand. 'The founder of the company worked as an architect and noticed that many furniture pieces were discarded. This is where his interest in a more sustainable solution came from. Especially office furniture tends to be of very good quality. Furniture gets replaced after about three years, even though they could easily last for another twenty. That's where we come in, to acquire these furniture pieces,' Erika explains.

From humble beginnings, delivering furniture in a regular car and operating out of a modest apartment warehouse, RAFZ has grown exponentially. Today, their vast inventory spans over 5000m2, a testament to their rapid expansion and unwavering commitment to sustainability.

Promoting a circular furniture industry
At RAFZ, sustainability isn't just a buzzword; it's a core value embedded in every facet of their operations. 'We even provide an overview showing how much carbon dioxide emissions are saved on each product. We compare the carbon dioxide purchasing second-hand items with the emissions of a brand-new product,' Erika says.

'There is a lot of interest in second-hand furniture in the industry. It is becoming more and more popular. Buying second-hand is much smarter; it's cheaper and better for the environment. Our 5000m2 warehouse is completely filled with second-hand furniture. We mostly have desks and office chairs, but also a lot of other pieces in all kinds of sizes, and from all kinds of brands.'

Sometimes it's a challenge to source the right pieces for a project, but RAFZ also offers a lot of options to customise pieces. 'My colleagues are very good at making the items look beautiful for sale in the warehouse. Usually, people are surprised by the quality. When a product comes in, we check if everything works as it should. Items are also thoroughly cleaned to make them look as good as new. For instance, we can repair scratches, we can even repaint it in a new colour or reupholster it.'

Stockholm Furniture Fair
Recently, RAFZ exhibited their products at Stockholm Furniture Fair for the first time. The reactions to the possibilities the brand offered with second-hand furniture were very positive. 'It was great to be there and to show what we can do. Especially all the reactions were great, some people didn't even realize it was second-hand.'

In the future, the brand plans to expand the customisation options for their products. 'We already have a large installation where we can spray paint our furniture, but we want to expand this in the future,' Erika explains. With growing interest from policymakers and consumers alike, sustainability is becoming a driving force in decision-making. Looking ahead, Erika sees circular trade playing an increasingly pivotal role in the future of office furniture.

More information:
RAFZ Kontorsmöbler
[email protected]