Crushing on Rafa Kids

Agata and Arek, the duo behind Rafa Kids are both architects in Rotterdam. Their passion to design children’s furniture begun after the birth of their children. Their ethos is simple; To produce fun, playful, high-quality design furniture that will be enjoyed, not only by children, but also and very importantly design and quality savvy parents. They have come a long way since the design of the very first bed they created for their eldest son and their collection has been developed and designed from their own personal needs. Each product has been thoroughly tested by their 2 boys. The quality and craftsmanship is second to none. No MDF, no chipboard just the very best sustainably sourced Finnish birch plywood. Rafa Kids certainly stand out in this crowded market because they understand their customers and are driven by their desire to design furniture which will be enjoyed for years. Here I speak to Agata about their journey…

  • Could you tell me a little about yourself, where you live and who with?

Hello, my name is Agata, and I’m an architect and passionate designer. Seven years ago I started a brand called Rafa-kids with my husband, Arek. We live in Rotterdam, The Netherlands with our two sons Frank 12 and Robert 8. We just moved into a new beautiful home, and we feel very excited! 
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The duo behind Rafa Kids

‘Agata takes care of the aesthetic side of the designs and Arek is the technical brain of the duo’

  • Do you have a background in design?

Yes, I do! I wanted to be an artist since I was a little girl. The Art High School was a very natural choice, where for five years I was drawing, painting and making ceramics. I was also very good in art history. I thought art would be my future, but my parents suggested I should get a more serious education and after it a good job. I went to study architecture. I believe it was a right decision as I met my husband during this time!
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Agata:

‘We understand parents because we are parents’

  • Why did you decide to start designing children's furniture?

When I was working as an architect in different offices, I had also a chance to design furniture for clients. I always liked the smaller scale of housing projects and interior design. For our own house we did a few custom made furniture. Our boys shared a single room and there was no way to fit standard two beds. We decided on designing a bunk bed. Our kids loved it, and friends kept asking us if we would do something for them too…so that’s how our furniture brand started.
  • What was the most challenging thing when starting your business?

I think for me, the most challenging was to realise, you are not working for anyone but only for yourself. Bye bye salary! It’s was not easy especially when you don’t have a family or friends being a good example of how to do it. I needed to find people who I could ask all the questions! I discovered later, that I’m good at being my boss hahaha. The freedom you get with your own business is priceless, but it also involves a lot of planning and responsibility. It is not for everyone…
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F & A75 BED – SET FOR 2 KIDS

Do your children share a single room? The younger one would like to have a bunk bed and the older needs a teen bed already?

  • Would you ever consider designing other furniture?

I would love to! In our new home, we designed kitchen and wardrobe. Arek designed a beautiful table, so there is a long way to go!
  • Why the name Rafa?

Rafa comes from first letters of our family members - Robert, Agata, Frank and Arek.
  • Where do you get your inspiration from?

I’m a very visual person so I walk around with my eyes wide open. It can be art, photography, film or amazing magazine which I love to read. Not only the ones dedicated to architecture or interior design but rather lifestyle. I also look for inspiration on Instagram, discovering creative people around the world, is something that drives me a lot.
  • What is the philosophy behind Rafa Kids?

Transform kids rooms with our furniture, so that they belong to the modern family home. If you think - kids rooms - most of the time you will imagine this messy, small space which you rather keep behind closed doors. Things changed a lot thanks to Instagram and Pinterest, and moms create now kids rooms in stylish, modern and inspiring way. Rafa-kids makes high-quality products, and our philosophy is to convince people to believe that it’s better to invest in products that last for years. We’re also minimalists at heart so we advocate to have less things in general. Get products that you will love to use and look at. It can be achieved not only by getting a beautiful lamp or chair but also a kid’s bed!
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Rafa Kids B Table

The B table is perfect for your toddler and pre-schooler from the age of 3+. It is big enough to be used till the age of 8-9, and parents can sit comfortably at it too…

  • What advice would you give to emerging designers or business owners?

Do your homework well! I believe it’s necessary to spend time and do all the preparations before starting your own business. Think about the right market for your product, why would you like to bring it and for whom? What kind of problems would you want to solve? Try to build your network as soon as possible. Creating an excellent product or service is just a part of the business. Prepare for hard work on marketing, branding and promotion of it too.

It took us around a year before we officially went ‘live’ with Rafa-kids website. The first furniture was then still in production. We didn’t invest all the money in stock, but slowly build it up with orders coming. This saved us a lot of stress and made us grow organically. Of course, there are different strategies, but I believe that there are no shortcuts to success.
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H Dresser

NEW Rafa-kids H dresser is comfortable storage furniture with drawers and a rack. Perfect for a nursery, great in playful toddler’s room and stylish in a teen’s room…

  • Any new projects in the pipeline?

Rafa-kids has just launched a new Wardrobe and Dresser. There is more stylish and modern storage coming for children’s rooms from us for sure. I think it’s one of the most challenging tasks as kids have so much stuff! We are helping to organise it with style!

A big thank you to Agata for talking to us. Please leave any questions or comments below, let us know what you think! If you would like to see how The teen bed in my daughter’s room click here.