Relaxation, made here in Whatcom County

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Comphy Company supplies top spas and resorts worldwide

Turquoise waves ebb and flow in the distance. The sun warms your skin while palms sway in the breeze and your worries are massaged away at a pristine oceanside resort in Bali. Though you may not know it, that sense of relaxation you’re feeling is being powered by a company from Ferndale, Washington.

Ferndale-based Comphy Company supplies spas across the world with top-notch sheets, robes, eye pillows and more. Their luxurious linens are made from natural sources, not synthetic ones, and a scientific study has shown that they genuinely improve sleep. They are loved by high-end hotels and resorts everywhere.

And they just recently made the Business Pulse Top 100 list — one of only eight women-owned companies to achieve that honor.

The beginnings of an international enterprise
Comphy Company founder Mia Richardson dreamed up this business while working as a director at a local Whatcom County spa in 2003. It was then that she realized how difficult it was to find spa sheets that were irresistibly comfortable yet strong. At that time, she said, there weren’t any products that could survive rigorous industrial laundry and stand up to massage oil while remaining soft and luxurious.

“I set out to come out with a performance line that could be luxurious and still address those concerns,” Richardson said.

As a single mom without financial backing, Richardson did not have an easy road ahead of her. She took a chance and ran with it. At her first trade show, fabric samples in tow, Richardson quickly realized that fellow spa directors and industry leaders saw the same need she did. They pined for her product, and to her surprise, she landed her first customer — a Ritz-Carlton resort — that very day.

In the first few years, manufacturing was tremendously challenging, Richardson said. She worked tirelessly to create the perfect fabric while keeping materials at the desired price point.

“At that time, there were no financial loans available, so I did it all on my credit cards,” she said. “At one point, I moved into a warehouse in Los Angeles while I started the business.”

By 2007, she had Comphy Company up and running, with products prepped and manufacturing processes in place. At that point, she wanted to head back to her home of more than 30 years, Whatcom County.

She set up shop in a warehouse on Portal Way in Ferndale and never looked back.

A commitment to sustainability
When setting out to make these products, Richardson kept the planet prioritized. Being eco-friendly is not only important to her as an individual, but it’s also important to the spa industry.

“That whole industry is continually trying to find ways to increase wellness, whether it be in the environment, individually or collectively as a group,” she said. “Wellness is the focus, and environmentally friendly becomes a part of that.”

Comphy Company’s products are made from natural fibers such as cotton, hemp and bamboo. The fabric is lighter than most other commercial products, which means they need less time in the dryer. Because the company’s sheets are made for durability, they last two to three times longer than a standard cotton sheet, Richardson said, and — once they do finally wear out — you can recycle them instead of sending them to a landfill.Comphy Company is a member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council, which means the business takes steps to minimize carbon emissions and pollutants and commits to sustainably sourcing materials.

Richardson said that they plan to go even further.

“Our goal is to have all of our products made from recycled thread by 2021,” she said.

Products for everyone
Comphy Company is a luxury linen provider for the spa industry and for many luxury spas worldwide including for such clients as the Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons and St. Regis.

While the company caters primarily to wholesale buyers, individuals still can get their hands on these products. Comphy Company has had a home linen line for the past five years.

“After being in spas for a couple of years, clients started to notice the difference when they did have massages and they would find our tag after their treatment and look us up online,” Richardson said. “They started calling us, asking if we made these linens for home.”

At the time, they didn’t. But after getting these requests, Richardson decided to make it happen. She found a way to get the sheets manufactured for home use, and then the company branched out into the bed and breakfast market. Richardson said these markets have made Comphy Company even more successful.

Supporting Whatcom County
Along with its commitment to the environment, supporting local causes is one of Comphy Company’s core values. The company’s team has a program called Comphy Gives Back that facilitates the company’s donation of products to those who need them.

Richardson said that the company works largely through local food banks but also supports several organizations. “Women’s shelters and school systems locally call us, and we provide families in need with full bedding,” she said.

Comphy has given back to a number of organizations throughout Whatcom County. They supply New Way Ministries of Lynden, an organization that provides transitional housing for women and children experiencing homelessness, with towels, robes and pillowcases. They give their products to the Whatcom Humane Society to support animal care and to Lydia Place, a Bellingham-based nonprofit that has been serving the county’s homeless population since 1989.

If an organization close to their heart needs high-quality bed linens or similar products, Richardson encourages people to reach out.

“Because we don’t have a storefront, there’s not really a way for you to know we’re here,” she said. “I want the community to know we are here and we are wanting and willing to support. As a team, we get really excited when we have a chance to do something good for the community.”

You can browse products and learn more about Comphy Company at www.comphy.com.