Startup Dormify, Built for (and from) a Dorm Room


Small Business Spotlight: Dormify, @dormify

Who: Amanda Zuckerman

What: Startup focused on small space style.

When: 2011

Where: New York, New York

How: Mother-daughter team Amanda and Karen Zuckerman were inspired to found Dormify in 2010, when Amanda moved into Washington University in St. Louis for her freshman year of college.

While buying her dorm room essentials, Zuckerman felt that the current bedding options and dorm accessories lacked the patterns and colors that fit her personality.

“The only options we came across were the bed-in-a-bag or the option to go to a ton of different stores to get together a more unique, sophisticated look. We decided to fill that void and Dormify was born,” said Zuckerman.

The mother-daughter team put their ideas to work and used the resources of Mom’s advertising agency to help build Dormify, from the ground up.

While creating Dormify's website and designing the products, Zuckerman also launched a blog about small space style, geared towards high school and college female students.

After a year, Zuckerman launched Dormify’s ecommerce store in 2011.

Biggest challenge: “We have a ton of big ideas—too many—but we have a small staff. It's a challenge but also a blessing—it keeps us nimble and fast, but there's only so much you can do with limited resources,” says Zuckerman.

One moment in time: Zuckerman wants Dormify to be the first place thought of when people style their small space.

“We want to be first whether they come to shop for products for their bedroom, dorm room or apartment, or for inspiration from our blog to help plan,” says Zuckerman.

Best business advice: “Understanding your audience and learning how to think like them is first and foremost. Hire people who get it - the start-up world is not for everyone.  It's also important to stick to your niche when you're starting out because realistically you can't provide everything for everyone. There's always room for expansion later, but you need to establish your brand, your voice, and your position in the space first,” says Zuckerman.