27 Jul

Dormify Raises 345M to Solve The Crisis of Stylish Living in a

first_imgDo you remember the excitement of decorating and furnishing your freshman dorm and all the unnecessary fighting with your parents over which items were truly essential? Well, NYC e-commerce brand Dormify makes the process simpler, more enjoyable, and a lot more stylish. This online retailer offers an exclusive and affordable range of products that are designed specifically for small space living, and many of its products are multifunctional by doubling as storage. Like many online first retailers, the company has transitioned into click-to-brick and now offers pop-up locations, called Style Studios, where customers can interact with stylists and look at the products in person.AlleyWatch spoke with cofounder and creative Amanda Zuckerman about how her own experience shopping for her dorm room inspired this business, which launched back in 2011 and has now raised $5.6M across three rounds.Who were your investors and how much did you raise? American Eagle Outfitters led our Series A fundraise of $3.45M. Other investors were a combination of previous investors from our Seed round in 2013 and new institutional investors.Tell us about the product or service that Dormify offers.We simplify the decor shopping experience for college students and post-grads by creating exclusive and affordable products specifically designed for small space living without sacrificing style.What inspired you to start Dormify?While shopping for my freshman year dorm room, my mom and I were on the hunt for fashionable dorm decor. But, there wasn’t one place that had everything we needed, especially stylish Twin XL bedding. So we created it.How is Dormify different?We make your transition from home to a new dorm room or apartment easy and fun. Whether you want to create an original look or just want to click “order” and have a pre-styled room arrive at your doorstep – we have you covered. We also offer complimentary stylist appointments at our pop-up retail locations, called Style Studios, to further enhance the shopping experience. Our stylists, the salespeople in our stores, are college students who offer peer-driven advice for small space living.What are ways to make a small space look bigger?This is our specialty. Investing in storage for your closet, desk, under your bed, and even adding double-duty storage products into your space can help to organize your belongings and make your space feel bigger. We also recommend adding mirrors and light-colored rugs to reflect light and make your space feeling brighter and bigger.This is our specialty. Investing in storage for your closet, desk, under your bed, and even adding double-duty storage products into your space can help to organize your belongings and make your space feel bigger. We also recommend adding mirrors and light-colored rugs to reflect light and make your space feeling brighter and bigger.What market does Dormify target and how big is it?Our core target market is college students, but our products are suitable for anyone living in a small space. The Dorm Furnishings industry as a whole is a $6B industry.What’s your business model?We are an e-commerce business at our core. This past year we tested “click and mortar” pop-up shops in key markets around the country. We plan to expand both our online experience and offline model by covering even more markets in Spring 2019. In addition to curating a selection of small space essentials and accessories from other brands, we also design and manufacture our own line of bedding and decor items. This makes us the ultimate destination for dorm and small space bedding and furnishings for our customers.What was the funding process like?We explored a few different paths from Venture firms to Strategic Partners. Ultimately it came down to where we thought we would garner the most value beyond the monetary aspect of the investment itself. We have been partners with AEO for the past few years and see a number of synergies above and beyond the financial element. Our customer is also an American Eagle customer. We have long admired the American Eagle and Aerie brands and are excited to partner in a bigger way.What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?Raising capital is always challenging since Investors are trained to find reasons why they shouldn’t invest so you can’t let those objections discourage you. The process is also very time consuming especially for a high growth business with a small team. It was critical for us to divide and conquer because our main focus was always running the day to day of the business.What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?We were already partners with AEO on the product side; they believed in our business and understood how it fit into their strategic goals. They loved our exclusive, on-trend products and how we related to our audience in a very real and authentic way. It paired very well with their customer-centric strategy. Since AEO is expanding their product line to include some key categories that their customers are interested in such as “Apartment”, the conversation naturally turned toward investment. At the end of the day, they want to contribute to Dormify’s growth since ultimately it would also benefit their business.With regard to the other investors, they are very impressed with our growth the past few years.  This year, we are up nearly 100% YoY and they are seeing how our brand is really resonating with our audience and competing with the likes of big-box retailers.  Of course, getting an endorsement in the way of AEO certainly helped bring in some new institutional investors.What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?Design and launch our Back to School 2019 product offeringEnhance technology so that our customers can better visualize our products in their spacesIdentify locations and build out our 2019 pop-up shops across the countryAdd important new talent to our team to help us achieve 2019 growth.What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?We are, and always will be, scrappy, quick learners, and committed to results. We can do a lot with a little and this mentality is definitely part of what has made us successful so far. I would recommend this mindset to anyone regardless of how much you have in the bank.We are, and always will be, scrappy, quick learners, and committed to results. We can do a lot with a little and this mentality is definitely part of what has made us successful so far. I would recommend this mindset to anyone regardless of how much you have in the bank.Where do you see the company going now over the near term?Excited to launch our new collection and meet our new class of customers – hello class of 2023!Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after work drink?Nomad Hotel Bar – near our office and love the vibe there.PREVIOUS POSTNEXT POST Dormify Raises $3.45M to Solve The Crisis of Stylish Living in a Tiny Dorm RoomNovember 14, 2018 by AlleyWatch 471SHARESFacebookTwitterLinkedin Filed Under: #NYCTech, AlleyTalk, E-Commerce, Funded in the Alley, Funded in the Alley, Funding, Funding News, Interviews, Startups, Venture Capital Tagged With: American Eagle Outfitterslast_img

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