The move to the university is fast approaching and retailers are vying for a share of the back-to-school market.
Dormify, an online student furniture and home decor retailer, gives students the opportunity to map their bedroom before setting foot on campus with a summer pop-up store in Dallas’ West Village.
The store is one of a series of temporary brick-and-mortar locations across the country that showcase the dorm-specific bedding and furniture that Dormify offers, including XL patterned duvets, designed headboards for beds of dormitory and strips of removable wallpaper.
After opening in late June, the Dallas pop-up is holding up with Dormify’s other short-term stores in Chicago, New York, Boston and Philadelphia, said Amanda Zuckerman, CEO and co-founder of Dormify.
“Dallas has been a really attractive and growing market in terms of digital sales for Dormify,” Zuckerman said. “So we’ve kind of adopted the same formula of seeing success online and continuing to enter those markets with physical experience with the brand. “
Customers are encouraged to make an appointment to visit the pop-up, although the Dallas location does book appointments. Date registration includes a survey with questions about the university the person attends, the type of room or apartment they live in, and whether they are trying to match their style with that of a roommate. It also gives space to upload inspirational images for styling ideas.
A stylist then sets up one of the eight to ten beds in the store to mimic the styles given in the survey. “The premise of the store is that this is a blank canvas,” Zuckerman said.
Zuckerman started Dormify while still in college in 2012 with the help of her mother and a friend after being frustrated by the lack of stylish decor options for students. They started the business with their own money and in 2013 they raised over $ 2 million in a fundraiser.
The company’s business model matches the online presence of its target Gen Z demographic. Most of the sales come from its website and its marketing relies heavily on influencers.
For the pop-ups, which Dormify started making in 2018, the company is focusing on hometown markets rather than college towns. This is the brand’s first physical store in Dallas.
The presence of colleges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area does not hurt, however. The Christian University of Texas at Fort Worth was one of the best schools Dormify was shipped to last year, Zuckerman said, and the company is currently in talks with Southern Methodist University about a partnership.
TCU’s move-in for the fall semester begins August 14, while some SMU students may move in on August 18. The pop-up will hold a sample sale from August 25 until it closes on August 31.
Dormify differentiates itself from competitors like Target and Walmart with one-on-one experiences with stylists offered both online and in person. Dormify is also more expensive, with most comforter sets starting at around $ 100.
“We try to hold the hands of the students to make sure they feel prepared and excited,” Zuckerman said. “It’s not just about going to a store and making transactions, it’s a moment in life that you will remember forever.”
Since arriving in Dallas, Dormify has partnered with several “micro-influencers” in the region to promote the store’s opening. Instagram influencer and special education teacher Jaycie Adamson first worked with Dormify last week.
Adamson’s online image is bright and rainbow-filled, so the pop-up showroom has been decorated to match his style. It featured a pink tie-dye blanket, pink pillows, and multi-colored posters.
“For me, even a few years after college, that was still what I liked,” Adamson said. She said the partnership fits well with the demographics of her followers, who tend to be out of college or younger.
Adamson, who has more than 16,000 Instagram followers, was initially offered a $ 300 gift card in exchange for social media posts about his visit to the store. She traded that number up to $ 450, she said.
Because the Dallas pop-up is doing so well, Zuckerman said the brand plans to return to the area in the future, although it may be in a different location from its current location on McKinney Avenue.
“Since we’re really looking to Gen Z, I don’t think the West Village is really appealing to Gen Z,” Zuckerman said.
The company had previously reviewed locations at the NorthPark Center and Snider Plaza. Zuckerman said she wanted to explore the Highland Park area.