Weatherford Democrat

Online Only

July 22, 2013

ONLINE ONLY: Working with college girls to sell style

Advertising executive Karen Zuckerman has assembled a small army of college women across the country to spread the word about her ambitious Rockville, Md.-based dorm-decorating company.

Aptly called Dormify, the start-up — funded with $2 million from a dozen investors and Zuckerman herself — is going head to head with big brands like Pottery Barn, Target and Bed Bath & Beyond as it tries to capture a slice of the collegiate-spending market.

Dormify sells stuff online, such as vinyl wall decals that make you believe a chandelier is hanging from the ceiling. The biggest chunk of its business is bedding, which includes sheets, duvets and decorative pillows under girly names like "California Girl" and "City Chic."

What interests me about the business are the 300 style advisers positioned across 150 colleges. The goal is to create a national network of Dormify ambassadors who will spread the brand through blog posts, photos and updates on social-media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. Typical topics run the gamut from basic decorating tips to how to get into a sorority.

"If people like our content, then they are going to be interested in our products," Zuckerman said. "We try to touch on content that all college girls are interested in."

Zuckerman is betting she can blow out the Dormify student brigade into a national distribution channel that not only sells dorm stuff but one day helps young women and couples outfit their apartments after graduation — and maybe even decorate their first homes.

In return for volunteering — style advisers don't get paid, but they can receive a commission from sales — Zuckerman's employees learn to become young businesswomen. They learn how to communicate verbally and in writing. They make contacts. They learn how to market themselves on the Internet.

Text Only
Online Only
  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • Screen shot 2014-04-18 at 4.44.15 PM.png Paint, doodle and sketch: 3 apps for art lovers

    In the absence of a palette of watercolors and a sketchpad, these three apps can fill in as your art supplies of choice.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • VIDEO: Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 17, 2014

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case