Looked at one way, it is just another shopping trip. Your teen needs sheets, towels, a comforter and some useful and decorative items for their bedroom. But, look again.
This is the moment when we begin to prepare them in a practical way for the journey, for the young adult life they will lead separate from us. It is a moment packed with emotional punch as we imagine their college years, and say goodbye to many of the things we have loved about our lives for the past 18 years. Yet as parents, we know we need to be sensible and help our teens to prepare for the year ahead.
This post is sponsored by Dormify but the opinions are our own. We earn compensation from purchases made through the links in the post.
Shopping for college can feel overwhelming for both parent and teen, but the good news about 2019 is that so much of the legwork can be done online. Enter Dormify, a decorating destination where your teen can design their dream dorm room while carefully monitoring the cost along the way. Even better, Grown and Flown parents and their teens can save 20% with a discount code created just for our community. Add GROWNANDFLOWN20 at checkout. (Expires 8/31/19)
If you live in or near New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, or Boston, visit Dormify’s cute summer pop up shops, and explore this youthful, on-trend shopping destination. Your teen can book an appointment with a stylist and design their dorm room in an hour, (a complimentary service) or walk in to look on their own.
The Mother-Daughter Founding Team Behind Dormify
Grown and Flown recently had the opportunity to tour the Dormify’s pop up shop in New York City and meet Amanda Zuckerman. Amanda is the Chief Brand Officer of Dormify, which she co-founded with her mom, Karen, while still in college. She recalled her frustration shopping for her own freshman dorm, which meant visiting multiple retailers to find and assemble the trendy style she envisioned for her new room.
Karen, owner of a DC-area ad agency and entrepreneur herself, agreed to be her daughter’s business partner, using the agency to help launch Dormify. Their vision was to create a stylish and reasonably priced dorm-shopping experience where teens can find everything they need
We asked Amanda how she felt about launching Dormify with her mom, especially now that they have been business partners for seven years.
It’s amazing to have a partner who you can completely trust who has your back always. In our family, and in both of our family-run businesses, there really are no set boundaries. Once we stopped trying so hard to separate work and personal life, it happened more naturally. Sometimes it does all blend together, and that is okay for us. The blurred lines between life and work was a bit of an adjustment at first, like when we were sitting on the beach and talking about bedding patterns. But, ultimately it comes down to respect, and treating each other just like anyone else in the workplace.
Karen had this to say about working with her daughter:
We were already really close, but honestly this has allowed us to spend a lot more time together. Amanda is in New York and while I spend most of my time in Maryland I am always traveling to NYC for meetings, and to spend time with the team. As a mom I am so proud to watch and help my daughter grow into a powerful leader, and we both get excited watching our ideas coming to life.
Dormify Shopping Benefits
Here are some of the highlights we found exploring the Domify experience, you will find many more as you and your teen takes a look.
1. “Bed Visualizer” tool. Using their phone or laptop, teens can design a bed with sheets, comforter, blanket, pillows, and a headboard mixing and matching endless combinations before deciding on a final selection. They can see how their choices will look and exactly what they cost before adding a single item to their shopping cart.
2. Facetime with a stylist. If your teen wants to chat via Facetime with a Dormify stylist, who can show them products and answer questions, they can book an appointment Monday-Friday, 10-6 ET. The experts are college students or recent grads and can give “big sister” advice about designing your space and dorm life.
3. Buy now, ship later. No room in the car to drive the family AND the dorm gear? Planning to fly and already at the weight limit? Shop anytime, let Dormify hold your items, and chose the date you want them shipped from the Dormify warehouse to your teen’s college, at no extra cost.
A Word About Guys’ Dorm Rooms
There is no shortage of Dormify items that would work equally well for any gender. As moms with sons and a daughter whose styles are all very different, we picked items that could appeal to a wide range of tastes.
However, if your sons are like ours and preferred to defer the dorm shopping decisions to us, click here and show them the Venice Stripe Comforter and Sham Set first and peruse the rest of the collection for guys’ dorm rooms. You will find comfortable, high-quality bedding, and shopping online together could not be more convenient. ( But you might want to skip the section on pillows altogether.)
Grown and Flown 2019 Dormify Picks:
Start with the Bed
When it’s time to co-shop with your teen, pour yourself a cup of coffee and get them a snack. Start by clicking on the bed visualizer, slide the laptop over to them, and watch while they create their optimal bed choosing colors and patterns they like best. If your teen craves a bit more guidance or needs some inspiration to get started, Dormify has already created pre-styled bedding looks.
Once they’re ready to move onto wall, storage or decor items, Dormify has some unique standout pieces that caught our eye:
1. Twin/Twin XL Velvet Tufted Headboard Cushion. This headboard cushion/pad is quilted in a soft velvet fabric and is lightweight enough to secure to the wall with six Command hooks. Now, they can sit and study (yes!) on a dorm bed that is much more comfortable and like home.
2. Grey Twin/Twin XL Powered Studded Headboard. These headboards are heavier than the headboard cushion(above) but but can also be mounted easily on the wall. Added to the functionality are a built-in outlet and USB port so your student can plug in a phone, laptop or clip-on light at their bedside. The headboard has a 6’ long power cord so you teen can plug it into an outlet and have all the power they need, bedside.
3. White Brick Removable Wallpaper. The peel and stick wallpaper in a brick pattern is an inventive and attractive way to obscure the typically awful cinder block walls that make dorms look so bleak. (It is easily removable and does not damage walls – (just be sure to check the Student Housing prohibited list first).
4. Pink Marble Tapestry. Hanging a wall tapestry is a relatively easy and quick way to dramatically upgrade the walls. We like the diaphanous fabric ones, especially the tranquil scenes.
5. White Hangit Photo Display. A cute way to display photos is with this “hangit” – that uses clothesline and pins strung between two poles where your teen can display and switch out favorite photos.
6. Long String Light Set. Lighting can transform a dorm room and string lights are an easy option to help make a room feel cozier. brighten the room. This light set is one of Dormify’s best-selling items of all time.
7. Charging Task Lamp. If the desk doesn’t have a lamp or lighting, here is a desk lamp with a built-in charging outlet plug.
8. Floor lamp. A floor lamp is another option for adding lighting to a room. It can be adjusted to point light in any direction desired and works especially well in poorly lit rooms. They are a practical lighting source to nestle next to an elevated bed.
Pillows are a specialty at Dormify where you will find a wide range of shapes, colors and textures.
10. Customizable pillows. Dormify will create a unique pillow with your teen’s name, initials, school name, etc. which makes a great grad gift. The pillows with one large initial might be a simple way for roommates to unify two disparate styles with a pair, one for each bed.
11. The Faux Mongolian Euro Pillow is amazingly soft, comes in a variety of shapes, and has been one of the top sellers.
12.Collapsible Storage Ottoman Chair. We fell in love with this storage cube that doubles as a chair with the back folded up. It also comes with inserts for a perfect place to store shoes.
It folds completely flat when not in use.
13.Collapsible Storage Ottoman Bench with Seat Back. This is a larger ottoman storage bench that is a genius way to add storage and seating, both of which are in short supply in a dorm room.
14. Tall Charging 3-Drawer Cart on Wheels. This was one of Dormify’s biggest hits last year and sold out quickly. This year they added USB and charging ports making it even more useful.
All photos curtesy of Dormify