American Eagle Outfitters this week has led a $3.45 million Series A investment in Dormify, the college dorm and small-space supplies e-retailer. The funds will go to enhance its web experience for better visualization and expand brick-and-mortar operations through more pop-ups.
The infusion from the teen apparel retailer reflects the e-retailer’s base, a spokesperson told Retail Dive in an email. “Our customer is an American Eagle customer too. Dormify is in their room and American Eagle and Aerie are in their closets,” the spokesperson said. “Additionally, the salespeople in our stores are college students who are able to give highly personalized attention and peer-driven advice to our customers.”
The apparel retailer’s investment is the latest tie-up in the two brands’ three-year partnership, most recently in a back-to-school collection. Dormify has also previously worked with Macy’s.
Dormify has already helped American Eagle expand its merchandising, bringing more home (and home away from home) goods to the apparel retailer's online assortment.
That play has helped American Eagle take on retailers like Urban Outfitters, which also offers home goods and even small furniture. That expands opportunities not just for sales but also its customers' reasons to shop. The move is based on the strength of the two companies' previous collaborations, according to Chad Kessler, American Eagle Global Brand President.
“Expanding into additional lifestyle categories has been in direct response to strong customer demand and our American Eagle x Dormify collaboration was an exciting addition to our online apartment shop,” Kessler said in a statement. “We're pleased to continue the partnership, with our commitment signaling our confidence in Dormify, the leadership team and a shared vision of the future growth opportunity.”
Dormify launched six years ago after a discouraging mother-daughter shopping trip for dorm supplies. Co-founders Karen and Amanda Zuckerman's fruitless search for "both affordable and stylish" goods led them to launch Dormify.
Earlier this year, Dormify announced a series of pop-ups, or "Style Studios," in New York City, Chicago and the Washington, D.C. area. "This investment will allow us to continue to make our mark within the back-to-college industry, and through our strong partnership with American Eagle, Dormify will have the opportunity to connect with even more students across the country,” Dormify Creative Director Amanda Zuckerman, now 27, said in a statement.