With their customers shopping for a more normal back-to-college experience this fall, two complementary retailers — The Container Store and online furniture and décor retailer Dormify — decided to partner for the season.
Dormify has added back-to-college pop-ups inside 10 Container Stores, including its Dallas store, through Sept. 5. The other pop-ups are in Container Stores in Houston; Manhattan; Nashville; Raleigh, North Carolina; Alpharetta, Georgia; Boca Raton, Florida; Costa Mesa, California; Vienna, Virginia.; and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
Dormify-outfitted beds anchor the college-bound shops that are filled with the Container Store’s dorm- and apartment-focused closet, desk, bath and storage merchandise.
While the two retailers are known for innovation and creating spaces that work, their product mixes are complementary, said Amanda Zuckerman, Dormify’s co-founder and CEO. Last year, Dormify opened five pop-up stores, including one in Dallas’ West Village.
“We’re not in directly competing categories, but we both excel in our categories and have the same customer,” Zuckerman said. The Dormify pop-up is a marketing tool for now, but in the future, she said, “we would love to sell our product in their stores.”
The Container Store CEO Satish Malhotra said the Coppell, Texas-based retailer has amped up its marketing to college-age customers, adding that he’s “really encouraged” with the results so far.
Campus “ambassadors” are distributing flyers during dorm move-in weekends and at freshman orientations. The company is also including college-focused materials inside shipped orders.
Both retailers put a value on customer service and have products that are popular on college campuses already.
For Dormify, it’s a smart headboard that attaches to the wall and comes with USB ports and a plug because “dorm room electrical outlets are always in terrible locations,” Zuckerman said.
The Container Store is known for its dorm-size, three-tier rolling cart, school-calendar planners, under-the-bed storage and what Malhotra called “the most famous Elfa printer/fridge cart.”
This year’s average back-to-college spending of about $1,200 matches last year’s record high and exceeds pre-pandemic spending, according to estimates from the National Retail Federation.
Malhotra was speaking to analysts last week to review the quarter that ended July 2, which included a sales increase of 7.1% to $262.6 million and a 32% decline in profit to $17.9 million due to higher freight and marketing expenses.
The retailer’s custom closet business posted its seventh consecutive comparable quarterly sales gain. Last year, the Container Store acquired a Chicago custom closet competitor, giving it more styles and features, including a wall bed. It’s been named the Preston collection, after the company’s original location in 1978 on Preston Road and Forest Lane in Dallas.©2022 The Dallas Morning News. Visit dallasnews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.