Inside Job Turn a little style into a lot of profit by trying your hand at dorm room design.
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Dorm life--it's filled with cramped spaces, weird roommates and funky smells. And if you're like college students all over the country, your room is also filled with the hottest décor. If you have an eye for design and a knack for creating greatness out of small spaces, a business capitalizing on dorm design could be for you. From selling groovy beanbag chairs to multifunctional shelves, businesses are clamoring for a share of the $2.6 billion that students and parents spent on dorm and apartment furnishings last year, according to a survey commissioned by the National Retail Federation.
Dorm design is hot. "Students know what they want, and they're savvy consumers," says Gina LaGuardia, editor in chief of The CollegeBound Network, a New York City magazine publisher that targets the pre-college market. "They don't just want an end table--they want [one] that has neon lighting in it that serves as a lamp and an end table," LaGuardia adds.
Because college students don't have a ton of disposable income, they have an eye for value. The founders of AllDorm Inc., a college furnishings retailer in Santa Clara, California, know this well--they were college students themselves when they started their business in 2000. Ryan Garman, 24; Ivan Dwyer, 25; Kevon Saber, 25; and Chad Arimura, 25; saw that students needed futons, tables, accessories and other items specifically designed for small spaces--combined with a service that would deliver the products when school started in the fall, even if they were purchased in May.