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About DormSmart: Dorm Room Supplies Store for Smarter Campus Living

DormSmart.com, L.L.C. is an independent specialty retailer formed in 2009 by parents and students with one mission in mind, to create a marketplace where students and parents can shop independently and easily locate smart dorm room essentials and decor that will turn a student’s college living space into their home away from home; a stylish and functional dorm room or apartment that expresses their individuality, is conducive to living and learning, and compliant with school housing policies. We just want to make it a little easier to shop for campus living.

Inspiring students through our brands…

Many of the brands we carry for students are by entrepreneurs who live right here in USA from all walks of life who care about students and families; brands like Rhino Trunk and Case, Saltwater Canvas, Privacy Pop, Stanley Case Works, Kangaroo Cases, Honey Can Do, Absocold, Bentley Drinkware, and Sortasack… to name a few. These companies all started with one entrepreneurial individual or a small group of individuals who had a great idea and the courage to make it happen. DormSmart is a kindred spirit with these types of companies, who provide students living on campus with choices in quality products for their dorm rooms and apartments at college and boarding school, all while inspiring students to do more as they embark upon their journey, meaning don’t just dream it... rather believe it, reach for it, and achieve it!

What we do...

DormSmart.com, a pioneer in the dorm room supplies and decor marketplace, researches more than 2000 school campuses each year to provide college bound and boarding school students living on campus with thousands of selections of quality supplies and decor essential for living in a dorm room or small apartment. In addition, we provide helpful tools such as our Housing Connector, Dorm Room Checklist and Blog to help students plan a successful move to campus and encourage them to live dorm smart within their school housing guidelines. Lastly, we offer students Free Standard Ground Shipping of 2 to 5 business days via USPS Priority Mail, FedEx Ground, or UPS Ground, including campus direct shipping.

To get started living dormsmart, a student should check their school's housing policies, see what they have at home first, then shop our aisles. Remember, all dorm room supplies should be...

  • Durable, to stand up to the rigors of student life while complying with the housing standards of your university, college, or boarding school;
  • Safer for student living in campus housing, such as UL listed auto shutoff appliances that contain no hotplates, open flames, or glass carafes;
  • Budget friendly, dorm room essentials and decor that fit into your student budget;
  • Functional, practical products that can be multi-purposed in your campus dorm room or small apartment such as storage trunks;
  • Fashionable, dorm room decor that allows you to express your unique sense of style, while living comfortably;
  • Right sized for your dorm room or campus apartment, made to fit supplies such as a compact Microfridge or twin XL bedding; and
  • Made in the USA or supports jobs across America.

Why we do it...

Convenience, family, and friends! We provide students with access to a wide range of smart products for living on campus (i.e. dorm size, UL listed, manufactured to operate safely 110/120v plug, no hot plates or open coil...) so they can quickly locate what they need for their dorm room or campus apartment then spend quality time with their family and friends before moving to their college or boarding school.

How we do it...

The majority of our inventory ships direct from our US based manufacturers and distributors, like many department stores these days. This allows us to offer students a wider range of smart dorm room essentials and accessories for on campus living while reducing our carbon footprint and theirs. While ship times may vary for each product, depending upon the manufacturer’s shipping policy, we believe it is more important to do our part for the environment for this generation and future generations.

Our committment...

At DormSmart, we are committed to:

  • building a brand that students, parents, and schools can trust;
  • offering dorm smart products that enhance student living and their success in school while inspiring the American spirit of entrepreneurism;
  • providing the best shopping experience possible, continually striving for excellence; and
  • growing a business that is faith, family, friends, and education "friendly."

How to shop for college living dorm smart...

Student housing policies vary from campus to campus, sometimes from residence hall to residence hall… so it is unwise to take a retailer’s word for what is approved for your campus dorm room or apartment, not even ours. The smarter course of action when shopping for campus living is to check your college housing policy then select products that are “university approved” for your campus.

Remember, schools want to keep students safe on campus so their policies should always be checked and respected. So, shop where you are most comfortable and choose products that are housing compliant and appropriate for your particular dorm room or campus apartment. At the end of day, you will be amazed by the space that you can create using school approved essentials and decor. You may want to read How to Shop for College Campus Living on our blog.

Students BeAware When Shopping for College Supplies: If you come across a website or receive an advertisement that looks like your school or states that they are a business that is partnered, endorsed, or approved by your school, do not immediately assume it is true. Check them out before shopping for your college supplies. If you still do not feel comfortable with the retailer, ask your school officials about them. Regardless of where you choose to shop for college, and you can choose where to shop, you are solely responsible for ensuring the products you bring to campus are compliant with your school housing policies, so do your homework beforehand.

How it all started...

It's all about family!I am Christi Leslie, college parent, co-founder, and CEO of DormSmart and this is our story.

In 2009, as a parent of a college bound freshman, I was overwhelmed and frustrated when shopping for the right products for my student’s college dorm room. It was difficult enough to deal with the emotional aspect of sending my youngest child off to college, far away from home, but navigating the internet and sorting through the wealth of inaccurate information proved even more challenging.

As I continued to navigate the internet, I was dismayed to learn that college bound students were somewhat of an afterthought in mainstream shopping. The school of thought seemed to be… just take mom and dad’s old stuff to your dorm room or buy cheap stuff... either way it wasn’t smart. As parents, we put our love, time, and energy, all of our resources, into preparing our child for this moment. To throw them out of the nest without the proper tools or living essentials to transition to college and expect them to do well seems unrealistic and counterproductive to all those years of preparation. I personally wanted to create a living space for my student that helped her to feel at home at college because I knew from previous experience, once the new wore off, she would be homesick. Unfortunately, the more I researched and sought out places to purchase dorm room supplies, the more frustrated I became with the process. For example, the first store we shopped failed to disclose their bedding dimensions to shoppers. They used terms like "university approved or endorsed" to gain credibility. They implied that they were the only store that sold twin XL bedding. At the end of the day, their questionable marketing practice of using the school to promote their products didn't really matter, because their "custom made" fitted sheet was not deep enough to accommodate the combined depth of my daughter’s dorm room mattress and topper so I shopped on. Next, were the stores that were selling students inappropriate products such as drinking games and paraphernalia. I certainly was not sending my student off to play underage drinking games at college and had no interest in supporting a business that encourages it. Lastly, were stores that encouraged students to disregard their school’s housing policies. One store actually encouraged students to ignore their school's MicroFridge policy because they believed the school was only in it to make money when, in fact, that policy was in place to prevent circuit overloads in dorm rooms, a safety concern. This is just a brief overview of my online shopping experiences. I'll spare you the details of driving from store to store only to encounter dorm room contraband in back to college aisles or sales professionals who did not understand the meaning of twin XL. I will admit that I eventually found everything on my student’s shopping list but it took a lot of time and research.

As a result of my shopping experiences for my own students, I co-founded DormSmart.com in 2009. It is our passion and full time endeavor to help families successfully turn their student's first dorm room into a home away from home. I can honestly say, we ruffled some feathers along the way and continue to do so but it did effect change in the marketplace. Since that time, each school year I feel accomplished as I watch more retailers, schools, and publications making positive changes in the marketplace. What I hope to see more of in the future... is a wider selection of smart products that are conducive to living and learning on campus, retailers encouraging students to independently check and respect their school housing policies before shopping their aisles, and schools taking a more aggressive stance with those retailers who brand their business using school logos and colors verses allowing their products and store brand to stand on their own. These establishments give shoppers a false sense of security about their products being housing compliant because their store looks like the school's website. It is confusing and sends mixed messages. In my ideal world, retailers would invest their dollars into locating and offering students smart products for dorm room living verses launching flashy ad campaigns to promote inappropriate products already on their shelves such as toaster ovens, high wattage coffeemakers, or 12 piece knife sets, to name a few. At DormSmart, we may be a work in progress, but know this, we are an independent specialty retailer devoted to improving student living each and every day. We care about students.

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