Dorm Direct is a student-run, entrepreneurial project designed to supply University students with the essentials of a well-supplied dorm room. It is the culminating project of the Intensive Entrepreneurship minor in the College of Commerce and Finance.
Each team was given $2,500 to start a business venture, which they then proposed to bankers and investors. The team of Clayton Orrigo, CEO, John Leighton, CFO, Melissa Yannone, Brian Dolan, Tracy Otterbeck and Dan Ryan used their allowance to create Dorm Direct.
The project originally began as a way to supply students with printing cartridges to ease the strain on the Bartley printing lab, and it grew from there. The idea for Dorm Direct was taken from Office Basics, a company owned by Leighton’s father, which equips schools in five states with supplies. The team took that concept and downsized it to apply to students.
“We do what Office Basics does – for students,” Orrigo said.
Office Basics has taken care of the supplying and warehousing for the project and the team has taken on the advertising. They have alerted students to Dorm Direct through e-mail, instant messages and banners hanging in Donahue Hall, Bartley Hall and the Connelly Center.
Once students place their orders with Dorm Direct, which can be paid for using Wildcard, credit or debit cards, their items will be delivered the next day to their mailbox, or for larger items, such as cases of bottled water, directly to their room. Delivery is free of charge. All proceeds benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.
The products offered are things every student needs that are not always accessible through the school, such as swivel chairs, cases of water and chewing gum. “Water is the main product ordered by students,” Orrigo said.
“We’ve run into a lot of walls with the school being anti-entrepreneurial,” Orrigo said, referring to the University’s preference that the team sell Aquafina over Deer Park water, since they endorse Pepsi products.
Also, the team was reprimanded for selling miniature heaters, which are not allowed in the dormitories. However, the team is looking to work more closely with the school.
Right now, this service is only available to University students. In the future, the business may be sold to Office Basics, but the team is hoping to create a partnership with the bookstore in which the bookstore would put their items online and then deliver the orders to students’ mailboxes.