AEO Inc., parent of American Eagle Outfitters, has made another outside investment.
The Pittsburgh-based retailer, which purchased Todd Snyder and his Tailgate business for $11 million two years ago, is the lead investor in a $3.45 million Series A investment in Dormify, a six-year-old dorm furnishings brand.
The investment comes after a three-year partnership between American Eagle and the home furnishings site that is targeted to college students and college graduates.
Chad Kessler, American Eagle global brand president, said the company has offered Dormify product on its web site in a section called AEO Apt where it sells bedding and other home furnishings items.
“As a $3.3 billion brand, we want to be a real headquarters for the 15- to 25-year-old,” Kessler said. “We’re always looking for category expansion to excite the customer and extend the basket. We want to make ae.com more of a destination and make the shopping experience more complete.”
He said Dormify is “very aligned with AE and Aerie” by allowing this young customer to express their individuality. “It’s not a bed in a bag,” he said. “We want to grow the home business and so we made an investment to help them expand.” This year, the retailer also collaborated with Dormify on an assortment of special product especially targeted to its customers.
Dormify said it will use the money to add talent, expand its pop-up locations and improve its online site.
“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 added. “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.”
He said Dormify products will continue to be housed on the company’s web site rather than in its brick-and-mortar stores. “We did a Dormify pop-up in our AE Studio in Union Square for back-to-school,” he said, where it prompted customers to order from the web site rather than purchase in-store. “People aren’t excited to carry comforters around with them,” Kessler said with a laugh.
Dormify was founded by Amanda Zuckerman and her mother Karen in 2012 to simplify the shopping experience for students and others living in small spaces.
Amanda Zuckerman, 27, who also serves as creative director, said, “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.”
She added that Dormify’s “small team of 15 women is nimble and incredibly resourceful. Based on our growth since our initial raise, we know we can make this next investment go a really long way. We are, and always will be, scrappy, quick learners and committed to results. This investment will allow us to do more and do it better.”