DormlyBox co-founders Jaelen Hymes of Woodbridge, (l), and Jared Shiffman of Wayne, (r), pack DormlyBoxes. (Photo Credit: Kean University)
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Union NJ, Kean University juniors Jared Shiffman and Jaelen Hymes came up with the idea in November: What if there were a cheaper, quicker way for students to get toiletries delivered to their residence hall rooms?
Shiffman, a business and supply chain management major, and Hymes, an architecture major, started developing the idea — which they named DormlyBox — and launched it as a business in January.
Since then, they have built a customer base for paper towels, toilet paper, disinfecting wipes, hand soap and disposable face masks at Kean, Rutgers, Stockton and other universities.
“The idea came from my experience dorming here at Kean. I realized this could help thousands of students and people who want toiletries delivered,” said Shiffman who built the company website, DormlyBox.com.
Hymes created a DormlyBox blog and contacted influencers and students at other schools. The business partners said they have about 1,000 customers now and plan to expand.
“Our goal is to reach $1 million in sales by the end of the year,” Hymes said.
Kean College of Business and Public Management Associate Dean Tobin Porterfield, Ph.D., an expert in supply chain and logistics, said he was excited to learn about the student-created business and impressed by the unique business model.
“The pandemic has opened everyone’s eyes to the importance of supply chains from toilet paper to computer chips; we have all felt the pain of supply disruptions over the last two years,” he said. “They have clearly built a system that is scalable to add products and clients. I am really excited to see our students flexing their entrepreneurial muscles in the supply chain space.”
Shiffman, from Wayne, and Hymes, from Woodbridge, met in September in Kean’s New Upper Residence Hall, where they live on different floors. They said on-campus residents stock their own suites with toilet paper, paper towels, hand soap and cleaning wipes. Students also want their own face masks to supplement the masks available through the University.
“I never had a car on campus, and it was a challenge to get to the store. I joked with my dad about how I should pay him to bring me things like toilet paper, and the idea just clicked,” Shiffman said.
Shiffman’s father owns a medical supply company and supported the business. While the DormlyBox team sources its own products through wholesalers, they operate from the medical supply company’s warehouses and hire workers there to pack and ship orders.
DormlyBox products are sold in packages from the “Basic Box” to the “Suite-mate/Family Box.” Regular subscription service is available.
With every 50 boxes sold, a package of toilet paper is donated to a homeless shelter or another service project.
The entrepreneurs said other Kean students helped by sharing input on products and prices. Junior interior design major Hailee Garzon-Divergigelis created the company graphics.
“I think DormlyBox is an amazing product and company,” she said. “Jared thought of something that was a need and an issue for students who dorm. Everything is online nowadays and being able to rely on a subscription to bring everything you need is perfect.”
Kean junior Naajia Rosendary, a psychology major from Union who lives off-campus, said DormlyBox offers a solution to both her and her parents.
“I have bought DormlyBox not only for me but for my home since my parents are essential workers and have no time to go to the store,” she said. “I don’t worry about the small things anymore because Jared and his team have it covered.”
Founded in 1855, Kean University is one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, with a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving more than 16,000 students. The University’s six undergraduate colleges offer more than 50 undergraduate degrees over a full range of academic subjects. The Nathan Weiss Graduate College offers seven doctoral degree programs and more than 70 options for graduate study leading to master’s degrees, professional diplomas or certifications. With campuses in Union, Toms River, Jefferson and Manahawkin, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University furthers its mission by providing an affordable and accessible world-class education. Visit www.kean.edu