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This Student-Led Startup Is Helping Post-Secondary Students Get Ready for School – Spark Centre

My Dorm Store is a curated dorm shopping solution that collaborates with post-secondary schools to design customized, affordable packages to outfit dorm rooms that students can order and have delivered before their school year starts. These packages are unique to each on-campus residence, reflecting the specific requirements and nuances. From bedding, towels and accessories to laundry, bathroom, tech and decorative essentials, My Dorm Store offers students everything they need for their specific dorm from one place.

Three university students created My Dorm Store. After all, who better understands the stress and challenges with moving into a dorm or apartment better than students?

“Being a student myself, I understand firsthand everything involved with moving into a dorm.” says co-founder Arlyne James. “You must first figure out what you need, then buy it on a budget. The process can not only be time-consuming and expensive, but it’s the last thing students want to worry about at such an important time in their life. Students should focus on discovering a sense of community, not the size sheets they need for their dorm. My Dorm Store does all the work, so students don’t have to.”

My Dorm Store launched in September of 2022, working with several colleges at the University of Toronto. By partnering with post-secondary schools, My Dorm Store can work closely with the residence teams to design personalized packages that cater to each school’s specific requirements. This saves students, and their parents, time in that they don’t have to know what is needed or not needed for these dorms as well as what is permitted or not permitted. All items are then delivered to students on their move-in day.  If students are still unsure of what they need, they can schedule a free online design session with one of My Dorm Store’s online experts. In addition to its online services, My Dorm Store offers select pop-up shops for those essential-but-missed items.

“My Dorm Store is the service we wish we had as students… a way to take the worry out of moving.”

Like students entering college or university for the first time, launching a startup can be a daunting experience without the right support or resources. The founders of My Dorm Store reached out to Spark Centre, a Regional Innovation Centre in Oshawa, Ontario, to tap into its team of experts for guidance and its strong community of startups to make connections that could lead them down the right path.

“As a startup, there are lots of unknowns.” Arlyne explains, “You are always doing things you’ve never done before. I reached out to Spark Centre for the support and sense of community with other startups we needed.”

Today, My Dorm Store is excited to add more post-secondary schools to its roster and offers direct shipping to students who pre-order.

“My Dorm Store wants to turn every student’s dorm into their home away from home. We’re looking forward to increasing the number of schools we partner with, growing our product offerings, and adding more pop-up shop dates.”

Spark Centre
Helping innovative companies start, grow and succeed. Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre is one of eighteen not-for-profit Regional Innovation Centres (RICs) that form part of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). The centre works to improve competitiveness and visibility of Durham Region and Northumberland County as a world-class innovation cluster. Spark Centre works with clients to develop individualized plans for success. We connect start-ups to business and research networks, learning tools, business coaching, mentorship, and access to funding and investment.

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