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How She Got There: Amanda Zuckerman, Co-Founder & Designer at Dormify


Name: Amanda Zuckerman
Age: 23
Job Title and Description: Co-founder and designer at Dormify
College Name/Major: Washington University in St. Louis/Double major in Communication Design and Marketing
Website: www.dormify.com
Twitter Handle: @i_am_MANDZ and @dormify
Instagram: @amandazuckerman and @dormify

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

Amanda Zuckerman: I am the lead graphic designer for Dormify, so I’m responsible for executing all creative and ensuring that our brand’s point of view is consistent across all touch points. I handle our website design and graphics, product design, photoshoots and everything in between. I'm in a serious relationship with the Adobe Suite; we spend a lot of time together.

I am also the co-founder of Dormify. Four years ago when I entered my freshman year of college at Wash U, my dorm room shopping experience inspired my mom and me to start our own business. We felt there was a need for chic, well-designed décor, specifically Twin-XL bedding, for fashion-minded college students. We got together and launched Dormify.com, a lifestyle brand and one-stop shop for small space decor.

Typical day at Dormify? It starts with coffee and ends with a need for Netflix. Everything in between changes day-to-day, which is one thing I love most about life at Dormify.

What is the best part of your job?

AZ: The ability to wear many different hats and learn something new everyday is really unique. But most importantly, I love the people I work with—we’re a small but mighty team. We work really hard, but we have fun while doing it. Also, we have a bed in our office, so...

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

AZ: My case is unique. Since I helped the team launch Dormify while I was still in college, once graduated, I started working here full-time, so technically it is my first job. Although this job was not handed to me on a silver platter. I spent each summer in college in different internships in different industries to gain the experiences I needed to become a valuable addition to the Dormify team that was built while I was still in school. My first internship was at Vogue when I was 19, and although I felt like I was dreaming every time I walked through that door, by working for free somewhere so prestigious at a young age, I learned how to work hard, stay humble, maintain a level of professionalism and how to network.

What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?

AZ: I was worried that by working at Dormify I would be missing out on opportunities in other fields, like fashion, PR or maybe even social media. Before agonizing over whether I should have other experiences before joining the rest of the Dormify team after graduating from college, I wish I realized that our industry encompasses all of these things. Dormify is a fashion brand, a lifestyle brand, an e-commerce store and to some people we are an Instagram account!

Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?

AZ: My mom. She started her own advertising agency out of her house when she was in her twenties, and has grown her business into a big-time ad agency with a lot of hard work, determination and dedication. She has not only given me great strength and confidence, but has also fostered my entrepreneurial spirit and taught me what it means to be a young female entrepreneur. She’s pretty damn cool.

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?

AZ: As my mom says, entrepreneurship is when you take action on your ideas, and working hard gives you that energy and drive. I totally embrace that #girlboss attitude and I live by my “Do Epic Sh*t” wall decal in my apartment.

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

AZ: I tried to tackle too many things at once and did not trust others to help me out. I learned how to prioritize my time and how to manage others in order to work efficiently and productively. Sometimes a collaborative effort can yield pretty awesome results.

What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

AZ: Whenever I mention Dormify to a complete stranger and he or she already knows what it is! We’ve grown into a recognizable brand from just an idea we had when I was a freshman in college.

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

AZ: We look for people who are multi-dimensional with drive, a strong work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit.

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

AZ: Never turn down the chance to meet someone new. Your network is your greatest asset.

I always advise people to develop a personal brand and in your free time, hone in on your “professional extracurriculars.” This could be photography, interior design, DIY projects, social media, musical talents, an appreciation for food… you name it. Your side projects, hobbies and interests, even quirks, could prove to be huge assets in your workplace or could be considered very intriguing to a future employer. 

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