Michael Cruz ’19, Shane Curran ’19 and Andrew Drogan ’19 started College Cushion with a simple premise – produce quality bean bag chairs for college students by college students. The PCSB caught up with the three Providence College juniors to discuss their experience and the challenges they are facing as they develop a startup company.
Q What inspired you to create a company like College Cushion? Can you recall a specific moment or instance where you decided to take your idea and make it a reality?
[Michael] Specifically, I remember a moment freshman year when we were in the room looking for a place to sit. We had a bunch of people over and we had a traditional bean bag in the room, but we wanted something more supportive. Then we thought, why can’t we have something with a Providence College logo on it? That is really where the digging started.
Q What has been the most rewarding aspect of creating a startup company?
[Andrew] Probably the pride in our product. The three of us have worked so hard on this idea and seeing our bean bag chairs in the Ryan business center represents the effort we have already put into developing our company. We walk in and say wow, we created that, we came up with that.
Q How have you overcome the many challenges of creating and growing a startup company?
[Shane] For the most part the biggest struggle has been trying to manage school and build this company at the same time. We will have classes throughout the day and then we have to come back and try to solve problems with shipping and fulfilling orders. Also, trying to get over language barriers when communicating with either shipping companies or manufacturers has been rather difficult.
Q What are the long-term goals for the College Cushion brand?
[Michael] We would like to expand in New England and maybe acquire some licensing deals with schools in the New England area. The ultimate goal is to expand throughout different parts of the country where we see potential market growth.
Q What do you want potential consumers to know about your product? Why buy a chair from College Cushion?
[Andrew] What we want people to know is that we offer a very high-quality product. We use high grade suede fabric and unlike other bean bag chairs our cushions have a back rest. The bean bag chairs can serve multiple purposes and were thoughtfully designed from the prospect of college students.
Q Any funny stories that you would like to share?
[Shane] We went to go pick up our first order and needed an SUV to transport all of the material. When we went to turn on the car to leave the engine wouldn’t start. So, we jokingly sat there in my driveway with non-functioning car. We had to jump the car and thankfully it worked. It was the worst timing, but we were fortunately able to overcome the obstacle.
Q How can I purchase a Providence College bean bag chair from College Cushion?
[Michael] Go to our website www.collegecushion.com and you can purchase the chairs there. That’s the best way to go about it right now and we hope to utilize other selling outlets in the near future.