by Ryan Cox ’18
Providence College students may have noticed a new addition to the Arthur F. and Patricia Ryan Center for Business Studies recently. Four black, Friars-themed beanbag chairs are placed throughout the main atrium of the building, offering students a way to be comfortable while studying. The PC bookstore is not responsible for their creation, but rather College Cushion, a new brand started by three juniors.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Shane Curran ’19, Michael Cruz ’19, and Andrew Drogan ’19 to talk more about their brand.
RC: What motivated you to start College Cushion?
SC: It actually started as a joke freshman year. Cruz was complaining about how uncomfortable the chairs were in McDermott, and we were joking about how much better we could do. We started with an expensive design, but we ended up designing a beanbag chair with the Providence College logo on it.
RC: What has been the process since deciding to get started?
SC: We’ve been at this for about a year and a half now.
MC: We started doing more research that summer and saw that there was no college furniture with the school logo on it. We started looking into manufacturing, pricing, and licensing.
AD: It was a pain, but it could have been worse to deal with.
RC: What challenges have you faced in launching College Cushion while balancing your schoolwork?
AD: We haven’t had a day off. We really have to prioritize, and we’re still learning. Even now, every week we learn something new that can make our work easier.
MC: We have to allocate lots of free time for logistics, cost, and efficiency. We spend most of our Saturdays in a basement filling beanbags or talking to UPS trying to get shipping costs down.
SC: There was a time where the entire website went down in the middle of class and I’m sitting there recoding all the website buttons at a time where I shouldn’t have had my laptop out. My professor was staring me down for the entire class.
RC: What has been your most memorable experience so far in this process?
MC: Driving to New York to pick up the product on a Wednesday night. We got to New York at midnight. Before we left, the car wouldn’t start. So, we got there at midnight, left my house at 3 a.m. to pick up our inventory in New Jersey at 6 [a.m.], and we made it back for class the next morning.
SC: We were two lonely SUVs in a port full of 18-wheelers, so that was funny. All these truckers who knew what they were doing, and then there were three college kids trying to figure out where to pick up their shipment.
AD: I wasn’t going to go at first. I emailed my teacher at the last second. I didn’t want to have the reputation as someone that missed class right at the beginning of the semester.
SC: We did it for the experience of doing it all ourselves and managing everything. We didn’t want some big corporation to do it for us, and it saved us a lot of money. Next time we’ll take an easier route. We barely fit everything in two SUVs.
RC: How do you each contribute to the work?
AD: Honestly, we do it all together. We’re all friends, and business hasn’t separated us yet.
SC: Nobody really has one task, but Drogan deals mostly with customers, Cruz mostly does finance, and I deal with most of the legal aspects to make sure our license doesn’t get revoked.
MC: I haven’t had a Saturday where I’ve been able to completely relax because I still have homework to do after I put in all the work on the product.
RC: What is it like seeing the product finished and used by students?
AD: It’s good, but we’re not satisfied. We’re not done, it’s not the end. But, I was shocked to finally see it. We thought for sure there would be some obstacle we couldn’t overcome, but we haven’t had that yet.
RC: What plans do you have for College Cushion after graduation?
SC: We all agree that we want to expand slowly. We’re seeing how it goes here; this is the best-case scenario with the students and alumni that like the product. From there, we’ll expand to other local schools if it goes well. From there, we’d like to bring it to the big Southern schools.
RC: Anything else we should know about College Cushion?
SC: Buy one! We funded it all ourselves.
For more on College Cushion visit their website at collegecushion.com or any of their social media outlets. The PC College Cushion is available now.