Ryan Dickerson, a 20-year-old junior at Syracuse University, founded Rylaxing in 2009 to enhance his dorm room space.
Uncramping his style: Like most college students, Dickerson found himself wedged into a small dorm room that fit little more than a bed and a desk. The son of an interior designer, he set out to optimize that space. The idea? Turn the bed into a couch during nonsleeping hours. And the Rylaxer was born. The ergonomic, "bed transforming pillow" is made of foam, with lumbar support, and it comes in two sizes -- half back (3 feet long, $85 to $110) and full back (6 feet long, $160 to $185) -- and a variety of colors, plus a cheetah print.
Rylax, America: Rylaxing has an online store, but for now the company is Syracuse-centric: The pillows are made in town and sold primarily on campus. A year from now, though, Dickerson hopes to be selling them at colleges nationwide, through an army of brand ambassadors. "It's beneficial for us," he says, because the name gets out there. But it's also great for them, because it will help people who need a part-time job."