Even before he had graduated, Joseph Coleman ’15 earned an entrepreneurship award for his clothing brand, Finna Wear.

Joseph Coleman Navigating Toward Success

Even before graduation, sports management major Joseph Coleman '15 earned an entrepreneurship award for his clothing brand, Finna Wear.

Joseph Coleman ’15: Navigating Toward Success

Joseph Coleman ’15 of Easthampton, Massachusetts, didn’t wait until he had earned his sports management degree to start a career: He formed his own clothing brand, Finna Wear, last September and has even received an entrepreneurship award for his efforts.

“The word ‘finna’ means ‘going to,’ and a lot of kids are saying it, mostly down South,” explained Joseph, known as Jojo to his friends. His merchandise, which includes t-shirts, wristbands and buttons, is emblazoned with the company’s slogan, “Navigate to the Future,” and its logo, a compass.

In April, Jojo competed against students and alumni from 14 local colleges to win the Entrepreneurship Award at the 12th annual Grinspoon Entrepreneurship Initiative. The award came with a cash prize of $700, which he promptly invested in more merchandise and maintenance of the company’s website, www.finnawearcompany.com.

The knowledge and skills Jojo has learned at Elms “definitely helped” give him the confidence to launch his company, he said. He cited his advisor, David Kimball, in particular, for suggesting that Jojo enter the Grinspoon contest.

The target demographic for Jojo’s customers is primarily skateboarders and extreme sports enthusiasts.

An athlete, Jojo came to Elms primarily because of the soccer program. “I didn’t plan to go to college, but my grandma pushed for me to do it,” he said. Jojo is a striker and midfielder, and while the men’s soccer team lost in the championship game this year, the team won the previous two titles.

“My first season, we had nine players when we should have had 11, because everyone was injured. So we lost in the semifinals,” Jojo said. “And the next year, we actually won the championship for Elms, and it’s the best they’ve done in a long, long time, so it was great to see that and be a part of it.”

As one of eight homeschooled siblings, Jojo appreciated Elms’ small size and the quality of the sports management program.

“I think me being homeschooled … it was easy for me to adapt, because of how helpful everybody is,” Jojo said of Elms. “The classes are small here, so your teacher will know you for your whole four years.”

In the future, Jojo plans to move “someplace warm” and get a job in the sports marketing or event management fields. He hopes the fact that he’s already established his own business will give him an edge on the competition.