Entrepreneurship Thrives at UJ
The University of Jamestown football team is off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2007 and school spirit is running rampant throughout campus. Tailgates set the tone before the game, an enthusiastic student section on the field cheers players on, and the team sings the school’s fight song after a hard-fought win. Of course, no great athletic program is complete without something for the fans to wear. UJ seniors Adam Lopata and Maxwell Enriquez were in the campus bookstore looking for something to represent the Jimmies and took matters into their own hands after being let down by the selection of Jimmie gear.
Lopata told me that the inspiration stemmed from the overwhelming number of bland options. He said “There’s not that many cool shirts around that are reasonably priced”, when looking for something to wear to support Jimmie sports teams. Lopata also cited the duo’s ability to come up with, and execute, creative designs as part of the reason they decided to take action. Elaborating on the origins of the business, Enriquez and Lopata said the name “Jimmie Mafia” is influenced by the Buffalo Bills fan base who goes by “Bills Mafia”. They aim to keep the trend of pop-culture references going with their future designs. “We’re trying to piggy-back off pop culture to build hype so that people will recognize the designs”, said Lopata when asked about future design plans.
The business partners said it has been smooth sailing to this point. Lopata told me that the main sources of marketing for the company have been creating a following on Instagram as well as word of mouth. They noted that being on a small campus helps news spread like wildfire. Additionally, there are plans to create more interest around the company by adding Jimmie Mafia sponsored athletes. Currently, football player Steven Justice and wrestler Ian Howell represent the Mafia.
Thanks to the quick growth of the company, demand has been high. In addition to selling at sporting events the Jimmie businessmen have been taking pre-orders. Plans for the future are not set in stone, but Lopata and Enriquez intend to keep the shirts coming and the money coming in. Catch Jimmie Mafia at the next UJ home football game selling shirts at the tailgate for between ten and fifteen dollars.