Final exams were a little more harried than usual for Neil Jones (BBA FIN '17) last year. That’s because they coincided with Jones’ big push to ship out his new product in time for Christmas. Now a junior at the University Notre Dame, he wasn’t going to let the fact that he was in school stop him from launching his first business venture. Engraved Traditions is the name of his store on Squareup, where he currently sells stylish wooden cell phone cases with the Notre Dame fight song engraved on the back.
Jones came up with the idea while searching for a Notre Dame-themed phone case for himself. The available options disappointed him, so he found a manufacturer to make him a custom case. When so many people wanted to know where he got it, he felt he had stumbled into a viable business opportunity.
Jones is a go-getter, and faster than you can say, “Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame,” he had worked out a deal with his manufacturer and had his online shop up and running. This would be a pretty nice story if it ended right here. But Jones has a social mission tied to this business venture. The ink is still fresh on a licensing agreement with the University that will allow him to develop a whole line of products. Ultimately, his purpose is to get his business to scale so that he can hire individuals with special needs to handle packaging and shipping.
The Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship, and in particular, Entrepreneur-in-Residence Mike Vogel, has given Jones good business advice along the way. But it’s Jones' younger brother Dan who’s provided the passion for his ambition. Dan was born with Down Syndrome.
Jones is donating part of the proceeds from the sale of each Engraved Traditions cellphone case to the Logan Center in South Bend to provide scholarships for summer camp for children with special needs. And that’s something to phone home about.
Interested in purchasing one of Neil's phone cases? Order them online here-