Behind every self- started business is the story of the businessperson. Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn introduces a boyhood hero known for surpassing societal norms while living in a fun, carefree way. The character Huck Finn was the inspiration for the original brand, Finn Goods, which produces custom wooden phone cases and apparel.
Established in the beginning of April by students from The Master’s College, Finn associates have worked to spread the word of this rising franchise around campus.
TMC sophomore, Justin Tilton, is leading this company in finance, design, and direction. As a business major studying marketing and finance, Tilton’s aspirations for growing Finn Goods has proven to be the perfect platform in gaining first time experience.
“My dad always told me that it’s best to work for yourself, so I’ve always known that if I could, I would like to run my own business. So I figured the best thing to do would be to start young, when you don’t need as much money as you do when you’re older. If nothing else came of it, at least I’d get experience,” Tilton said.
Finn Goods is a California brand that offers individually engraved wooden phone cases and graphic T-shirts. Their goal is to target audiences of similar age, ranging from 16-25 year-olds, who share an appreciation for resembling interests.
“[Finn Goods] is very genuine. Like whatever we do is what we enjoy and we do it because we want to do it…People like stuff that other people are excited about,” Tilton said.
Most of the shirt designs use images of the ocean and palm trees, but the brand is not to be mistaken for a surfing company. This outdoor style still strives to reflect the hobbies its creators take part in, surfing being one of them.
“We’re going for a vibe where if you listen to the band The 1975 or The Neighborhood, that vibe you hear in your head,” Tilton said.
This idea originated with an attempt by Tilton to hand craft a pair of wooden sunglasses after losing his previous ones. Searching online he came across a website selling wooden phone cases, which sparked the idea to offer custom designs for a cheaper price.
“Our motto is to have fun while getting the job done. We would never design a phone case we wouldn’t use ourselves,” Tilton said.
The art of phone case production takes about 40 minutes involving set up, engraving the image requested, and holding two sessions for the final staining of the wood.
“Essentially we’d want them to know that whatever they buy, it’s actually something that we’ve invested in and something we think people would like,” Tilton said.
From there, the company flourished to more than just phone cases. By reaching out to three other designers, they launched an expansion of graphic T-shirt designs for males.
“In regards to the consumer market, you fill the need and then you make it. So essentially people don’t really know what they want until they are told,” Tilton said.
Assisting Tilton is Pearson Good, a freshman communications major monitoring company advertisements and sales.
“We just like being creative. It’s personality being explored; it started as a project first, like something to do, but then it turned into something to express our creativity,” Good said.
Described as a people person by Tilton, Good has lined up major names such as singer Cody Simpson and rapper Jez Dior to represent the brand.
“At first we were going to everyone to get people to buy our stuff, but now we have them actually coming to us, interested in the brand,” Good said.
Social media sites such as Instagram and Twitter have played a vital role in exposing Finn Goods as a credible company to its consumers. Surpassing 1,000 followers on both social mediums has allowed the company to grow a fan base and make connections with people.
The beginning productions proved slow because of limited designs, but Finn Goods is hopeful for their future visions of the company.
“We got plans,” said Tilton, “It’s about the rate we expected for now, but once girls stuff starts coming out, that’s when sales will start jumping a lot.”
There has been discussion about introducing at least two more male shirt designs, a woman’s line, and accessories.
“The sky is the limit for Finn,” said TMC sophomore Jason Karkenny, who is also a loyal customer.
By Kelsey Kukaua