Rooted Designs, LLC is a business geared to help organizations raise money in the communities that I, Joe Zinno, am a part of. My business does this by providing quality products in conjunction with local schools and organizations so you, the consumer, can show your support and pride for your organization while financially supporting them with each and every purchase. This business has also provided me with the outlet to pursue my entrepreneurial desires and passions and combine them with laser cutting and creativity through my Mechanical Engineering education.
My name is Joe Zinno and I am the Founder of Rooted Designs, LLC. Below, you will find some history of the venture and how it came to be, but here is some information about me. I am a current Villanova University student majoring in Mechanical Engineering with Minors in Engineering Entrepreneurship and Math. I am from Steubenville, Ohio and went to Catholic Central High School and was part of the Class of 2018. I have a passion for design and creativity which has led me to starting the venture, and I cannot be more excited to be where I am today with this business.
The idea behind this business started over 10 years ago with the infamous founding of The Stand. The Stand was a business to sell parking and homemade logos and creations with Perler Beads for Catholic Central and Big Red Football games. This was the first opportunity for me to pursue an entrepreneurial passion and have fun along the way. A big component of the stand, which I had for around 6 or so years, was that every year we picked a charity to donate 25% of our proceeds to. One year we purchased turkey baskets, one year we decided on donating to the Red Cross, and so on. The Stand wouldn't have been possible without my neighbors, and business partners, John and Stephen Bolster who were always around and supportive of my business ideas (although some were a little crazy). The Stand was in operation from around the time I was 8 years old until High School started for me. I cannot forget to thank my dad and grandfather, Pap, who helped me build The Stand itself, without which the whole thing would not have been possible. And, how could I forget my mom who was always ready to hot glue and iron beads for me at my beck and call (since my 8 year old self was not ready for that).
Franciscan Summer Research
The next step in this journey was my summer internship after my freshman year of college when I worked with the Engineering Department at Franciscan University, specifically with Dr. Justin Greenly. This summer research experience was was my first opportunity to use laser cutting and engraving technology. Dr. Greenly kindly gave me the opportunity to use Franciscan's laser cutter for personal projects so long that I was not using Franciscan's materials and that the time was outside of work hours. With my natural urge to create, design, and prototype, this was the opportunity of a lifetime! I was off to the races producing my first iterations of a lot of Villanova items such as magnets and keychains.
I did not think much of this beyond making some tchotchkes for friends and family, but I soon received the feedback that many people thought that people would buy these products and pay money for them. Once I started hearing this, I started to wonder how I could recreate what I did with The Stand at Villanova but instead of using Perler Beads, using a laser cutter. Through many conversations with the Office of the President, Engineering Professors, administration within Athletics, the ICE Institute, and my peers, I decided the best course of action would be to start a business instead of attempting to do what I wanted to do through a student organization or club.
Founding of Rooted Designs, LLC
At this point, I was well into the spring semester of sophomore year and this is when Rooted Designs was founded. Rooted Designs was founded as an official business in the State of Ohio in May 2020. This is also the same time in which I applied to grants through the ICE Institute on campus at Villanova to fund my business. The 2 grants I received through the Innovation Fund were crucial for me to be able to purchase my own laser cutter to begin the journey of my business. With help and assistance from the Athletics Department at Villanova, this is also when I started the process of becoming an official licensee of Villanova through the Collegiate Licensing Company so I could utilize all official marks and logos of Villanova University. This process lasted from summer 2020 into the fall, when I became an official licensee of the University. Since then, I have been developing my initial product line, my logo, the website, company infrastructure, and sourcing so I can offer the highest quality products at a reasonable price.
Where I Am Now
At this point in 2021, I am happy to finally get to the point where I can launch my website to begin selling the products that I have been developing for the past few months. I am very excited to bring to market the venture that I have been developing. I am more than open to any feedback, so if you have any please fill out the form under the CONTACT US tab on the Main Menu.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about Rooted Designs, LLC.