Faculty connection puts T-shirt entrepreneur on path to success
When Fox School of Business student Vincent Sannuti stayed after class one day to meet with his entertainment law professor, he had no idea it would turn into a lucrative business opportunity for his company, Aphillyated Apparel.
Sannuti, a graduating legal studies major and entertainment law minor from Northeast Philadelphia, launched Aphillyated Apparel in May 2010 with his brother Nicholas. The two saw the T-shirt and merchandise venture as a natural way to combine their love for Philadelphia, urban apparel and hip-hop. They started designing Philadelphia-themed T-shirts and sponsoring local hip-hop artists, mix tapes and concerts.
In Spring 2011, Christopher Cabott, an adjunct legal studies instructor at Fox, took interest in Sannuti and gave him an opportunity to work with one of his top clients, Philadelphia Phillies shortstop and music mogul Jimmy Rollins.
As a result of that introduction, Sannuti’s startup now manages Rollins’s official merchandise on JimmyRollins.com. Sannuti oversees all aspects of Rollins’ merchandising, including graphic design, social media marketing, e-commerce management and shipping and handling.
“It was a pleasure to facilitate this relationship, which was a win-win and profitable endeavor for all parties,” Cabott said. “Vincent has a very bright future. I’m extremely proud of him.”
Aphillyated Apparel also manages merchandising for many performing artists and the college music site GoodMusicAllDay.com. One of Aphillyated’s signature shirts can be seen in Meek Mill’s “Moment 4 Life” music video, which has more than 4.5 million YouTube views.
“I definitely have to attribute a lot of my company’s success to Temple University,” Sannuti said. “Our strongest asset, which really sets us ahead of a lot of other small businesses, is our networking skills.”
Thanks to those skills, Aphillyated Apparel has made a name for itself in Philadelphia, and Sannuti has made important connections for his planned career in the entertainment industry.
“I did not originally think I was going to do this,” Sannuti said. “I’ve always been interested in entertainment, and this is kind of something that allowed me to get into that field.”
After graduating, Sannuti is considering taking time off to focus on the business before pursuing law school. Either way, he has a busy year ahead.
“I’m barely going out at all,” he said. “Actually a lot of Friday nights I have to stay in and shoot home to where our home office is to do a lot of packing and shipping.”
Fortunately for Sannuti, the time he puts into Aphillyated Apparel is helping him network with the media industry leaders he hopes to work with as an entertainment lawyer. He said many people don’t realize Rollins owns a music company, Jimmy Rollins Entertainment Group, which owns the rights to songs such as Justin Beiber’s “Eenie Meenie” and Lupe Fiasco’s “The Show Goes On.”
“I’m building my network in the entertainment industry with this company, which will greatly benefit me in the future,” he said. “I am blessed to have been given the opportunities that I’ve had, and I force myself to take full advantage of them.”
— Christine Fisher