Poster Invasion brings creativity to CSU, college campuses nationwide – The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The pop-up poster retailer will be on CSU’s Plaza all week.

Collegian | Lucy Morantz

Students look through posters at the Poster Invasion pop-up sale on the Colorado State University Plaza Aug. 29.

Campus and community organizations and student groups frequently table on Colorado State University’s Plaza, but this week brought a new type of table to town. Instead of giving out free merchandise or informational flyers, this tent-covered business is selling various-sized posters, tapestries and postcards alongside poster tubes and poster- and postcard-sized frames.

Poster Invasion is a social enterprise that sells art exclusively through pop-up sales on college campuses in more than 40 states around the nation. The enterprise was founded by CEO Mandi van Hill, and its website states Poster Invasion is “the first woman-owned business to successfully make it in the pop-up poster sale space.”

“Poster Invasion sells more than 800 designs with a goal ‘to capture the modern college zeitgeist’ using ‘a wide selection from smash-hit classic posters to fresh off the press artist prints.'”

Poster Invasion fulfills its social enterprise mission by operating a double bottom line — focusing on artist partnerships as much as typical business objectives — and partnering “with young artists all over the world, using (Poster Invasion’s) platform to bring their work to their generation in print form,” according to its website.

As students walk across the Colorado State University Plaza, a line of students waiting to buy posters from the Poster Invasion tent forms.
As students walk across the Colorado State University Plaza, other students wait in a line to buy posters from the Poster Invasion tent Aug. 29. (Collegian | Lucy Morantz)

Teams of two are recruited to travel around the country setting up and running the pop-up sales. Sales are mainly organized during the first few weeks of a college’s fall and spring semesters, according to Jennette Canteen, a two-year Poster Invasion employee and one of the two sales managers on CSU’s campus this week.

“(Van Hill) saw poster companies before and worked for one prior to creating her own, and they went to college campuses, and that was the biggest crowd that wanted posters,” Canteen said. “It works out really well for us.”

The popularity of the poster sales was made evident by the ever-present checkout line leading to Poster Invasion’s tent Monday. By midday, a good portion of the posters were out of stock. Canteen and Co-Sales Manager Justin Byrd brought extra merchandise, but it wasn’t enough.

“Honestly, we had no idea it would be as popular as it was,” Canteen said. “Selling out (Monday) was not in the plans at all, but we did come fully prepared for what we thought the crowd would be.”

Fear not, poster-lovers: Canteen and Byrd restock each morning. Poster Invasion sells more than 800 designs with a goal “to capture the modern college zeitgeist” using “a wide selection from smash-hit classic posters to fresh off the press artist prints,” according to its website.

Poster Invasion will be operating on CSU’s Plaza 9:30 am to 6 pm daily through Friday, Sept. 2.

Reach Rachel Baschnagel at [email protected] or on Twitter @rachel_basch.

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