Posters are making a come-back. Again. And they are big business and growing. Again.
Long produced and coveted for their reproductions of famous art -- they also promoted the plays of Shakespeare and informed citizens of government proclamations for centuries -- the modern poster as we know it dates to the mid-1800’s when the printing industry perfected color lithography and made mass production possible.
Eye-catching and informative, posters have been a frequent tool of advertisers, event promoters, musicians, film companies, government organizations along with propagandists, protestors and other groups trying to share a message. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors. And what college student hasn’t scrounged for cool posters to adorn their dorm room or sorority wall, creating a sense of status, sophistication and stimulating envy from friends?
Admit it… you’ve been there as well. We all have.
Thanks to poster aficionado and entrepreneur Mandi van Aswegen, posters are making a comeback once again.
Ms. Van Aswegen’s creative enterprise the Poster Sale, based in Greenville, South Carolina is a social enterprise that arranges and sets up pop-up poster sale events on college campuses across the country. With a team that travels coast to coast from California to the Carolinas and everywhere in between the Poster Sale has established contracts with scores of universities across America, and their efforts will directly reach more than 500,000 eager, open-minded students beginning this Fall.
“Posters are a passion for us, and we bring them directly to our campus partners with a turnkey annual event,” said Ms. Van Aswegen. “We’ve managed poster sales on college campuses nationwide for years, fine-tuning the process and enhancing today’s experience for the students who attend. And we work tirelessly to create an event environment that connects to the generation we are serving, that is inclusive for all people, and creates the opportunity to empower our artist partners.”
Ms. van Aswegen sees posters as a form of contemporary cultural expression, and her goal is to capture the “modern college Zeitgeist” while empowering sales teams and providing an excellent source of fundraising for campus partners.
“We are proud to be a social enterprise, valuing the impact we have in the artistic community equally with our financial profitability,” she stated. “Our ‘double bottom line’ allows us create and fund our artist partnership program, which gives young artists the opportunity to share their art in a print form nationwide with their generation.”
Indeed, while arranging and organizing poster sales is a core part of her company, equally important is the opportunity to create a place where emerging young artists can develop and flourish. The Poster Sale has already identified more than a dozen talented young artists whose work will be published and showcased nationally in 2019.
Even as young artists gain fame, open new markets for their work and enjoy national distribution, colleges benefit as well. The Poster Sale gives students an authentic form of cultural expression and creates a fun on campus experience, while helping the schools or campus organizations which sponsor the events to raise needed funds.
The Poster Sale team’s innovative approach has redefined the event -- hiring engaged and talented event managers, embracing data-informed poster curation and a streamlined checkout system, and bringing top of the line product quality wrapped in a needed fundraising opportunity right to the heart of dozens of college campuses. And most Poster Sale events support its college partners through a sponsorship and revenue share.
Ms. Van Aswegen’s interest in social entrepreneurship and creating businesses during her college years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned her B.S. in Business Administration, ultimately translated into the launch of the Poster Sale. After graduation, she led several social enterprises including serving as COO of BANGS Shoes and as vice president of entrepreneurship education non-profit Honor Loan, before launching the organization. Based at 1111 West Bramlett in Greenville, SC the Poster Sale intends to make a “significant, undisclosed investment” and to hire at least four new full-time associates and over 20 additional members of traveling sales teams in the coming months.
“There is a great opportunity for the Poster Sale to grow and thrive,” said Ms. Van Aswegen recently. “I am very dedicated to using my entrepreneurial mindset to revitalize this space with art, creativity and a heavy dose of persistence. The Poster Sale is a creative and stimulating enterprise that positively impacts individuals and communities.”
Who knew a poster could be such a catalyst in such a complex and demanding world?
Mandi van Aswegen did, of course.