October 2020 - The Illini Store is Born
The Illini Store was born as a passion project in October of 2020 by Campus Ink's Steven Farag. As a company full of Illinois alumni, everyone at Campus Ink is deeply passionate about Illinois athletics and has a love of Illinois Basketball.
Since October 2020, it has seen unprecedented growth from when it was founded. Alongside our online store, we opened a pop-up store in Chicago for the 2021 NCAA Tournament. We set out to create a unique experience for Illinois fans and alum that had never been seen before. After word got out, we had lines around the block of people waiting to get in. It was incredible to see, but we felt something important was still missing.
July 1, 2021 - NIL is Signed
Adopted by Illinois on July 1, 2021, the Name, Image, and Likeness policy is revolutionary for the world of college athletics. It doesn't matter whether you're an unknown freshman or the team's star player - you now get the opportunity to make real money as a collegiate athlete. It clicked.
Our team at Campus Ink immediately saw the opportunity to reach out to student-athletes and develop relationships so that they could be a part of what we were doing! Illinois Basketball is undoubtedly a presence in the Athletics Department - their recent successes have everyone watching. We knew how disruptive NIL was going to become in the world of collegiate athletics and decided what better way to get people's attention than working directly with student-athletes?
October 13, 2021 - A Cause for Celebration
It's Andre Curbelo's birthday! We threw him a pop-up birthday party at The Lab - an on-campus retail space for students operated by Campus Ink. People loved it. We offered exclusive merch, meet and greets, and the opportunity for Belo to autograph their items. Again, we set out to create a unique experience similar to our Chicago pop-up but this time, we found what was missing.
Fast forward to November, we opened The Locker Room, an exclusive space for Illinois Basketball players to sell their jerseys and shirsey . Additionally, we do custom, exclusive designs from our talented student designers to build on the personal brand for the student-athlete. It is revolutionary - the student-athletes are making real money from every purchase of their merchandise.
February 23, 2021
So here we are, right? What's happening now? Well, we can't tell you everything, but what we can tell you is that we're coming back, Chicago! We're coming back, Champaign! This time, we're bringing the student-athletes "with us." We'll be popping up in Chicago and at The Lab - but when? You'll just have to stay tuned to find out.