How Kofi Cockburn Changed the Trajectory of Campus Ink

How Kofi Cockburn Changed the Trajectory of Campus Ink

Dear Kofi,

Campus Ink would not be what it is today without you. And here’s why.

When we first ventured into the waters of NIL last year, we were just a t-shirt company printing for our local community and the greek system. We had signed a few Illini athletes, and Andre Curbelo was our first “big player” signing.

But we lacked direction. At that point our NIL venture was still a passion project. 

Being a local business and a die hard fan, having the opportunity to work with the basketball team is pure joy. 

We wanted to work with you, but knew it wouldn’t be easy. I tried everything to get in touch with you. Texted your teammates, slid in dm’s, even polled our fans to try and get your attention. Whether or not you saw it, thanks for playing hard to get. 

You changed everything for Campus Ink. 

I remember when you walked into our retail store for Belo’s Birthday Drop. We were throwing Andre a birthday party merch drop at our retail store and you walked through the door to support him. 

I knew this was my opportunity. I asked you for 10 minutes.

We struck up a conversation (check us out in the middle of this picture) about your potential in the merchandising world and how we could help win with you. For being a superstar on campus, I was so impressed by your humility, charisma and sense of humor. 

Even moreso, I was taken by your love for your family and your culture.

It was then that I knew I needed you to be part of our family at Campus Ink.

As it turned out, I got to you just in time. You were in the final stages of working with another company the day before. Timing has a funny way of working out.

You were the tipping point for Campus Ink.

It was then that we knew we were here to stay and we were going to figure out solutions to deliver to our athletes.

Once we signed you and Andre, it was like a domino effect. We signed almost the entire men’s basketball team and had full buy-in.

I remember you sold almost 400 shirts in your first day and fans couldn’t get enough of your merch. So we did it again and again and again. It was so much fun.

Your success gave us the confidence to dream big and expand our footprint. If it wasn’t for the proof of concept with you and Andre, we would have never reached out to Mark Cuban. I don’t know if Mark would have ever said yes to us without you. 

But he did. And just before the Illinois basketball season ended we had secured an investment form Mark Cuban.

The gratitude you showed our team was endless. You created jobs and work for us with your influence. Now we are rapidly expanding our staff so we can work with athletes and schools nationwide. There is a waiting list for players to get the same experience you had. Other institutions want what you helped us create at Illinois. 

And it’s all thanks to you. 

We are so grateful for all you did for us, Kofi. And we are so happy for what lies is ahead for you. While we won’t see you in the orange and blue anymore, you will be the first NIL athlete Campus Ink has worked with to go to the draft. We know there’s no amount of NIL money out there can take away the dream you’ve had of playing in the NBA and we’re proud of you for sticking to that. 

You are realizing your dream. It’s all we could have ever hoped for. 

Long live the King!

- Steven 

CEO, Campus Ink

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