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KANSAS CITY – While in high school, Lucy Besch designed shoes for her friends or drew portraits of her classmates for fun.
The 2014 graduate of Manson Northwest Webster has now translated those creative skills into running her own business, Lucy Besch Designs, based in Kansas City. Their services include: custom illustrations, custom paintings, logos and social media graphics.
“In high school, I had my own shoe design business.” Complaint recalled. “I painted people’s sneakers. I loved that. People brought me these $ 5 white Walmart sneakers and I scribbled what they wanted there. I made One Direction (pop band) shoes for a girl who was obsessed with them. “
Even in elementary school, Besch had the spark to create something original.
“To be creative has always been a matter of course for me.” She said. “I came from a small school. I graduated with 60 kids and I remember drawing only my classmates in elementary school. I think I have a book with almost everyone in it. “
By the time Besch graduated from high school, she knew she wanted to study something in design. Besch attended Iowa State University in Ames.
“During the entire first year at ISU, we figured out which program to get involved in.” She said. “There are many different design programs.”
First she entered a program called Biological and Pre-Medical Illustration.
“I did that for half a semester and it was too much chemistry and biology.” Besch said. “I dropped that and decided that graphic design is the way to go. I like it because I can use my illustraiton skills but can plug it into the layout page – with my creative illustration skills to make it more fun. “
Your training at ISU was valuable.
“I loved going to school there” Besch said. “I’ve learned so much.”
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree, Besch and her boyfriend decided to move to Kansas City.
“We moved here in summer 2019” She said. “My boyfriend and I both graduated in spring 2019 and moved here in July. My friend is also a designer. I love Texas – Austin, Texas and my boyfriend really loves Chicago. But neither of us wanted to go to any of these places.
“I wanted to go a little further south, but he can’t handle the heat, so we met in the middle. We have a lot of friends who moved to Kansas City. We have some other mutual friends who moved here. Kansas City was really fun. “
Besch worked for an advertising agency in downtown Kansas City for a while.
The COVID-19 pandemic actually played a role in their decision to start their own business.
“When I got my full-time job, we all started working from home, but that made me realize that I wasn’t happy going to the office every day.” Besch said. “I like to work from home.”
The company was founded in May 2020.
Besch can do all of her work from her computer, phone, or iPad.
She said the only downside sometimes is that her pug Jorja needs a little more attention while she is trying to work.
“She is with me all the time” Besch said.
Dogs are a huge part of their graphic design business, which includes animal portraits.
“Last summer, my biggest project was undoubtedly contacted by a girl at T-Mobile, and I actually illustrated around 1,000 of her employees’ pets.” Besch said. “So we set up an email account for the entire month of June and July. They sent me photos of their pets, and I did that for two months.”
She later attended an event at a Kansas City dog park that is also a bar.
“You (T-Mobile) held an event there because you could create social distance.” Besch said. “My dog has met other dogs that I imagined.”
Besch often receives requests to illustrate pets that have died.
“They (customers) will come up to me and say we want our whole family to be illustrated, but our dog died.” She said. “Someone wants their childhood pet to be illustrated with their current pet, or for family members to be illustrated together.
“Last week I had three dogs in a row that they didn’t have a lot of good pictures on. They will send me photos of their dog and I will take a really good forward facing picture. People can get their job very quickly. You request it and in a few days it will be in your inbox. It was really great. “
It’s worth illustrating something that your customers will appreciate.
“It’s really sad, but I illustrate a lot of pets that have died” Besch said. “People follow them and send a picture of them with their family and it makes me cry. Have these memories now that your pet is gone. They’re always so excited to get their pet’s portrait. “
Besch plans to publish her own children’s book on dog breeds later in the year.
On weekends she works for a dog sitter company.
Her pet portraits have been sold across the United States
“I think I’ve done one in almost every state.” She said. “With social media, random people find me and they have an idea and I can make it a reality. I have illustrated pigs, many cats and birds. “
Besch has also run fundraising campaigns for animal shelters.
“There’s a really bad problem with stray animals” She said. “Part of the proceeds from my pet portraits go to animal shelters. Just this past month, I ran a fundraiser and raised $ 2,500 for two pug rescues in Texas. I turned my head to celebrate. It was nice to be able to help from afar. “
Besch said she had some ideas for expanding the business but was happy with her progress up to this point.
“I definitely want to make more physical products, maybe goods or clothes.” She said. “I’m happy with where I am now, but there is always room to grow.”
Her website is lucybeshdesigns.com
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