Longtime friends, SM East grads launch apparel company focused on midwestern pride

Taylor Vana-Herrick and SLKDJF:SLKJd;lk
SM East graduates Taylor Vana-Herrick and Jennifer Sirna have started their own apparel company.

After graduating from SM East in 2013, friends Taylor Vana-Herrick and Jennifer Sirna got jobs working for Prairie Village resident Laura Schmidt’s company Notes to Self, which produces socks with positive message on them.

Splitting their time between working at the growing company and taking classes at Johnson County Community College, they learned the in-and-outs of the apparel business and started talking about the idea of starting their own operation.

“We’re young, we’re only 22,” said Vana-Herrick. ” We’ve got time and energy and nothing to lose. We thought, why not?”

In May, they took the plunge, and Sunflower State Apparel was born.

The company’s first line of shirts features designs the promote Kansas City and midwestern pride. One features the Kansas City skyline. Another the phrase “Flyover state.”

“People who aren’t from here have this idea that it’s just the east coast and the west coast and nothing in between,” Sirna said. “We want to show that we’re proud of the area. We say we’re Kansas based, midwest focused.”

The duo didn’t need long to find placement for their products here in northeast Johnson County. Their shirts are for sale at Ad Astra Market and Lulu’s Boutique on Johnson Drive, and they were just accepted into the Made in KC online marketplace.

“We’re working with three graphic designers on new ideas,” Vana-Herrick said. “We’ve got ideas for a lot of new designs in the works.”

Sunflower State Apparel features designs that promote KC and the midwest.
Sunflower State Apparel features designs that promote KC and the midwest.