Ingred Sidie: Building Community Presence

Ingred Sidie. Photo by Corie English

For Ingred Sidie, the best thing about Kansas City is that it’s big enough to be able to make a difference but small enough that you can make a difference—and that’s just what she’s done for the last 25 years as the co-owner of Design Ranch.

Sidie launched Design Ranch with her business partner, Michelle Sonderegger, in 1998 with the vision of helping businesses create reinvigorated and forward-thinking brands.

Since that time, Design Ranch has helped both local and national corporations, small businesses, and nonprofits build a community presence.

“With everything we do, we want to add beauty and simplicity to the world through design,” says Sidie. “We started the firm knowing that never compromising quality would be the key to our success.”

Design Ranch set out to distinguish itself from other advertising agencies. Instead of just focusing on advertising copy or just focusing on image and brand design, Sidie and Sonderegger created a hybrid model. “We had this layer that other design firms didn’t have, and it was heavily rooted in copy, concept, and language that we build into brands,” Sidie adds.

Looking back, Sidie says the younger version of herself would be shocked to see how her talent for design has transformed into her presence as a business leader. 

What started as Sidie working with Sonderegger practically 24 hours a day to build the business has transformed into a team of ten designers, writers, and project managers that oversees branding, design, marketing, interactive technology, and art direction.

In 25 years, Sidie has built a legacy in Kansas City that people can count on.

“With our approach, we’re able to cut out a lot of the middlemen, and that process makes it smooth and seamless for our clients,” says Sidie. “When a client brings us a project, they aren’t questioning if we’ll get it done or if we’re going to meet the deadline. They know the output is going to be exceptional.”

Look around Kansas City and there’s a good chance you’ll see some of Design Ranch’s strategy and design in play. Just some of the firm’s local clients include Boulevard Beer Company, Bo Lings, St. Luke’s Cardiovascular Consultants, H&R Block, the Kansas City Art Institute, Hallmark, and the Truman Library Institute.

Some of Sidie’s favorite recent local projects include Who Needs Art, a campaign for ARTS KC that brought out the importance of art to the well-being and happiness of the community; ProX, a program from the Kauffman Foundation and Thalia Cherry that connects students with professional experiences to prepare them for what’s beyond high school; and branding for a new foundation that will fund legal aid for accused minorities. 

“We do a lot of community work and community service through design,” says Sidie. “We give them a voice and an image they might not have had to really help them with fundraising and presence within the community. Seeing our work in the community makes us feel like we’ve made a difference. There’s so much chaos, clutter, and ugliness, and if we can make the world a better place through design and beauty, then we’ve done our job.”

If you ask Sidie if she has any advice for young entrepreneurs in the same spot she was 25 years ago, she’ll say be prepared to do a lot of hard work. “If you don’t want to give it your 100 percent then you probably shouldn’t own a business. It’s a 24/7 job that offers great satisfaction, but it’s not for everyone.”

Her other piece of advice? Never stop evolving. Sidie just joined the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program as a mentee to learn new ways to think about business and grow in new directions.

“Even after 25 years there’s still more to learn, and I’m really enjoying working with my mentor and looking at how we’re running as a business and how we can continue to evolve and grow our leadership,” says Sidie. 

Sidie says her clients inspire her to keep learning and growing.

“We’ve had clients cheer for us and cry when we present our work and just be so grateful with how we’ve been able to affect and change their success,” says Sidie. “So that keeps me going when I see the success of our client, see what we’re doing is recognized by peers, and seeing our clients being elevated in the community to places they never would’ve been. Everything we touch, we want it to be the best it can be. Everyone gets the Design Ranch magic.”

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