As Shisi Wang tells it, the creation of her unique KC-centric lighthouses started when a laser cutter at a local makerspace caught her eye. It turned out to be the beginning of a unique venture for her and her husband, Phillip. “After a while, we got the hang of it, and started creating our own designs, mostly for fun,” she says. “We asked ourselves what we would like in our home, and what do we think our friends would love.”
What they came up with were lightboxes featuring some of the metro’s most iconic landmarks, like the Nelson-Atkins shuttlecocks and the Kauffman Center’s arched design. “There’s such a love of KC for people who live here. Whether you’re from the area or not, you grow to love everything about Kansas City,” she says. “Of all places I’ve come to know, the people and the love for one’s own city has no parallel.”
As soon as the duo uploaded their Kuma Creative handiwork to Etsy, Made in KC spied them and loved them.“Since then, they’ve started popping up in Made in KC stores across the metro and have been a huge hit as gifts and housewarming presents,” says Wang.
Priced at $42 each, the lightboxes are charming and whimsical. You can find Kuma Creative’s wares at Made in KC, Bunker in Westport, Westside Storey, and other local boutiques. Or find their Kuma Creative Etsy site here. “You can see everything—including the new designs we just released,” says Wang, who adds the inspiration for the shop’s name came from the couple’s mini goldendoodle, Kuma. “Her name translates to ‘bear’ in Japanese, which is perfect for her,” she says.