Darcy Vorhees of Flaming Medusa Studios
The CEO and Chief Visionary Officer of Flaming Medusa Studios, Darcy Vorhees, has contributed to such popular franchises as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Lizzie McGuire. With her company, Vorhees offers her expertise in illustration, animation and graphic design to a broad range of clients—from Cincinnati's own Bad Girl Ventures all the way to MTV.
How did you start your business?
I had been working as a freelance artist since I was a junior in college, but I didn't incorporate and step it up until 2007, after I moved back to Cincinnati from New York City. At that point, I decided I wanted to meet people outside the groups I usually networked with, and by doing this, I was lucky enough to meet contacts that made the process possible for me.
How did you come up with the idea for your business?
It's something I can do that not everyone can—people pay for it, and I spend most of my time on it anyway. The rest was pretty natural, especially since I have been an artist for so long.
What Cincinnati resources did you take advantage of and how did they help?
It started with the Cincinnati Illustrators Group
, which is where I met a lot of people who were artists and who were working out of Cincinnati and the surrounding areas. They were very welcoming and were happy to answer questions as I was acclimating to a new city that had a different set of opportunities than I was used to in NYC. I was also lucky enough to be involved in the inaugural class of Bad Girl Ventures, where I learned the basics of how to plan a business in a very supportive atmosphere, and I met a lot of like-minded women there whose focuses were on different topics, but at heart we were all trying to achieve the same thing, which was refreshing. Bad Girl Ventures also connected me with SCORE,
where I also worked with a counselor to develop a business plan—one that I am still on track with today. This, and other individuals I have met here, made all the difference.
How is Cincinnati a unique city for entrepreneurs?
Cincinnati is unique in several ways—a lot of business is conducted here, but it isn't jam packed with competition. Also, people are open and welcoming enough that it isn't as challenging to make new connections as it may be in other areas.
What is next for you and your company?
We are working on more broadcast and commercial work and will soon be creating an original series.
What would you do differently if you started your business again?
I can't see anything that I would do differently because the choices that have been made so far are going in the direction that they're supposed to, so that is good. If I could have met the people who made a difference in this journey earlier, I would have, but overall, I don't think I would change anything.
Interview by Sean Peters