A long time ago, in the early 2000s- when low rise cropped top hoodies and livestrong bracelets were readily about, a young lady named Chyrel Banias had a dream to go to art school. So, in 2005, she packed her laptop and took the El train to the Illinois Institute of Art Chicago Campus where, four years later, she got a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts and graphic design. Chyrel quickly learned that she had an affinity for all things paper. Paper Source, her first job out of college, was the gateway drug to her paper addiction. There she taught classes on Bookbinding and flower making. She quickly met people who were enthusiastic about her craft skills and pushed her to start an Etsy store where she could design custom stationery and Chicago-themed Invitations. After much deliberation of how she wanted to self-identify with her new Etsy Store she named it Lil Epic Prints- because although she is small in stature, she has a big imagination (and a lot of creativity).
Over the years she moved into corporate business design and was able to design for some pretty big name companies such as Pepsi and United Airlines. However, being the natural hustler that she is, she maintained working on Lil Epic Prints and assumed more of a wedding planner role over the years as her wedding invitation clients started asking for more planning advice. The turning point was when she was asked by a wedding invitation client if she could create a paper flower wall backdrop that she had seen in a fashion show picture. Chyrel, knowing how to make paper flowers (separately) agreed, not quite sure what she was getting herself into. After weeks of individual flower making Chyrel’s first flower wall was born and she has never looked back since. Over the next four years, Lil Epic Prints transitioned from focusing on stationery to a wedding planning and event design company.
Her sister, Megan Banias, jumped on board after graduating college at Loyola University and is co-partner in the company (being younger, she was always around to help anyways). The flower walls became a mainstay and Chyrel and Megan specialized in creating customisable, reusable, self standing, and… Well, giant paper flower walls. They have expanded their services to providing table design, floral design, and full on planning and day-of coordination with more than 60 events under their belts. The company today, Lil Epic Design, which started out with 1 person (and her little sister assistant) has grown to a team of 10 strong and amazing young women. Chyrel has really worked hard in creating a fun and creative company that still holds true to its roots that literally started from the bottom (a room in her parents basement in Chicago).
Contributed By: Megan