Lucie Radcliffe, a 2013 Kwantlen Polytechnic University alumni, has been illustrating since she could hold a crayon. After completing a year of university at the University of British Columbia, she applied to Emily Carr and KPU’s Graphic Design for Marketing (GDMA) program where she honed her artistic skills.
Radcliffe started baking as a hobby, which eventually transformed into a full-time business after some encouragement from her coworker. Now, Radcliffe hosts classes that teach people how to design beautifully intricate cookies. She also has free decorating and baking tutorials on her YouTube channel.
When did you join the KPU community, and why?
I was accepted into the KPU GDMA program. Back then, it wasn’t called the Wilson School of Design. It became the Wilson School of Design in my last year. I was accepted in 2009, and I was enrolled for four years for the Bachelor of Design degree, so I graduated in 2013. It’s been almost a decade now, which I can’t believe.
When I was in high school, my focus was visual arts. Art was really prevalent throughout my entire childhood and teenage years. I ended up doing a general year at UBC. Everyone in my family had gone to UBC, but I knew it wasn’t for me, and I didn’t know what to do with my life. I took the year off, worked on my portfolio and I applied to Emily Carr and the KPU’s GDMA program.
I was accepted into both, and after discussing with my mom and looking into both programs, I decided that KPU’s graphic design program was a better fit for me. There was more focus and interest on the business marketing aspect of art back then compared to Emily Carr.
Maybe it’s different now, but at least then, the first year was a lot more focused on expressing your soul through your art medium, but I was a very concrete thinker, so my connection with art up to that point had not been about expressing myself.
I thought more about how to use my talents and passion for art in a way that was marketable and could give me a career. Both schools were competitive, and it wasn’t until I researched KPU and applied that it seemed like the exact right thing for me. I was really thrilled I got in.
What is your favourite story of your time at KPU?
It’s been a long time since I was at KPU, so there isn’t one particular event that stands out in my mind. However, every single memory that I have of being at KPU and particularly in the program that I was in recalls the small classes and being able to work with the same classmates for every single class for all four years.
There’s not a single class that I can think of where I didn’t enjoy it or dreaded seeing people that I didn’t like or felt awkward around.
UBC, when I was there, had large classrooms so you knew nobody. Looking back at my time and my most prevalent and favourite memories, they’re nonspecific, but they all have an overall feeling of support and encouragement and friendship from people in my class as well as the teachers. We got to know each other really well.
What is something you’d like to say to people new to the community?
It might not be applicable anymore, but when I attended college in 2009, KPU had only recently become an accredited university. So when I was going through high school, I had the impression that KPU was just a community college. I remember thinking, “Oh, is there a stigma? It’s not really an established university.” That’s not really the case anymore.
I would tell people not to give a second thought of KPU being a smaller school than some of the other major ones in Canada. The programs they have are phenomenal, the teachers are phenomenal, and the community in small classrooms is great.
What are you working on right now?
After I graduated, I spent a couple of years just doing entry-level graphic design jobs. And I was happy with some of the jobs, but the pay was low, but at least they were in the design industry. Finally, I think maybe three years after I graduated, I got a job as an in-house graphic designer for a company, and I was there for four years and it was amazing.
While I was there, my art director sort of had very little side business where she made artisan soaps, and encouraged me to continue baking. I was still doing it just as a side hobby. Eventually, I got a little bit better and I thought that if she was selling soap, maybe I could just do some custom orders and supplement my income. As a new grad, I wasn’t making a ton.
Then I got a 3D printer, and luckily because I have a design background, I knew how to use Adobe programs so I could design things myself. There was a bit of a learning curve, but everything that I learned in school and carried on through my career.
My own company now encompasses both graphic design and baking. I don’t do custom orders at all anymore though. It’s just an online shop. I designed classes and handouts for classes I host online. I put together full packets of supply lists, step-by-step graphic instructions, photos for designing, Photoshop tutorials, and 3D printer cookie-cutter tutorials. It’s really become this funny mix of extreme graphic design and marketing.
Actually, in February 2019, I flew to LA and filmed the Food Network’s Christmas Cookie Challenge. It was the third season.
Each episode has five competitors in two rounds to compete for $10,000. So I went, and I won and it was a huge push for my business. Then just this past year, they invited me back to compete as a returning champion. So I went back for another episode and competed against other champions. It was so much fun.
What is something you would like people to know about you?
I had an incredibly lucky wedding. It was in November 2021, and it just happened to be in a very small window of time when there were no restrictions.
They had just required the double vaccinations, and as soon as that hit, they lifted a bunch of restrictions. So our wedding had almost no restrictions. It was almost like COVID didn’t exist that day. It was wonderful.
I met my spouse on Tinder and we bought a project house together in 2015 when we were still dating even though we didn’t live together. We bought it, renovated it ourselves and then rented out the main and upper floor. It took us four and a half years on the weekends to finish. We just finished the basement this past fall so that was a big milestone. That was the other biggest major factor of my life. When I wasn’t baking or working, I was renovating a house.
I need a lot of space to operate my business and store everything so now we rent a house in Langley.