New Mizzou Botanic Garden merch lands at The Mizzou Store

Have you checked out the plant-tastic floral fashions now available at The Mizzou Store? Designer Jessi Church gives a behind-the-scenes look at this year’s Mizzou Botanic Garden line.

  • colorful graphic pattern from the mizzou botanic garden line. features butterflies, plants and more
    The seamless pattern Jessi Church designed will be used on a number of products in this year's collection. 

April 22, 2024
Contact: Deidra Ashley,

Did you know that the University of Missouri is a registered botanic garden? Each day, more than 44,000 students, faculty, staff and visitors traverse the Mizzou Botanic Garden (MUBG) — many of them without even noticing.

To celebrate Mizzou's beautiful grounds, The Mizzou Store launched an MUBG merchandise collection in 2023. New designs — including clothing, mugs and more — are landing in The Mizzou Store this week thanks to Jessi Church, Mizzou brand manager and graphic designer.

Church has spent the past six years shaping and safeguarding Mizzou's identity and brand, crafting captivating visuals, providing expert guidance and fostering partnerships to promote and enhance the university's brand. Read on to learn more about her design process and the inspiration behind this year’s collection.

Jessi Church
When did you start working on this year’s design?

I’ve been working on this collection since about June of last year. There are a lot of layers to this type of project — from researching trending patterns in the retail market, to creating the art, to partnering with licensees and more. It is awesome to be able to work with so many great partners to bring a retail collection like this to life.

What was your design process for this project?

I started out by researching MUBG and by looking at the designs from last year. The butterfly was prominently featured, so I decided to make it a continuing theme for the collection. I also think it’s a great tie-in because we have a butterfly garden here on campus that many people don’t know about.

As for the rest of the process, I developed three different designs to pitch. The butterfly pattern was selected, and, from there, I modified the pattern colors to meet this year’s fashion trends. And, to make sure the design feels true to Mizzou, I incorporated Mizzou gold — Pantone 124 — and words like “Mizzou” and “Botanic Garden.”

At the end of the day, it was important to me that this design be for everyone: It needed to appeal to our students. But it also needed to be for their families who visit campus, and for our faculty, staff, alumni and the hundreds of thousands of Mizzou fans around the world. 

How is this project different than others you’ve worked on previously?

At Mizzou, I spend most of my time finding solutions: looking at existing designs and proposed ideas and guiding them to meet our brand guidelines. While this is a creative endeavor all on its own, it doesn’t always involve creating art or seeing projects through from start to finish. I have worked on T-shirts and one-offs for Mizzou Athletics, but they are often quick turnaround.  

This project was exciting because it challenged me to learn all the steps involved in designing, creating and producing a collection like this for retail consumption. We also worked closely with our licensees to not only create the artwork, but to also decide which items would be best to feature as part of the collection. I am really excited to see what products perform well and how we can make the line even better next year.

What is it like to see people wearing your designs out in the real world?

It’s very cool! Like a lot of designers, most of my work happens behind a computer screen, and I don’t always know what designs end up in stores, or what the end products end up looking and feeling like. To be so involved in this process, and to see people on campus — and beyond — wearing something I designed is really rewarding and makes me proud to work at Mizzou.

What piece, from the collection, are you most looking forward to seeing in the store? 

As a designer, I’ve always loved selecting paper and stationery-like items, so I’m excited to see the notecard set. On the apparel side, the hats are incredible — our licensee took the art and came up with wonderfully creative designs, which are very fun.  

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