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On the Path of Passion

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May Designs CEO Mica May turned her love for design into a flourishing business.

By Lauren Jones, Photos by Smith House Photography

Mica May

Mica May is the queen of multitasking. As a mom of three young children and the CEO of local lifestyle brand May Designs, she handles her daily tasks with the utmost of grace, positivity and an undeniable passion.

From a young age, her propensity for all things creative was obvious. It’s something that has followed her into adulthood.

When I was a little girl, I had a bunch of spiral notebooks full of crazy designs,” May recalls. “I dreamed of becoming a fashion designer.”

A self-taught graphic designer, she began working with brands right out of college, creating customized corporate agendas and notebooks.

“I started May Designs in 2009,” May says. “And it’s been nearly a decade of growing and learning.”

The first product from May Designs was a 5-by-8-inch notebook stitched down the middle. This flagship product, which is still at the center of May’s entire line, has continued to inspire further notebook iterations. When customers head online to purchase one of her notebooks, they have nearly 500 rotating pattern options to choose from.

Each of May Designs’ notebooks are entirely customizable, down to the cover pattern, type and inside pages. From basic lines to graph paper, gratitude pages and even hourly calendars, the notebooks offer customers a variety of inside pages to fill their notebooks of choice.

“The heart of what we do is empowering the customer to be who you are designed to be,” May says. “Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.”

Once orders are completed, the notebooks are made on demand and go straight to the printer. It’s a unique business model that works.

As the brand has grown in popularity during the last eight years, May and her team have branched out into other verticals and now offer on-demand fashion, iPhone cases and leather products, expanding the brand to meet customers’ needs. And it was this that led to May Design’s most exciting project yet.

Earlier this year, May paired up with planner expert Blue Sky Planners, as she was looking to expand the notebook line.

“We noticed that our customers were excited about more types of planners, ones that were larger, hardback and spiral-bound,” May recalls. “We wanted a larger partnership to take on notebook concepting and fleshing that out, an expert that had a lot of data that we didn’t have about what people would be interested in.”

May first met with representatives from Blue Sky at the Create & Cultivate pop-up during South By Southwest 2017, and realized a partnership was not only smart, but a great fit as well. Now the line is available at Target stores throughout the United States through January 2018.

May and May Designs’ Creative Director Heather Hale

The line, which incorporates the classic styles critical to the May Designs brand, is focused on geometric patterns, Art Deco type, fluid art and rose-gold and metallic accents.

“We developed 25 patterns and then Blue Sky pitched them to Target,” May says. “This partnership has really been a dream come true.”

Throughout the years, May has collaborated with other companies and local artists, from Stephanie Ryan to Jessica Honegger of Noonday Collection. Since May launched her business, she says she has loved working with other entrepreneurs and is grateful for all the support she has found within Austin’s creative community.

“Austin is the world of entrepreneurs, creatives and women who have started their own businesses,” May says. “The people who I’ve met here have really believed in me.”

It’s this genuine women-supporting-women atmosphere that further adds to the city’s charm and appeal.

So, what lies ahead for the illustrious Mica May and May Designs? May and her team have plans to continue to expand the line’s product offerings and delve into children’s fashion.

To build your own custom notebook, visit maydesigns.com.

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