eCommerce Cultivated | Episode 009

EP 009 | The Story Behind The May Creative

Today is a specialty episode, I’m discussing how I dreamed up the idea of The May Creative.

The journey to how I took an idea and breathe life into a full-time business.

Some of the challenges of being a creative entrepreneur & more.

Tune in and listen!

Apple | Spotify | Stitcher

Show Transcripts

Hello, hello, hello. I hope you are doing amazing, I thank you for tuning in because I wanted to share with you the story behind how I created The May Creative. I always think it’s pretty amazing to hear the back story of how businesses began, how ideas have created, where businesses are today, and what influences people to make these decisions in their life. And so I wanted to go ahead and share with you my story and hope that it gives you some inspiration and it gives you a little bit more details into how I came about The May Creative.

And also, I guess, explain the significance of May in the name The May Creative, because I have a lot of people that ask me, like, why do you call yourself The May Creative and so in this episode? We’re going to talk about it. We’re going to go back in time and, you know, just relive some things and then bring you through the journey into the present. So tune in and, you know, grab something to drink, because I’m not sure how long this is going to be.

Hopefully not too long, because it depends on how many things I remember and how specific I want to dive into this. But anyway, let’s dive in. So for me, it started after college. After college, I had just earned like my my degree in economics and fashion merchandising, like with the goal of becoming a buyer. And I was excited to graduate. I had just spent several years. What seemed like forever, really looking back, was not a long time earning my degree going through, you know, the ruling, you know, course curriculums and tests and exams and, you know, all these things.

And I was excited to graduate and I graduated and had these amazing dreams and things. I was like, I’m just going to graduate. I going to have this amazing job and everything is going to look so perfect. Like in my mind, that’s what I thought. And I graduated and it was like our class during that time was the first it seemed to graduate during a recession. And the recession was bad because the housing market had crashed the stock market and crash.

People were losing jobs left and right. You can go back and look at the amount of businesses and companies that did not thrive during that time. And so it was scary because even though I went to school, I was still a newbie into the career excuse me, into the career field, because as you know, when you’re in college and you’re learning things from books and professors, you’re actually learning things that are kind of a few steps behind. And so once you hit the real world, you’re like you’re catching up to how things have changed.

And it was scary because there was no, like, instructions on how to navigate. And so anyway, regardless, I was able to secure a job. I went immediately into like management. I went into retail management. And that is where I was able to put the principles I learned about economics and fashion merchandising into those roles. And so while I was building up more real world experience doing that.

So it’s spending long hours during the day, like I was, you know, spending up to 15 hours a day working. I had to learn, you know, about operations running a team.

Like sometimes I had had teams of up to 100 people that I was managing, hiring, staffing, you know, kind of confronting, you know, employees about difficult situations like helping them with their development. It was just a lot of things that I did. And then also learning about what it is to manage a multi-million dollar business, because I had to know my numbers. I had to know what departments were performing, what departments were underperforming, what was my game plan to shift it, what seasons were more profitable than others?

What were what was our sales per square inch, all of these things. And so it was a really intense and, you know, I was you know, I was driven enough to love doing it. So it was just a great time for me because I was like, yes, this is what I want to do. This is what I love it.

And that’s where I fell in love, really, with retail. So that’s one little thing. Right. And so while I was doing that. I still needed something that was like. Creative to do outside of working all the time, like I think you should always have, like a hobby or something else that you like doing besides work, because you can spend hours and hours and hours to doing work. And for me, that’s when I don’t even know how this happened.

I stumbled across blogging.

I just remember that I created this account on blogger and I was like, I don’t know what I’m going to do with this. You know, I don’t even know what to say. I don’t know if I’m going to share this with people. Like, I don’t want to embarrass myself. I don’t want my friends and family laughing at me, seeing that I’m like writing on this, like, online diary about what’s going on in my world. And so I like started it and I maybe wrote like one post and then I was like, oh, whatever.

You know, I’m too embarrassed to do this, but I don’t know something that pulling me towards it. And so I started to research and look at other, you know, accounts and things. And I was realizing that other people were creating things that they were really passionate about. And one of the areas for me was beauty, makeup and beauty. So I decided that I wanted to start speaking more about that on my blog. And so that’s what I began blogging about.

And I remember I took, you know, some makeup products. I think it was like eye shadow at the time. And I put it on the arm of my couch and I pulled out my point and shoot back when we still have a point and shoots. And I took a picture of the eye shadow products and I went to put the photos on my blog. And I started speaking about the application of the product, like why I loved it.

And I created a makeup look for it and I posted the photos. And so that became a journey of me, like creating content around makeup and in in doing reviews. And so every week I was like go into the stores and I was purchasing like the latest releases. And so that began the journey of me developing like my blog and skills and like what the online space for. And so it was also the tower blogging was fairly new. There wasn’t many people doing it.

And eventually, as you know, more people kind of caught on to it. They realized that there was like a community of bloggers that were influencing the buying behaviors of people, because during that time, like when we were blogging, we were talking about like our real experiences with products. We were talking about whether we loved it, whether it sucked, you know, what could be improved, like we were going in depth. This is pre Instagram, pre, you know, like a lot of things of what is it is today.

And so we were the the real, like, authentic review of brands products. And so once brands caught on, they realized, like, hey, if we could, you know, just start sharing or giving these people products, they, we’ll put them out in front of an audience of people that we are having a hard time getting in front of like they had. I mean, like we were helping brands who had spent hours and thousands of dollars in market research to try to figure out how to get in front of consumers.

We were able to just hop on a blog, create content and immediately almost get in front of these consumers that they wanted to reach. And so they started to get to connect the two and realize that they started sending us products. We could be that person that gets them in front of these consumers. And so. That’s where the kind of brand collaboration’s and things start to flow. And as I was becoming more consistent with my blogging, I started partnering with brands and they started sending me products.

I started doing reviews. I started doing sponsored content, all these things. And so that, like, just evolved into this amazing experience where I was basically, you know, creating content on the Web, learning about SEO, figuring out how to pull my website together so that it was more attractive, more engaging to readers and also just really pulling together what we would call now branding like, you know, elements together so that we connected with our audience.

For us, it was about building community. It was about building a community of like minded individuals, which is what is now called a lot creating like a lifestyle brand where you have a community of like minded people that kind of just, you know, feel the same way as you do. And they and they you kind of think the same way and they get the same ideology. And so that also led me into the web.

And the reason why is because eventually I had to get off my little blogger account, you guys, because I had, you know, grew this audience.

I had created a space where I needed more flexibility. And so I went ahead and moved my website to WordPress. I also did that because some of the brands and some of the companies that I was collaborating with needed more information about analytics and things. And WordPress allowed them to have certain plugins that they could have on your site to track data and all this where as on blogger. You couldn’t do that. It was like very minimal.

So eventually I had to move the WordPress and that was like intimidating. Oh, my gosh. I had the white screen of death. I had broke my site several times. I had jacked up my traffic because it was like a completely technical difference between Blogger. Like, I went from simple to, like, advance like right away. And so I was it was scary. But eventually I learned how to fix it and I learned how to work with themes in plugins and things like that.

And that is what inspired me to learn more about Web design and development. Meanwhile, I was still pumping out like these long hours in retail. You know, I was still doing my long 15 up to 15 hour days. Sometimes I would have long stretches of workday’s up to like nine days straight, like it was intense. But I was still doing that. And, you know, it had inspired me to want to learn more about Web design development because I had reached the point in my retail business or retail career where I was like, I really don’t want my boss’s position and I don’t really want the positions above that.

Like, I wasn’t I wasn’t interested in advancing that further anymore. And I also wanted to be able to create a more free lifestyle for myself where I could have more control over my time. And also I knew that I wanted my life to look different and it couldn’t have looked different with me, like working in retail management, like even if I had worked my way up through the ranks to the other levels, I still would have had to put in these long hours.

I still would have these long stretches where I wasn’t able to like do events with friends and family and things like that. And that just wasn’t something that I wanted. And so I was like, OK, what can I do to help me transition out of, like, this area of retail and more into the area of Web design in the online space? Like I had already had the experience of what it was like to run and create a website and what the online space looks like from the impact from the from the side of like an influencer and things like that.

And so now I needed to figure out what I needed to learn to be a more efficient web designer and developer. And so what I decided to do was, you know, enroll in some courses. And I I chose this route because of my work schedule. Like, my hours were intense. They were up and down. Sometimes I would work, you know, later in the day and still have to turn around and work that following morning. So I knew that I couldn’t.

Do in person course work, and I knew I couldn’t go back to college and know, try to earn a degree. In like, you know, like an additional degree, I was like I was just over college anyway, so I decided to enroll in like some educational courses that I could do online.

And I did that for like two years. So when I had free time from, like, working, I would be taking my coursework because of the flexibility I could do that. So because it was online, I was able to, you know, build my skills in web design, visual design and also development. So I spent about two years doing that, two additional years doing that, just like really going in and learning those skills and becoming more confident and familiar with it.

And so that gave me the the education that I needed and the confidence I needed to create my my first idea of a business, which it was not called The May Creative.

It was some combination of my name. And I just like I didn’t love it, but I was like, I don’t know what name my business like, how many of you have been there where you’re like, I don’t know what to name my business like I don’t want it to be my name. Or maybe you do want to be your name or maybe you are like, you know, thinking you wanted to be something different because you don’t want it to be necessarily attached to you.

And my idea was I didn’t want it to be me because, again, I’m like multi passionate, like I like so many different things. And I didn’t want to have my name attached to one thing. And plus, I always wanted to have that flexibility to grow my business into something bigger than me. So if I wanted to bring on team members or employees, I could do that and it would be under the business name and not necessarily me.

So hopefully that makes sense. And so I started to think like, oh my gosh, OK, what, what name. What name. And so. I knew May was significant to me because May is my birthday month, I was born in May and also my father was born in May as well. His birthday is the day before mine. And I always thought that was special.

Like I was like, oh, my gosh, my dad’s birthday was before my like, you know, so I decided that’s what I wanted to kind of incorporate into my business name. And I knew he was going to be creative. So that was natural. So I combined, you know, creative may as The May Creative. And it’s also significant in the fact that. It has some editorial ties to it, because I love fashion, if you have read like any fashion magazines such as Vogue, you know, the September issue is a very, very important when it comes to Vogue.

And so it’s like at this premiere, you know, this premier publication that comes out in vogue. And so that’s that’s how I combine, you know, the names and came up with The May Creative. It’s like we are the premier, you know, creative. So that’s how I came up with the business name. And I love it. Like, it’s still one of my favorite names because, you know, using my name was not sounding good.

I was like I was like Karen Designs. And I was like, that just sounds so weird. Like so I, you know, was like, oh, we cannot use that.

So that’s how I came up with the name.

And that’s the idea behind the name. And, you know, for my business is, you know, I wanted to make sure that it was always an opportunity for me to create roles for other people. So to be able to help, you know, another entrepreneur grow their business, another entrepreneur, you know, create a dream that they really wanted in their life. And so that is kind of how I created my business and mine. And once I, you know, came up with the name, I decided, OK, it’s time to get clients.

And so I started, you know, again, while I was working, I started speaking to people about what I was doing and things like that. And eventually I landed my first client and then it kind of just trickled after that.

And because I had, you know, learned, you know, web design, web development, I wasn’t just a designer. I was a designer who could code, which apparently is like rare. I was also a designer who could code, who understood the retail world and who understood consumers, who understood, you know, what it’s like to run an online space. And so it really has given me, I guess, that unique perspective on how I help clients now, how I help them in their business.

And so for me, it’s not just a website experience. It is a holistic business experience. And where we go over, you know, why is this important in your business? How is this going to make it impacting not only your customers lives with your own lives? And so, yes, this is how I created The May Creative. This is how we’ve gotten here to this day. And I am honestly shocked because. Let me tell you, no one else that I knew personally had a blog, had a business, in fact, in my immediate family, I was the first one to graduate from college.

And. I didn’t know anybody that had a business, I didn’t know anybody that had a blog, and I felt like I had a lot of firsts and of course there were lots of mistakes. And of course, there were things that took me a lot longer because I had to figure them out on my own. And, yeah, I invested in educational resources and things like that and programs. But there still this part in your journey where you have to learn things for yourself.

I feel like a lot of people are like, well, you know, we can teach you how, you know, I got a shortcut and it’s like, that’s cool. But I think there’s power in your own personal journey that you have to learn these lessons on your own because. It’s just sometimes like people can tell you things, they can show you things, but it just doesn’t click. So when you have your own journey, when you have her own struggles in your own, you know, slip ups and things like that, you start to understand why you needed to do X, Y and Z first.

So don’t ever dismiss the journey.

But yeah, so that’s how I, you know, created The May Creative in how we’re here now, how we’re, you know, just, you know, we have this dream in our head and we made it a reality.

And I think that’s important in so many ways in life. I think we think we don’t have the power to make decisions that give us control in our life. And we do like once you’ve made that choice to like, dream to come up with an idea, you do have the power to make it a reality. Whatever you think in your mind, you can produce it, make it a reality in your world if you work hard enough at it, if you stay focused enough, enough on it.

And you. You know, believe in yourself that you can do it. You canand I think a lot of times people want you to they want to see an example. And sometimes there is no other example of your dream of your idea, because that idea and that dream is so specific to you that nobody else is going to create it. It is yours. And so if you’re looking for somebody to give you a blueprint for every idea that you have.

You’re going to miss out on so many opportunities, so whatever dreams that you have that are really just like kind of, just like now tapping on the shoulder, that’s like, hey, hey, remember me? Hey, buddy, you remember that cool idea you had? I know you haven’t seen anybody else do it, but I still think we should do it. And right now, I don’t know. I don’t know, you know, nobody’s ever done that before or whatever.

Go ahead and do it, get out there, try it, do it like you don’t have to wait for somebody to give you the OK, you don’t have to wait, for an example, just go for it. And so hopefully this gives you some insight into how I created my business. If you have a cool story or unique story or just your story in general or how you create your own business, I would love to hear more about it.

Definitely hit me up on Instagram at The May Creative and we can chat about it. But if you have other questions, like I know this probably seem like short, but.

There’s like so many pieces to this story, guys, but I wanted to make sure that I didn’t , write out a whole novel out for you, but just give you some insights on how I created The May Creative and how. How we’ve gotten here and in case you don’t know, now I do this full time. I’ve been doing this full time since twenty seventeen. So this idea started back.

Gosh, from, you know, the journey started back around two thousand and eight. So it’s been a journey, guys. So hopefully this has been helpful and hopefully, it’s giving you some inspiration to go out there and share your own dreams in your own visions with the world and not be scared. I mean, you can be scared, but you just do it anyway. All right. So until next time.

karen-founder-tmc 3

Hi, I'm Karen, the founder + strategist/Shopify expert behind The May Creative. I help eCommerce brand owners in luxury, lifestyle and beauty industries craft an elevated Shopify website experience. So they can take their store to the next level. Connect to learn more about working together. Or check out the episodes below or dive into some insightful eCommerce articles.


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