Hey folks! Hello, I'm Miss May and I'm here to talk a little bit more about what I do, as a designer and how I got into the Instagram world.
People are curious of what I do. And what question do I get asked most, you might ask? It has got to be, "How did Instagram all started?". But first, I wanna talk about who am I and what I do. And we'll get there, hehe.
So, just a bit of a warning, I am basically interviewing myself. Hahahaha.
Who am I?
I'm a designer by trade. And I intend to stay that way forever, hehe.
I feel incredibly lucky to have a small studio in Surry Hills. It's my home studio, where I find it fulfilling to create cute, colourful Hello Miss May greeting cards, artworks and pins. Make them undeniably me. It makes me happy to see my work out there - on Etsy, in design markets, or retail stores.
I work a lot with puns and humour. To make people laugh is 'serious business', I'm guessing, haha.
I feel that's my purpose, knowing that something I created plays a part in someone's day. To make people smile looking at my cute things. With a little dash of fun. It's cute and super cheesy at the same time.
When did Etsy began?
So, it all started after travelling for a whole year around the world after uni. I went everywhere, 10 different countries, crossing over four continents. Life was great. But the reality afterwards, was, when I came home to Sydney, I was jobless (and very, very broke... haha!). A close friend of mind recommended Etsy, because, I was beyond despair. I decided to take a chance, and sell a poster or two on Etsy, about a good four years ago.
Through Etsy, I get to explore and create. And in the process, finding out who am I and who I wanted to be.
I've always loved paper and printing from a very young age. I used to collect all sorts of paper. I even design my own notes for high school using 'Paint' program and print them out as books.
But, first, I used to work for peanuts. And I know, a lot of people used to tell me to not sell myself short. But the truth is, when no one in the design industry is giving you an opportunity to "get in" with a full time career, I had two options :
1. Quit the design industry completely, and work somewhere else where the 'money' is
2. Never give up that dream (while finding any random work to support myself). Most importantly, always find ways to create an opportunity to learn and grow as a designer.
I took the second option and I refused to give up my dreams.
One of my favourite quote has got to be, "If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door." - Milton Berle.
I was totes over the moon when I sold my very first poster to a lady in Melbourne. It was titled "Rabbit + Carrots". I sold it for $10 after spending weeks creating my first range of poster. That was my one and only sale for the whole month. But, I was happy, because someone gave me a chance. I kept on creating more posters until I reached a listing of 200. I even started designing logos and business cards for close to nothing. If I were to look back at the invoices, I'd be mortified.
But, you know what? It doesn't matter. I created little jobs and work experiences for myself. I learned on the go. And that is priceless.
And, I did it! I got myself out there. I build a door for myself and I never looked back.
My first reaction to Instagram...
Wasn't pretty. I remembered my future #instagramhusband, Leon Korobacz, (@hungrysydneysiders) showed me the app. He said, "Look, how cool is Instagram?" I rolled my eyes when I saw the filter features. In my head, I'm like, I can use Photoshop to edit my photos. I don't need Instagram. Oh, boy, I was very wrong.
I discovered so many talents on Instragram, it was like flipping through a dream magazine of all my favourite things. The best part about scrolling and looking at beautiful images is that, they are free. I was very inspired with Instagrammers like @yokoogibraan and @1924us that continuously inspire me to create beautiful things.
How did I started?
I was clueless when I began but I knew deep down inside, I wanted to do something that I could nurture from, to learn from. I kept experimenting, and finding what I love and what I'm good at. The fun part about sharing photos on my feed is creating a theme and a style that reflects my personality.
But, you got to start somewhere. My advice is to experiment, try new things out but keep it consistent with the tones and colours in your feed. You'd be surprise with colours, they do tell a story. A very good story indeed.
I remembered, all I ever wanted when I first started on Instagram, was to be part of the design and makers community. I had in mind to share my work and my favourite things, really. I never dreamed of reaching this far with my Instagram. Back then, when I made it to 5000, I was over the moon!
And everything else that comes with, is a bonus. I still do what I love, which is designing cute cards, eating macarons and drinking cups of tea.
The flatlay game...
Is fun to play. I really enjoy creating flatlays. I used to have three to four things that I flatlay with. And now, I've upped the game to a Queen size bed self-party flatlay. Looking back, the 'younger' me would be like, "You're cray."
My advice for beginners out there to create good flatlays are always use natural, soft light (from the window) and a nice surface to shoot with. Never, ever, shoot in direct sun where the shadow is strongest. It takes away the beauty of the objects one is displaying.
Flatlay could be work (and I meant, A LOT of work). But work could also be fun!
I know a few people out there would tell me that it's impossible to do, because they have zero natural light at home or they have no objects to flatlay with or they are no good at it at all. Well, there will always be a million excuses to not be able to do something. But if I'm ever in this situation, I would go out to cafes and even my friend's home, and to do what it takes to create a good flatlay. I will keep practicing until I get really good at it. I believe that if you try hard enough and persist, you'll get really, really good at it.
What is it like to collaborate?
What at first seemed a bit crazy became my reality. I started getting emails and requests to style for big and small businesses.
It is super fun, I'm telling ya' ! Every day is different in the Insta world. I get all sorts of emails from customised candies to unicorn floats to driving a Mini Cooper convertible. It's all pretty random, ahah, and that's why I love Instagram so much. It has given me an opportunity to collaborate and style with big brands and small business owners that I can never imagine myself doing 5 years ago.
My favourite part is getting a load of sweets and desserts delivered to my home and picking up bouquets of flowers for the week.
Are those "Peanut Days" gone?
It's quite comforting to know that I have a good rate to work with now, as a designer and a stylist.
But, honestly, I still like my "Peanut Days". It's what motivates me to work even harder and be the best version of me. I drive with my #instagramhusband about 10 hours to Melbourne and fly to Brisbane and Adelaide to attend big design markets every few months or so. It is exciting to be in different cities to promote my Hello Miss May goods but it is crazy exhausting having to pack and unpack all the time. Totes not complaining, haha.
At the end of the day, I get the satisfaction of knowing I worked my arse off (excuse my language)... or in nicer words... blood, sweat and tears.
You guys probably hear this a lot already... but, I'm going to give it to you guys anyways.
Be yourself. Do what you truly love and are passionate about. Let your work tell the story. Learn that everything is a work in progress
It's so easy to duplicate exactly what others are already good at, but getting inspired by the people you adore and creating something that is truly your style is another story. Think of it when you're playing Mario Brothers... you just levelled up everytime you reach the castle.
And, most importantly, recruit a few Instagram Husbands if you can. Haha. Very crucial for those flatlays when you need a hand model or conveniently, a human camera stand. Hehe...
I feel very lucky to be where I am today, to be able to run my design studio full time and keep doing what I love. I can't express how grateful I am. And thank you for all your support! Hehe...
Anyways, stay fab!
Thanks for reading this much, haha. You can always say hello hehe.
Stay fab everyone!