Hello, I'm Miss May :)

Hey folks! Hello, I'm Miss May and I'm here to talk a little bit more about what I've learned from starting my own little design studio. But, before I go on, here's a little introduction.

Hello Miss May Studio

Hello Miss May is my baby. 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 and retail stores.

I'm a designer by trade. And I intend to stay that way forever, hehe. 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.  With a little dash of fun. It's cute and super cheesy at the same time.

For more images of my studio, link here.

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 kicked in, 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.

Rabbit Carrot Poster on Etsy Seal Typo by Hello Miss May


For months, I would send resumes and go out to job interviews, but, no one would hire me full time!

One of my favourite quote has got to be, "If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door." - Milton Berle.  


I decided I have nothing to lose when it comes to Etsy. So, I came up with 10 designs I am inspired by (back then, it was rabbits and flamingos) and uploaded the posters on Etsy. It all happened a good four years ago.
The first poster poster I sold was a print of a Rabbit and loads of carrots. And I was over the moon!

 

 

My Hello Miss May Studio in Surry Hills. Photo Credit : May Leong

My Hello Miss May Studio in Surry Hills. Photo Credit : May Leong

Not Easy Being A #GIRLBOSS

It's true what they say, starting your own business is hard work. I have to manage everything from administration right down to inventory, sales and marketing. Think of a company but compressed into a tiny design studio run by one person. Haha!

But, in saying that, I love being my own boss. I can take holidays whenever I want. I get to work 7 days a week (even if I don't feel like it, haha). My favourite has got to be able to explore and create. And in the process, finding out who am I and who I wanted to be.

There were many late nights when I first started running my Etsy store. I kept working on expanding my range of Hello Miss May posters. I used to work part time in retail during the day, and at night, I would start designing posters and following up on my orders to send out the next day. It was quite exhausting working 7 days a week, with a part time gig and an online store. But I was very happy to know that people appreciate my work. I would send my prints all over the world, from New York to London to Tokyo.

The best thing I love about running an online store selling posters is that customers would sometimes send me photos of their room, all done up. It meant a lot to me that they love my work.

Featuring my 'Good Night, Sleep Tight' Poster. Nursery styled by Erin Michael.

Featuring my 'Good Night, Sleep Tight' Poster. Nursery styled by Erin Michael.

Hello Miss May Today

So, I wanted to explore a little bit more with my designs. I found that I've always love greeting cards and brooches. And I'm such a big kid! Who doesn't love unicorns and rainbows and all things cute? That's when I realized I should go all out with something really fun and happy.

For the past two years, I went a little bit crazy (with the designs). I had all the cute animals in my head, a laughing cactus and all kinds of cats morphing into food like burger, taco and ice cream. It was a dream come true.

Hello Miss May Lapel Pins

Hello Miss May Lapel Pins

Styling and Shooting in my Studio

It was all kind of accidental. It never occurred to me that I would become a stylist and a photographer. Let alone a blogger and an Instragrammer!

It all happened when I discovered Instagram through my now #instagramhusband, Leon Korobacz of @hungrysydneysiders. I started illustrating and taking photos of my design work with my iPhone. I was really happy to be part of the makers community - keep getting inspired by one another's work.

What was a hobby of snapping cute things quickly became another creative outlet for me. Before I knew it, I was contacted by brands and agencies to do photoshoots and content creations. And I was still using an iPhone 5s back then!

I learn on the job. I started experimenting with DSLR cameras and before I knew it, I was on my way to becoming a professional photographer :)

My early days as an Instagrammer

My early days as an Instagrammer

My advice...

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.

- Don't be afraid to try new things.

Keep trying and don't be disheartened if things do not go your way. If I had given up on the idea of being a designer, just because no one would give me a design job, I wouldn't be here today :) There will always be new opportunities that will come your way. You just got to stick around long enough and keep going.

It's so easy to duplicate exactly what others are already good at, but getting inspired by people and creating something that is truly your style is another story. Think of it when you're playing Mario Brothers... you just leveled up every time you reach the castle.

And...

Most importantly, recruit a few Instagram Husbands if you can. Haha. Hehe...

Anyways, stay fab!

Thanks for reading this much, haha. You can always say hello and I will do my best to reply as soon as I can!

Stay fab everyone!

xxm

 

Hello Miss May's Quick Instagram Edit

 

Hello guys!

Many of you have asked me what filter I used on Instagram to edit my photos. Actually, I don't, hehe. I skipped the filter section on the left and head straight to the edit part of Insta.

Here's a super quick tutorial on what I've used. Below is the original mermaid flatlay photo I took today with my iPhone. Courtesy of the Instagram Husband, of course, @hungrysydneysiders.

For me, if the image is taken using natural light, and it's not the kind with that casts strong shadow, there is no need to use all the fancy filters. 

My top fives are Brightness, Contrast, Warmth, Saturation and Shadows.

Brightness is great to bring out a photo (imagine, more light) and Contrast helps further distinguish objects. See how the beautiful merino blanket and pom pom hat, pops out a little.

In this flatlay, there is a slight tinge of cool colours, so I move the warmth bar upwards to 40 (depending on how cool the colours are gravitating towards).

Saturation is great to intensify colour (or in my case here, a slight opposite for me) as I'm aiming for a soft feel.

And I added Shadows to create more depth in the photo. 

Now, onto my best kept secret. I love, love, love using Colours when I get a chance to. Basically, to add a little bit more 'spice' to my image. 

Here's what I've found out by tapping a colour circle twice in Shadows, I get to adjust the percentage of how much 'Navy' kind of shadow I'd like to cast.

I know earlier on, I did add Warmth to the overall image, but by adding a cooler colour in Shadows, help create an overall, softer image.

Above, is a quick overview of what I've used. Any questions, feel free to comment here or on Instagram :)

All I can say is, always play with the Edit section, and find your fave kind of style. If you're into strong and colourful photos, then, I would work on the Contrast and Saturation bit. Another example would be, if you're into monochrome, Saturation and Shadows are your friends.

Hehe. Have a fab mermaid kind of day!

xxm