Maker: Mica May, May Books Founder + CEO
Homebase: Houston, Texas
The Scoop: Mica May didn’t set out to design notebooks, let alone sell them through a successful online boutique. She was content running her logo and design firm when friends and clients began asking about the cute, personalized notebooks she carried to meetings. They wanted in, because as paper junkies know, a good notebook is hard to find.
Mica had given up trying when she started to design her own. What she didn’t realize was that she’d stumbled on a niche market. As friends and corporate clients would prove, there was demand for stylish, durable and reasonably priced notebooks. Almost overnight, May Books was born. Mica’s notebooks are a customizable mix of punchy colors, on-trend patterns and monogram options. You choose the fill – anything from a plain grid to meal planners, weekly agendas and more.
A lifelong font freak, paper lover and design wonk, Mica eagerly put her passions to work in her new venture. But that’s not all. As the mother of two young children, she’s constantly on the go-go-go. This accidental entrepreneur and creative virtuoso spends her days striving for balance and inspiration in equal measure. We wanted to know: How does she make it all happen?
What inspires you?
MM: I’m genuinely motivated by seeing what people create with our notebooks. I love talking to customers about how they’re using them. I also believe it’s extremely important to love what you do. I’m sort of a work-hard, play-hard type. Whether I’m at the park with my kids or acting as a CEO by putting out fires throughout the day, I keep going because I’m passionate about what we’re doing.
How do you “make it happen”?
I keep asking questions. “No” isn’t really in my vocabulary. If I hear “no,” I assume there’s a “yes” around the corner. You wouldn’t believe all the naysayers who told me my vision for canvas, hand-stitched notebooks was ridiculous. I heard stuff like “no one sews these days,” or “no printer can print on that paper,” but I always pressed on until I found the right solution for our product.
How would you describe your approach to making?
I say dream big, go for it, and make it happen! Surround yourself with “yes” people – people who will challenge you, people who believe in possibility and who are willing to go for it. I need people around me that let me fly my kite!
What shortcuts, gadgets or other life-savers do you swear by?
Well, I do have a few May Books going at once: my grocery notebook, my agenda, which includes the kids’ schedule, and a catch-all for everything else. I would be lost without my iPhone and charger because my phone’s always dying. Oh, and I have a huge wall calendar in my kitchen. I love looking forward to things. I think that's why I like to write things down – at a glance I can see all the fun stuff coming up.
Who are your favorite makers?
My mom, Laura Akers. She’s a creative genius – so whimsical, fun and grounded. Even at 60, she’s always wondering what her next endeavor will be. And [journalist and speaker] Tory Johnson. She’s a big believer in women, in moms and in small business owners. She believed in me, and that’s a favor I want to return 100-fold: helping people believe in themselves.
Any Pillsbury® products or recipes in your rotation?
Crescent rolls for making cinnamon buns!
What are some of your other loves?
I loooove throwing parties. I’m totally energized by any crafting challenge, whether it's restoring an old vintage find or a simple craft I can do with friends. I have a "wine at nine" group of gals that meets each Monday night to craft – usually something we find on Pinterest.
We’re working on a new product line for fall. It’s top secret for now, but I’m really excited about it. Stay tuned!