FIRST THOUGHT: Designing Your Own Success
The definition of success has evolved throughout the years. It used to be that a stable 9-to-5 career was ideal. But now, many of us like to fit our careers around our lives, not the other way around. Women telecommute, video chat with colleagues and hold meetings in coffee shops.
We now know that there’s no cookie-cutter approach to creating a career that fits your lifestyle. You just have to have the resources—and courage—to design a job and schedule that works for you. So, take a breath and get to work!
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 86 Percent
In the world of Pinterest, it seems like you can DIY just about everything. While I love myself some craft nights, I leave a lot of that stuff to the expert artisans on Etsy. It’s the place to go for one-of-a-kind products and is definitely the go-to website for everything from wedding invitations to handmade jewelry to embroidery art.
Did you know 1.6 million people sold more than $2.4 billion worth of products on Etsy in 2015? The even cooler thing? According to the company, 86 percent of these creative sellers are women. Keep making beautiful things, ladies.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Mica May, Founder of May Designs
One woman who just exudes creativity is Mica May of May Designs. When she was growing up, her dream job was to create OPI nail polish colors and their whimsical names, as well as host their fabulous parties.
Years later, after creating her own college course work about the advertising industry—a field she was drawn to because of its creative aspects—she bought a one-way ticket to New York City, with stars in her eyes. Though an agency job wasn’t in the cards, May landed a job as a charity events organizer for a homeless shelter. While it wasn’t quite the advertising-agency gig she’d hoped for, she couldn’t help but use her creative skills to help rebrand the organization.
She moved to Dallas after marrying her husband, Jonathan, and while still working long distance for the shelter, she started her own design firm. May would create her own stylish and artsy notebooks, and after some of her design clients noticed them, she knew she was onto something. She took the notebooks to her local chapter of National Association of Women Business Owners and got 10 women to buy 100 notebooks with their Mica May-designed logos on them.
After spending four minutes on a Good Morning America spot, May received an astounding 33,000 orders within just eight hours. Needless to say, since then, May’s business has flourished, just like her Fresh Florals notebook collection.
During that time, she also started a family and now has three children. Her oldest child, Jackson, was born with Down syndrome. But far from giving up on her baby, she took heart and got to work mom-ming. May enrolled Jackson in the Rise School of Houston, which focuses on individualized education for special-needs children. On Jackson’s first day of school, May was struck by a large piece of artwork painted by the students. Using it as her muse, she created the Rise Art Collection, which raises awareness and supports special-needs education. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the Rise Art Collection now benefit a variety of organizations that support special education and early childhood intervention for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
Work-life balance is paramount to May, who usually leaves her office at 2 p.m. to spend time with her family, then finishes up the workday after the kids are tucked into bed. For May, the future isn’t just in paper. She hopes to expand May Designs into a lifestyle brand that includes customizable home-décor products.
There are a lot of words to describe May: creative, inspired, colorful. That’s the thing: Her vivacious approach to her career, family and life just can’t be contained. I’d say that’s a life well designed.
QUITE THE QUOTE
It was author and cartoonist Lynda Barry who said:
“Expect the unexpected, and whenever possible, be the unexpected.”
That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.
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