Welcome to Chicago North Shore Mom’s Moms in Business Feature (a.k.a. Meet a Mom). These are stories of moms just like you who are taking risks and balancing work/life (and toppling over at times). They are creative, bright, brave, assiduous and fierce. Today’s Moms in Business feature is the truly lovely Katie May of Simply May and www.shopkatiemay.com. The Lake Forest mama of two littles is a lifestyle blogger and clothing designer who pushes out eye-catching content that will have you buying a few pieces here and there and wanting more. Welcome Katie May!
Where are you from originally? What town do you live in now?
Hi, I’m Katie May! I’m from Wisconsin, a very small town! We live in Lake Forest, going on 7 years this April. Lake Forest is small town charm close enough to a big city.
You’re a mama! How many kiddos do you have and how old are they?
Two girls, ages three and five!
What’s your favorite thing about being a mom?
My favorite thing about being a mom is experiencing the small joy in life again but through my kids lives.
Any mom tips you can share with us?
My biggest mom hack is planning in advance if I can. For example I like to prep dinner while I am making the kids lunch so when that crazy 4/5 o’clock dinner time comes around, it’s not as hectic since I have mostly everything prepped.
Least favorite mom job?
For sure, unloading the dishwasher!
Ha, me too, mama! One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
I grew up on a small hobby farm. A hobby farm is basically just farming for fun. So we had things like chickens, bunnies, goats, a pig and a horse. A HUGE full garden. I call it a hobby farm because there was no intention to sell anything, everything we produced we ate or gave to friends and family.
For our out of town guests, what are your favorite local places to spend with the family?
All the gorgeous parks in the town and surrounding towns, Michaels in highland park, Deerpath Inn, centennial ice arena, local beaches, American Girl in the city.
What was your most memorable family vacation and why?
Punta Mita Mexico, we released the cutest baby sea turtles. It was such a great family spot. We stayed at the 4 seasons Punta Mita.
You are a mompreneur! Tell us about your business!
Yes! My business is constantly evolving! I first started making skin care products for my kids that were all natural and organic. That is how Sukki Skin was born. My thirst for creativity wasn’t quenched so I started making my kids clothing and started selling them on Instagram. I thought, “wow maybe I can scale this!” So, I opened up an online shop where I offered just sleep dresses for moms and kids. Now, this has all evolved into designing both women’s and kid’s clothing. Today I have a full line of each. I also introduced a new product called dry mats. The inspiration for this came to me while having picnics with my kids. They keep your bottoms dry with a unique layer inside the mat that will not allow water from the grass below to penetrate.
Prior to all this I founded Simply May, which is mostly lifestyle with a big emphasis on healthy recipes. This blog, which is still active, which was kind of what helped me grow followers in order to reach a market to sell to. I love being creative so the blog and the online shop are both outlets for me to do what all while being a mom. I sell all my goods online through my website and am I continuing to grow!
What year did you start up Simply May blog?
I started the blog when I was 22 or so. I wrote it as an outlet with my shop. At that point I was not committed and would only blog maybe once every few months. Its been around for ever and is finally getting traction!
You mentioned your thirst for creativity. What else was the inspiration and/or training behind starting your blog, skin care and clothing line?
I went to school for fashion retail/design at MATC in Madison Wisconsin. After graduating, at the young age of 21 I opened up a clothing boutique on state street in Madison. I operated that for five years as a buyer of other brands and sold some of my designs as well. I then moved to Chicago and got a job as a data broker (completely different field but wanted a break from fashion). After my first daughter was born, I started designing again and making clothes for her and myself. That led me into what I have today.
What are some of your proudest moments with your business where you said “wow, I did that”?
Designing my first full collection was a big moment for me. Felt really great!
Please share any business advice/tips with our mamas out there.
My greatest advice for running a business and being a mom is always plan in advance. You never know what is going to come up with the kids and so if you always put yourself ahead of the game you will be prepared for any setbacks that might come up. Also, ask for help when you need it! You can’t do everything yourself 100% if the time! But also give yourself grace, if something needs to wait, do it when you can but always try to stay on track.
Is it important (or necessary) for you to have a career outside of being a mother?
For me, I need to have a creative outlet in life. It’s just always been something that helps keep me happy. I also love showing my girls that they can do this too. This business is more than a business its showing my kids that they too can do what they are passionate about in life.
When parenting gets hard, what’s something you tell yourself that gets you through?
Enjoy the ups and downs! Not really so much enjoy but just no that the ups will be coming soon! It’s always like this in life, not just parenting. 🙂
What’s on the horizon for your business? Future aspirations, plans….
I am excited to start wholesaling my line to different boutiques in the area! So you will have somewhere to go in and shop in person other than my website. And just continuing to grow and reach more people in general.
Go get ’em girl! If you’re interested in reaching out to Katie May, shopping her collections and getting great inspo, please do!
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