• Allison Russom

Small Business Highlight: Lulu and May

The tagline on Lulu and May’s website reads, “Creative crafts that speak to you.” and for owner Lubita Ibrahim, that’s her favorite aspect of her business: connecting with her customers. Her products include sweatshirts, t-shirts, stickers, glass cans, tote bags, keychains, stationary, and Save the Date wedding invitations, as well as small business owner supplies like thank you cards and thank you stickers. Lubita started Lulu and May two years ago after going through a particularly rough time in her life. She had received an iPad as a gift and started using it to draw her first designs. The first product that she released was a digital planner. The more products she started to design, the more she loved it, so she started focusing more on her business. At the beginning of Lulu and May, Lubita was studying for a degree in Teaching, but she realized that wasn’t for her and switched her major to Business Management with a concentration in Entrepreneurship. And here she is, two years later, with nearly a hundred products! You can shop her website here.

There is one product on her website that I just fell in love with once I saw it, and that’s her Save the Date Boarding Pass Wedding Invitations. It includes everything that would be on a boarding pass, like the date, flight number, destination, and gate, but the information about the wedding is used instead. They come in multiple colors, and you can buy them in bulk or just one. I asked Lubita what the inspiration behind these invitations was. “I actually had a friend that was getting married, and she came to me personally with the idea of the boarding pass…And so I gave it a shot, and once she had posted it on TikTok, it completely went viral, and I realized that I should probably make it a product.” The Boarding Pass Invitations will always be special to Lubita because of her friend’s inspiration, but she also just loves to make them. They are a unique touch to anybody’s wedding experience!

I asked Lubita what has been the most surprising thing about owning her business. She has done markets and pop-ups in the area, and every time her customers show up for her. They tell her how much her products have impacted them, big or small and she loves being able to see their faces when she gives them one of her products. It’s priceless, and she remembers every one of those moments. Another thing that has surprised her is how her creative well keeps refilling, and she keeps being able to create the designs she loves. She said, “When I first started it [Lulu and May], I expected to have a bunch of creative blocks, which I did, but with every product, I feel like it opens doors to more creative ideas for me. And it’s just an ongoing cycle that I feel like would interest me for the rest of my life.” I love that Lubita is such a passionate business owner and loves what she does. You can follow Lulu and May on Instagram and TikTok to see which event Lubita will be at next.

Lubita’s products are nostalgic and fun, but all of her designs are simple and beautiful. From her ‘Take It Easy’ sweatshirt and t-shirt design to her ‘Iced Coffee Please’ sticker, Lubita puts all of what she loves into them, and that’s simplicity and minimalism. I asked her if she would say that the minimalist style is Lulu and May’s signature. “For example, my sweaters, it’s minimalistic quotes, but those have a lot of power and meaning behind them. And there’s a lot of people that like minimalistic things, and it’s just what I love to do.” Lubita also talked about how she needs to stay true to the style she loves to be able to produce the best products for her customers. “I feel like it’s really important when you are creating products to create stuff that you’d actually use. I have always heard ‘cater more to the customer,’ but I don’t think the products will be as authentic and creatively you if I did that.” As a business owner, knowing what products you want to make/sell is very important to a brand, and I love that Lubita knows exactly what her vision looks like for her business.

Lulu and May also have a Custom Vintage Polaroid Sticker (below) that you can put any photo you like on it as well as a little phrase below the photo. They are beyond adorable, and so is the reason why Lubita created them. “My daughter was actually the inspiration for it because I had taken a polaroid photo of her ever since she’s been born, and it was my favorite thing to do.” Lubita loves products that are focused on capturing a memory and being able to relive it for as long as possible. She said this about her product: “I feel like there is a difference between a camera roll photo and polaroid photos. It’s just so much sentiment, and so I really wanted to make and sell a product that people could just carry around everywhere.” You can find the Custom Vintage Polaroid Sticker here!

And last but not least, I asked Lubita what she loved most about being a small business in Memphis. She said, “Probably the main ones are the ability to be creative within my field. There’s no restrictions, there’s no rules I have to abide by if I were in a regular corporate job. It gives you so much more flexibility.” Also, she just enjoys meeting her customers and interacting with other small business owners when she does pop-ups around town. Hearing their stories about how they started and getting to know them as people are some of the most memorable moments that are connected to her business. Lubita told me that she would have never thought that she would be where she is today, but no doubt, she loves every minute of it!

Thank you to Lubita Ibrahim for speaking with me and being able to share the story of Lulu and May! Here is all of Lulu and May’s social media (Instagram and TikTok) and website. And if you are a small business in the Memphis area and would like to be featured on our blog, you can contact us here: blog@theprofitlink.com. Or if you would like to listen to our podcast, The Profit Link-Up, where we also feature local small businesses, you can head to our Podcast tab or search The Profit Link-Up on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Thank you so much for reading!

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