We had the good fortune of connecting with Mikayla Roux and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Mikayla, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factors behind my success and the success of my brand, M Designs by Mikayla, would be characterized by my purpose and passions in life. M Designs by Mikayla exists to produce modern calligraphy for weddings and events, create stickers, as well as make digital art. What started out as my high school hobby has grown to become one of my greatest passions! Now, as a college student at Northern Arizona University, I consider myself blessed to have a job that allows me to do what I love: make art.

I live by the mantra, “Created to Create.” My faith in Christ plays a significant role in why I do what I do; it gives me purpose in my business, and ultimately purpose in life. My art is an expression of my passion for the Lord. Through my art, I hope to enhance the beauty in the world by being attentive to the “little things” in life. My business allows me to influence the smiles on individuals’ faces and the joy in their hearts. This translates into the delight I then receive as the artist. I have been fortunate enough to have either attended or made art for important life events, such as weddings or showers. My customers are so kind in allowing me to participate in their special days. Ultimately, I love encouraging people and witnessing their happiness. My first love for God allows me to then love people to the fullest.

As I mentioned before, I started this small business as a high school student. Growing up in Alaska, I have had the opportunity to connect with various artists and local small businesses across the state. I especially love doing calligraphy and signage for destination weddings and elopements in Alaska. Working with these local business owners at a young age, however, has required me to stay focused and organized. As a college student now, balancing schoolwork with my business has proven difficult at times. Despite this, I always think back to my “why” as an artist. Every time I think about the wonderful connections and friendships I have made in this industry, and the opportunities God has presented me with, I remember how blessed I am to do what I love while also impacting others in small aspects along the way.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Ever since I was young, handwriting and calligraphy has been a passion of mine. I remember practicing my signature and cursive in sketchbooks or on scrap pieces of paper. I loved the idea of taking words of meaning, which are already beautiful as words themselves, and making them visually appealing. Aesthetics have always been important to me. I love finding things with potential, and enhancing their beauty. In my early teenage years, I began to make decor and chalkboard art for church events, family birthdays, baby showers, and also just for fun. This is what began my process of commissioning art pieces for others. My business grew by word of mouth, mainly by my mom and her friends. Slowly but consistently, my little hobby evolved into M Designs by Mikayla. I then decided to create a business Instagram account, as I realized social media is one of the most effective ways to market products and services these days. Creating art locally, as well as participating in various photoshoots and collaborations with other small businesses, has most definitely aided me in establishing my brand and name. Now, as a college student, I continue to make art. As we all know and have experienced, the COVID pandemic has really taken a toll on the economy, especially small businesses. The wedding industry suffered greatly. We have seen an increase in the amount of couples deciding to elope as a result. This was a great opportunity for me to make elopement announcements or signage for small intimate wedding ceremonies. I also kept myself busy learning how to make more digital art during my time in quarantine. This was very beneficial for my business, as I began to expand into new territory as an artist and business owner. Graphic design and creating logos quickly became something I love. My iPad became one of my favorite mediums to make art with; I love drawing, designing, and doing calligraphy on it!

Ultimately, when people see my designs, I want people to see well-crafted art that exudes encouragement and joy. It is my hope that the quality of my work reflects the care I have for my customers! I try to keep my art simple but beautiful. The inspiration behind much of my art is rooted in the “little things” and simple pleasures of life. M Designs by Mikayla is more than just art. I like the idea that it is an experience, for both myself and my dear customers. I am blessed to have opportunities to interact with people of varying backgrounds. I also hope to inspire others. Specifically, I hope to show young entrepreneurs how it truly is possible to be passionate about one’s own work, and that one’s endeavors are possible through determination and diligence.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, but am going to school in Flagstaff, Arizona at Northern Arizona University. One of the reasons I chose to go to school here is because it offered a new, exciting environment, but also reminded me a bit of home. Personally, I love coffee shops, doing homework and art. If I were to take a friend around Flagstaff, I would start at either Val’s Coffee or Foret Flg. Both are amazing cafes that offer not only great drinks and various foods, but lovely, aesthetic work environments. Something that Flagstaff is well known for is the clear view of the stars. In fact, there are special street lights that are scattered throughout town rather than normal lights, so that there is less light pollution. Because of this, I absolutely love stargazing. One spot that gives not only a great view of the sky, but also looks out to the city, is the Lowell Observatory lookout. Furthermore, downtown, specifically the historic district, is very nice. This area has a variety of small shops, restaurants, and more. I happen to really enjoy the tea shops around here, as well as this one gourmet candy, gelato, and sweets store, called The Sweet Shoppe!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Besides my family, who has played an integral role in my story, someone who has really encouraged me as an artist is Tina Thompson. Tina Thompson, along with her daughter Cassie, own and operate a boutique style rentals, event styling, and floral business in Alaska called Wild Poppy AK. I first met Tina when she reached out to me on Instagram a few years ago. We connected and she invited me to be part of a styled, boho-themed wedding shoot. I did all the calligraphy for the chalkboard signs and name plates. Prior to this, I was unaware of all the details that went into creating styled photoshoots and collaborations such as this. This experience really exposed me to the wedding industry, and the significant role small businesses have within communities. It also revealed to me the importance of networking and connecting with others–especially with local artists. Throughout the whole experience, Tina really took me under her wing, encouraging me, as well as giving me some advice as a young small business owner. This photoshoot opened doors for me, as I was also able to take part in more collaborations later on. Photoshoots, such as this, are more than just creating content or for marketing purposes, but to also learn from others and share common passions. Tina Thompson is not only one of the most talented business owners that I know, but one of the kindest people. She really works from the heart, and her love for the Lord and others is evident through her actions and work!.

Website: https://mikaylaroux.wixsite.com/love-m

Instagram: @mdesigns.mikaylaroux

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/mikaylaroux

Other: Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MdesignsByMikayla

Image Credits
For The Turning Page Photo Co.–Sabrina Patterson Donna Marie Photography –Donna Marie The Hitched Hiker –Alexa Hudson Erica Rose Photography –Erica Rose

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