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1/30/2013 5:46:00 PM
Centerville HS sophomore starts hat company
Community news staff

CENTERVILLE — A 15-year-old Centerville High School sophomore will reveal her new-found hat designing abilities this Friday, Feb. 1 in the Oregon District in downtown Dayton.
Samantha Hughes, along with her step mom, Julia, will not only launch their new company, May Michael Design, at the shop called Brim, Samantha is the featured designer for that evening and will be on hand to answer questions. Brim was launched in September by a Beavercreek couple.
Samantha is excited to showcase her skills in designing hats that she only just discovered last year. Her step mom, Julia, who is a fashion designer and mentors young Samantha on the construction and design of each hat, is quick to point out that Samantha “has had a knack for design and fine arts since she was a young child.”
“From interior design to greeting cards, Samantha has never been daunted by an idea and can often be found immersed in paints and brushes,” said Julia.
On a whim, Julia said, last summer Samantha grabbed a hat that Julia was working on for last year’s Art Ball at the Dayton Art Institute and Samantha returned an hour later with what Julia called a stunning finished product. The hat was Julia’s great aunt’s old bonnet from the 1930’s.
Julia said, at the Art Ball, “people wanted to buy it (the hat) off my head.”
It was then both Julia and Samantha realized Samantha’s real talent. The two travelled to Chicago for a “semester in a weekend” event, learning hat making construction and design skills from a professor outside of Chicago.
“We went in knowing nothing,” said Samantha. And they came out, “confident and educated,” said Julia, who admitted that they also came out with blisters on their fingers.
Once they gained the knowledge to make hats, they decided to go into business. But they needed a name for their company. Both agreed the name should come from their family. May is a family name and Samantha’s middle name, while Michael is Julia’s father’s name. After discussion one night, Julia woke up the next morning with May Michael Design.
With the name set, Samantha and Julia went to work, with Samantha designing the hats and Julia helping with construction and design. Samantha said she’s inspired by high fashion and music.
“I think it’s really cool, the great ideas she comes up with,” commented Julia.
Samantha explained that when she comes home, it might have been her worst day, but her day brightens when she puts on a great hat.
“It shows who you are,” said Samantha.
Sarah Puckett, an art teacher at Centerville High School, commented that she thought Samantha “is a fabulous lady with a quiet ambition who has sparked into something beautiful with her pursuit of her business.”
Puckett added, “In art class, she was the diligent worker who gave her best in every project and excelled in the different media we studied. She is very talented with a creative mind. I think we are going to see these traits go beyond the art classroom and art projects now into a business.”
Most hats by May Michael Design range from $50-$250. One of their hats has sold for $285, but Julia said the two of them have determined that success for this duo will be when a famous person wears one of their hats. You can contact May Michael Design by email at The hat company is still working on a website.

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