December 8, 2019

This Jewish Female-Owned Brand Inspires Freedom of Expression in Unique Way

May Katz has made it her mission to spread the gospel of love and positivity one T-shirt at a time.

As a graphic designer, she worked relentlessly on functional design for client logos, brochures and websites. But, she wanted to create something that would uplift, unify, and inspire.

She envisioned a life creating emotional design that would enable people to fully express their authentically pure and vulnerable selves by shining a light on the plethora of layers that make each of us uniquely special.

And so, WearBU was born to offer graphic T-shirts that help people speak their truth, show how they feel, and say who they are in an enriching way.  

I interviewed Katz (CEO of WearBU) to get the scoop on her journey through creating the graphic T-shirt brand.  

Jewish Journal: What compelled you to create WearBU?

May Katz: I was motivated to create design that has the power to inspire and touch people to their deepest core. Specifically, I gravitated towards design that captures emotion and will allow people to express themselves openly. What better way to do that than to design the clothes we wear?

I decided to start with graphic T-shirts but more will be added shortly, including bags, accessories, etc. I wanted to help people use their most valuable advertisement space, which is the clothes they wear, and to express their beliefs (no matter what they are as long as they are not offensive), their emotions, their relationships, and themselves in a valuable and positive way. There is so much negativity going on in this world nowadays so if designs with phrases like “let all that you do be done in love, “walk in love,” and “love never fails” help people spread the love, then I will feel like we succeeded.

JJ:  Explain the meaning and inspiration behind the name WearBU?

Katz: BU stands for Be Unique. One of our followers wrote to us on Instagram a few days ago and she really captured the true inspiration behind the brand. The follower said, “They are a company that stands for being unique. Being yourself. That’s why they are called Wear BU. Each one of you should own who you are because you are different and that’s what makes you beautiful! It would be awfully boring if we were all the same. Let people see the real, imperfect, flawed, quirky, weird, beautiful, and magical person that you are.”

Every shirt is a vivid journey, a captured experience of self-love and self-expression bottled and preserved in a cotton tee with designs separated into two main categories – Faith and Inspiration. The Bible inspires many of my designs. As a Jewish woman living in the center of the Bible Belt (Dallas, TX), I’m inspired by the Old and New Testament alike. I use a lot of Hebrew in many of my designs as a form of expression. All I want is to give people the opportunity to be proud by wearing their statement and sharing it with the world around them.

JJ: Describe your experience as the CEO of WearBU.  

Katz: I never really considered myself to be a CEO of a company. I guess I am in a way. Owning and managing a business as a woman, a mother, and a wife is not an easy task to say the least. WearBU is there. So are my husband and my girls. WearBU is actually another child for me. I view it as my baby, always waking me up at nights. No matter the time, I constantly feel like I have to go check up on it and see how it’s doing. It is more than a business to me. It is a huge piece of me. I was working in several businesses in the past. It was work nothing more and nothing less. With WearBU I’m blushing with every like on Facebook. Seeing a person that I do not know wearing my design on the street is like winning a Noble Prize for me. It means significantly more than any job I worked at and any degree I’ve earned.

I was born in Israel and lived there for many years. Israel is part of who I am even after living in the United States for many years. The challenges of living in such a small and multicultural country stays with me. The religious and cultural dilemmas are part of my identity. WearBU was established to spread a message. A message of love and co-existence. If my designs can make a tiny difference in this world, it will be worth it.

JJ: What role does your family play in launching WearBU?

Katz: My family is the center of my life. I have a loving husband and two adorable girls. I believe that family is the most important thing in life and should be cherished and expressed. My designs focus exactly on that our relationship with each other, with God, and with the world in a positive way. The goal is to show how powerful our love, sense of belonging, and relationships can be in spreading a joyful and optimistic future.

JJ: What makes WearBU different from other faith based T-shirt lines?

Katz: That’s actually a good question. At our core, we’re not a faith based t-shirt company. I’m trying to focus on self- expression. Showcasing our beliefs and sharing them in a positive way is an important layer of that as faith is a component to expressing who we are and what we believe in. We embrace it all (Jewish, Christian, Muslim, atheist..) and emphasize acceptance in the name of positivity.  For example, I’m Jewish and proud of it. I express it everyday even though I live in a very Christian society. At the same time, I also love learning about my neighbors’ beliefs. Diversity is fascinating to me. So, WearBU designs work towards helping people express themselves no matter who they are with faith as one of the many building blocks.

JJ: What role has Judaism played in your journey through creating WearBU?

Katz: I practice Judaism, even though I do not consider myself to be religious. I speak Hebrew and English at home and so do my kids. I am enchanted by the holiness attributed with the Hebrew language. It is such a beautiful and unique language. The Bible is the most beautiful love book of all times. The Song of Songs was relevant 2,000 years ago as it is relevant today. In my designs, I try to combine my Jewish roots and my Christian surroundings using Hebrew and English scriptures as one of the many forms of self-expression.

JJ: What’s your goal with WearBU?

Katz: I’m not looking to become a big brand. I am more interested in giving people the tools to articulate exactly who they are in a positive way. One of my most popular t-shirts is the Semite t-shirt.  Many of my buyers wrote to me that the word Semite is so deeply associated with the word anti-Semitism that that they felt that wearing the shirt gave them the opportunity to proudly express the fact that they are Jewish, that they are Semite, and that they are PROUD of it. I hope I’m not sounding like a Miss Universe competitor, but if I can contribute just a little bit to this world so that people would look at each other based on who they are and not based on what they are, I would be a very happy person.

BereniceFamili is the CEO and founder of the Jewish emoji app Shalomoji and a Los Angeles based writer who covers lifestyle, health, and entrepreneurship.