This story appears in the Pre-Spring 2014 issue of Eidé Magazine. Read it here, or click here to read it in the issue.
Story by Christina Montford | Photography by Brianna Roth
A business venture, a wager and a good ol' fashioned glass of bourbon. That and a little fate is what brought Brian May, creative director of Maycreate Idea Group, a premier Chattanooga advertising and digital agency, to his soulmate, wife and business partner Erin May.
It’s strange to imagine that the current co-founders of both Maycreate and Us + U iPad accessories didn’t instantly fall in love. “Initially she didn’t like me,” Brian says. “I think it’s because I yelled and hung up on her boss at the time. I think that was the first time she’d had anybody show her you can stand for what you believe in.”
Despite a rocky start in their business relationship, Erin finally saw a softer side to her soon-to-be beau after stumbling upon some paintings that he had done years prior. Being a former art history major herself who is currently responsible for establishing listings for over 100 houses and commercial buildings on the National Registry of Historic places, Brian struck gold by appealing to her inner art connoisseur. Erin finally allowed Brian to take her on a date. “She drank bourbon the first night we went out,” Brian says laughing. “I thought that was pretty cool.”
Brian, a very “go with your gut” type of guy, knew from one of their initial outings she was the one he wanted to grow old with. “After our first lunch date I came back and told one of the guys that worked for me that was who I’m going to marry,” Brian says. “He bet me 50 bucks that it wasn’t going to happen. He still owes me the 50,” he says with a wink.
Where most couples would falter, Brian and Erin thrive. They are together 24 hours a day, almost seven days a week, and they couldn’t be happier. Morning rides to work filled with discussions of the day ahead, and trips home in the evening injected with murmurs about the days’ gripes in between sweet nothings, are what keep this couple going.
A running theme of their advertising company is to “burn the box — it’s the only way to ensure you’ll never get back in it.” Brian and Erin apply this never-get-stuck-in-a-rut attitude to their relationship as well. “We always want to be spontaneous,” Erin says. “I’ve become a lot more comfortable with risk. I had to learn to trust him.”
Fiery, spontaneous and balls-to-the-wall intense, Brian contrasts Erin’s calm, nurturing and sensible business approach. But like magnets, their differences act as a glue to keep them together, rather than a wedge. After 10 years of marriage, it’s hard for either to imagine life any other way.
“It’s not perfect,” Brian admits. “We still have our ups and downs, but I can’t think of not being married. It’s just knowing that someone has my back no matter what I’ve done; I always know she’s there and doesn’t judge me and she’s not going to disown me if I make a mistake.”
“Just having someone that knows you more than you think anyone could ever know you,” Erin says as her eyes well up. “So you don’t really have to step up and explain yourself or say if something’s wrong. They just know.