The Minis: Kira MacLean - Founder of Kiraamaa.com
Hi Kira! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Kira MacLean and I am the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Kiraamaa.com, a fashion, beauty, travel, and lifestyle website. I'm also an avid Instagrammer and Content Creator, with a personal brand that is focused on curated travel, fashion, and lifestyle recommendations that promote individuality and self growth. I have traveled extensively to over 30+ countries, lived abroad for a year in Crete, and was a oncology researcher at Harvard Medical School before I launched into my current career as a UX Designer and Developer. I have been immersed in the world of blogging and social media marketing for 4 years, and am based in Boston.
How did you decide to pursue UX design? What has your path looked like since making that decision?
I started thinking about computer science and web development after my first internship at a biochemistry lab when we used a bit of code to automate some of our research processes. I kind of wrote off a career as a software developer/designer because I thought it was too late given my degree and lack of desire to go back to school. My boyfriend (a UX designer himself) was actually the first person to tell me that I should pursue what makes me happy, and helped me realize that I could still work in the tech sector even if I had an unorthodox path. I enrolled in a web development bootcamp with the idea of doing web development and design, and haven't regretted it since finishing the course in January. I ended up finding a really fantastic hybrid job as the lone designer (and female developer) at a company that is rapidly revamping all of their UX and visual design, and it has been awesome to have such a huge impact on what the customers see and experience. UX is one of those things that people don't immediately think about but has a huge effect on whether websites feel intuitive or not, and a lot of companies are now realizing they can add immense business value to their products by shifting their focus to more UX-friendly designs. I think my path forward will be much more design-oriented, and I'd love to explore some of the more logistics, product-oriented roles in tech.
You seem to travel quite a bit! Could you share with us some of your favorite travel memories?
I think all of my travel memories are my favorites but trekking to Finn's Beach Club in Bali to spend a day basking in the sun at the most beautiful hidden beach I've ever seen, eating the best green curry of my life with my extended family at a restaurant lofted over a lagoon in Thailand, meandering lazily through the Musee Picasso and then to an ivy-covered cafe for brioche in Paris by myself, and driving across Iceland with my boyfriend to see a foggy, ethereal sunset at a black sand beach are some of my highlights. My entire life's goal is to travel and experience as many cultures as I can and so far it has be phenomenal.
What is your relationship with photography - passion, hobby, potential career? And how has the photography community in Boston helped you to expand your knowledge and skill?
I actually hadn't thought of myself as a photographer until recently--even after chronicling my life for over four years on a daily basis and being inducted into a local photography group IGBoston--mostly because I didn't have a professional-grade camera (I took all my photos with my iPhone, and now use my iPhone and boyfriend's DSLR). I realized that being a photographer, especially nowadays, isn't solely about technical skill but is also based in an eye for composition, style, and light. I love documenting the people, places, and things that I come in contact with, and one of the best things about photography is that it not only allows me to have a record of an incredible moment forever but also elevates the mundane to art. The local Instagram photography community definitely played a huge role in this, and going to portrait meets as both a photographer and a model helped me come into my own as both. I'm not sure if I'll ever pursue photography seriously but I know that it brings a great deal of beauty and joy into my life and I'll be recording my days indefinitely.
What are some of your favorite places in and around Boston?
As far as food goes, I love Committee in Seaport for brunch (get the french toast!), Juliet in Somerville for lunch, and Bar Mezzana in the South End for summer dinners. Fashion-wise, I'll stop into Steven Alan on Newbury for curated essentials, Dress in Beacon Hill for denim and purses, and go to Louis when I want to ogle beautiful couture. I also love Follain and Aesop for beauty essentials!