This is Me.

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The year was 2013. I was living the lonely life in Winston-Salem with my two dogs, feeling less than thrilled about my job, and staying up all hours of the night bartending to supplement my meager wages at my graphic design / sales / secretary / anything-they-needed job. As a recent design graduate, I knew I enjoyed design, but everything I worked on lacked passion, a critical motivational element for me.

I felt stuck, sad and alone, and generally disappointed in my attempt to start an exciting life for myself with my very first graphic design job in a brand new place. I kept myself entertained by working out, cooking extravagant meals for one and becoming completely absorbed by Netflix’s documentary film section. Luckily for me, I got fired, and as soon as my lease was up, I high-tailed it to Durham to seek refuge with my family and see just what was up with my hometown.

God, it was good to be home. Durham instantly gave me love and began infusing me with the necessary juju to actualize what was growing inside of me. I was learning so much about myself and where I saw my place and purpose in the world and was sitting comfortably with it. I learned about B Corps and people creating businesses and organizations that addressed real problems that we could actually do something about. I was growing a network of likeminded people and felt community in my life in a way I hadn’t experienced before. Then one day, my brother William came to me and said “I have this idea for a thing...”.

Prairie Island, at Morehead and Blackwell in downtown Durham. One of my first outings as The Durham Originals, cutting back kudzu to plant native North Carolina plants. 

Prairie Island, at Morehead and Blackwell in downtown Durham. One of my first outings as The Durham Originals, cutting back kudzu to plant native North Carolina plants. 

I give him full credit him for the name The Durham Originals, but the idea behind it was inspired by the lonely nights I spent streaming documentaries about food in America, politics and government, climate change, polar bears, ice caps, animal cruelty, rainforests, extinction, drugs, poverty, hate, justice, police, water, pollution, fish, the list goes on. It made me mad, it made me sad, and once I realized how receptive Durham was, it made me think that maybe there was something I could do to help heal the world and inspire others to do the same. It made me think that I could do things differently and support those initiatives that would actually help change the world. I was done making meaningless design and began to build my idea into The Durham Originals.

The Women's March in Raleigh.

The Women's March in Raleigh.

And so it’s through The Durham Originals that I can connect with folks like you and explore ideas behind living a life that is kind to the planet. It’s through this platform that I can learn different ways of to doing things and share them with you, so that you can do them too. It’s also through this idea that I have had the honor of creating design for amazing community organizations and businesses that are changing the status quo. To be able to bring beautiful design into the world that has deep and meaningful purpose is a dream come true. And better still, I am teaching and mentoring up-and-coming designers to think about design as an opportunity for change. I’m am so lucky to have meaningful, rich relationships with each one of those people that I collaborate and work with.

The Eco Style Pop Up at Liberation Threads.

The Eco Style Pop Up at Liberation Threads.

In creating The Durham Originals I have found my voice in saying, “business as usual” is no longer acceptable -- we will fail the planet. I invite you to continue to journey with me, ask questions, contribute ideas, and help spread the message. You are the essential piece in all of this.

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In Eternal Gratitude

-Daria

 
Daria Drake