Originally from the suburbs of Philadelphia, Carolyn Walker always had the dream of owning her own design agency. After years of working for various businesses - both the good and the bad - Carolyn realized her worth as a creator and took the leap of faith to finally follow her dreams.
FOR THE LOVE OF ART & DESIGN
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a passion and natural calling for art and design. I grew up creating custom greeting cards, designing random pieces of art for my family and constantly learning from tutorials I found online.
Unlike a lot of designers, I started learning the art of graphic design in High School. I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to take electives throughout my high school career where I grew my knowledge in the top design programs like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. This ultimately gave me an advantage when I went to pursue my Bachelors Degree in Graphic Design at Monmouth University as I found myself ahead of the curve on my knowledge of the programs.
My desire to learn more and get my hands on any new projects I could pushed my creativity to new boundaries that had me falling in love with the industry even more.
I had the pleasure of interning for several small businesses and organizations and ultimately began the idea of Careiginal my sophomore year of college as a freelancer. I deeply believe in the power of internship programs and owe it to them for giving me a firsthand look at how to deal with clients and how important a brand is for a company.
After graduation, I was lucky enough to land a full time paid internship at an application design firm, Proscape Technologies. Throughout my internship, I learned how to help a variety of businesses adapt their sales techniques into an innovative approach to capture the attention of their target audience. This was done by designing custom applications that were used during sales presentations and trade shows. My favorite project during this internship was a creative interpretation of the FIFA World Cup, giving fans a virtual experience of the tournament.
I furthered my experience in corporate design working as a full time graphic designer for three other, very different, companies — Vertical Screen, Safeguard Business Systems and Windstream Enterprises (then Broadview Networks). Being a fast paced designer with the desire to create new and innovative projects on a daily basis, I found out quickly that the corporate world was not the route I saw myself staying in.
GROWTH AS A DESIGNER
I’ve always had an entrepreneur mindset and used Careiginal to drive my passions. I had a vision of working for a variety of companies and helping small businesses illuminate their brands. Doing something different every day just excites me — the tingly feeling that I was helping more than one company build a presence, both online and through print, is simply indescribable.
Throughout my freelancing opportunities, I designed everything from logos, brochures, menus, business cards, decals, signage, postcards, email campaigns, social media graphics and more. I had the pleasure of working with a wide variety of businesses across the PR, financial, healthcare, non profit, hospitality and service arenas.
My aha moment as a graphic designer was when I developed a series of wine labels for Christian Milan’s Viva Diva Wines, through my partnership with Illumination PR. I've also proudly designed multiple magazine spreads that were published in top magazines such as Teen People, Seventeen, Vogue and more.
Throughout my early partnership with Illumination PR, I’ve had the pleasure of designing for a variety of celebrities and companies such as Christina Milian, JWoww, Mike “the Situation” Sorrentino, Big Ang, GBK Productions, Prive IV, Hyper Elevation, Birch Event Design and more.
MY LAST GIG
In February of 2018, I was hired by one of my freelance clients as a full time Senior Graphic Designer — a small marketing firm in the Poconos. They knew I had an entrepreneur mindset and sold me on their big dreams and vision they had for the brand, and me as an entering leader in the company.
Starting as a Social Media Agency, I used my previous experiences and expertise to grow this company into a full marketing agency in under a year. I created the designs and marketing strategies for the parent company, their restaurant group and a group of local clients. Within months of being hired, I was promoted to Marketing Director and brought on a small team of creatives. I was loving it because I was in my zone and doing what I always wanted to do.
For over two years, I worked as a Marketing Director with many hats. These roles included graphic designer, web designer, web developer, social media specialist, printer, human resources, painter, accountant, photographer, videographer, client relations, sales, payroll operator, copywriter, host, assistant, email marketer, director, event planner and more.
I learned a lot at my previous job. Including: how I’d want to run a business; how not to run a business; and most importantly, my worth and value as a creator and human being. If I was looking for a sign to make Careiginal a reality, nothing was screaming louder.
I quit my last job on September 2, 2020 and immediately went into entrepreneurship mode. With clients and partnerships already on my roster, I applied to become an LLC and finally became official the week of my birthday in October.
We have the honor of working with a variety of local and national brands across the public relations, healthcare, service, celebrity, hospitality, non-profit and retail industries. From logo designs, content creation, website design and development, merchandise designs, digital marketing, social media marketing, photography, videography and print design, we are proud to be your preferred creative vendor.
We are now less than two months away from the one year anniversary of the start of Careiginal Designs. I am beyond proud of what Devin and I have been able to accomplish in just one year and cannot wait to see what the future has in store.
MORE TO CAROLYN
I am a natural entrepreneur and love to be knees deep in a list of tasks and projects. But, when I am not getting lost creating and growing Careiginal, you can find me playing with my energetic fur baby, Nala Rose; traveling with my better half; or touring all of the wineries of the Poconos.
Phew, that was a book. Thank you for taking the time to read my story, it’s a pleasure to virtually meet you! Feel free to say hello in the comments or send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org to introduce yourself (: