What inspired us to start Darling Spring: An Experience on Intentional Living
They say relocation is one of the most challenging experiences in life. It is true. When we crossed the Atlantic Ocean three years ago, we embarked on a journey that transformed us end-to-end. Moving out of your comfort zone is never easy, but it is also a chance to rediscover one's best self. We took that chance, and it ended up being a unique experience that allowed us to rebuild ourselves the way we wanted to be.
Adaptation began with an attempt to bring a sense of order in a chaotic world. Making our new place feel like home was a milestone in that process. But how does one create the feeling of home in a new world?
Growing up in the birthplace of slow living (we are the daughters of the Mediterranean), we knew life was best realized slowly. So we slowed down. To the sliver of a moment, to a breath, to a sensation. We paused and reflected. We nourished an awareness where we could enjoy life's simple pleasures slowly.
And by allowing ourselves to do that, we transformed our everyday routines into delightful experiences. We formed our rituals, habits afresh and let them gradually set in our new life. We basked in the pleasure and simplicity of shaping a slow, sustainable, and meaningful life. Adaptation gradually evolved into a sense of belonging and our home, into a space where everything felt right. We made a home in our new world: Her heart was calm. My soul was lit. Our thoughts were positive, and our vision clear.
Intentional living had freed time for our passion & creativity and created space for what really brings us joy. It was challenging on every level, but it was also a journey of becoming in which we were lucky enough to find who we were meant to be, and by finding that, the art of slow living became our attitude and a new idea of home had emerged.
What upsets us about our industry?
Slow living allowed us to appreciate good design better. After having had our design studios for several years, the way we viewed design had evolved. We deem good design to be about how we perceive value and meaning and take pleasure from things we use in everyday life. We believe a well-designed object should effortlessly combine elegance, intuitiveness, ease of manufacture, and longevity into a beautifully simple solution.
A good design experience explores new ways of relationship between its key players: Designers, makers, and users. A well-designed object is animated with the maker's energy, infused with life, and is able to create a dialogue with the user. Once it opens up to us, we see the human behind the products and appreciate the wisdom, creativity, and labor put in them that gives us pleasure everytime we use it.
However, this appreciation reveals a problem of representation in our industry. The history of design has been written by both women and men, but there have been times when it was difficult to see where we have had a seat at the table and just how significant our contributions have been. From disparate pay to discrimination, it seems we begin with a disadvantage and have no choice but to fight for equality for the entirety of our careers. So, sadly, if you think that the progressive design industry is immune from gender bias, you are wrong.
Women are under-represented in all design disciplines and workforce. Did you know women make up 94% of buying power for home goods, but the design industry comprises 77% of men and 23% of women? Interestingly enough, the design industry doesn't have a problem attracting women - you don't see gender difference in a school setting; it's only in the professional world that you start to see that. The problem within our industry is in retaining, promoting, and nurturing female designers. Given the current landscape of parity, or lack thereof, women-owned businesses are economically disadvantaged and lack equal opportunity to compete for opportunities. It's even more challenging for independent women creatives; claiming our freedom costs us more work, doubles responsibilities, but the share stays the same.
You may be familiar with the saying "you can't be what you can't see,"-- that goes for the design field, too. We believe good design is about breaking prejudices and being open-minded towards opportunities and challenges of our time. Good design is bound to solve a problem and create change. So it is our commitment as designers, to find new ways to make women more visible in the design industry, inspire, and be the agent of change.
We work to upend the status quo, break down traditional male power structures and motivate women to ply their trade globally because good design also keeps alive the possibility that things could be otherwise. It gives material expression to alternative realities, world views, values, beliefs, priorities, hopes and fears, and dreams.
We believe in creating something useful, something that gives pleasure, and makes the world a better place. That's why as we're trying to right a history of inequality and injustice, we let the pendulum rightfully sway a little far the opposite way until gender parity in our industry is not the exception but the norm. And the world a better place to live.
How we are changing the game: Female creativity shines brighter over here.
Back in 2018, we realized that the homeware retail scene needed something fresh and different and thus began the adventure of creating Darling Spring, a design store where we recreated the mood you'd find in the birthplace of slow living with the most inspiring, modern, design-conscious options. Bringing our idea to life, we created a design store where we'd not limit ourselves to a product, a location, or an event but to a feeling: Savoring life's simple pleasures in a slow fashion.
We imagined a free-spirited space that inspires people with a beautiful aesthetic. We lamented our mutual affinity for nuanced and diverse design and curated a collection with quality merchandise that is mainly tucked away from the mainstream market and execute it with a white-glove service experience.
The idea of Darling Spring was born out of a desire to feel at home wherever we are, and while doing that, we wanted Darling Spring to serve as an awareness and make a statement. We believe investing in our people is the best way to create change. So the day we started Darling Spring, we also started making a tool that gives back to our community. We are set out to use the power of business as a form of creative and political expression to address gender inequality in the design industry. Because we know, as designers by trade, being an independent female creative is challenging, so we are spearheading the conversation on what it takes to be one.
Our motive is to ultimately enable women creatives to find greater equity in their ventures. We relentlessly challenge the status quo and shake the boxes we are put in. That's why we put independent female creatives at our forefront, our collection is curated exclusively by works of our creative community to provide undivided attention and exposure to them.
What lights us up today: It's spring in every box.
Darling Spring is a concept store - a union of culture and commerce where you can discover good design and shop lifestyle luxuries, homewares, art, food - perfectly gift-wrapped.
Darling Spring is a designer store exploring the intersection of slow living, good design, and female creativity. We are here to help you rediscover a slower approach to the everyday with a collection of crafted and curated goods that tell a story and serve a purpose.
Darling Spring represents a life well-lived, savored, and enjoyed slowly. It is about quality, equality, and intentionality. Our collection of home and lifestyle goods blend modern style with time-tested techniques serves as a reminder that faster isn't always better.
Our efforts to reduce waste, extend product life, and slow consumption are our groundwork of purposeful homemaking. We chronicle the art of slow living one piece at a time, offering a unique shopping experience.
Darling Spring is the indie design store for the contemporary home, where you find the most authentic and inspirational products by female creatives. We are fascinated by objects inspired by nature, made by hand, with organic materials. This is why our products are of high quality, aesthetically pleasing, and functional. Everything at Darling Spring is designed with love, curated with taste, and wrapped in pleasure.
Born on a long winter night, Darling Spring embodies the season of growth. We are after a fundamental transformation, just like Spring is a season of change. For in Spring, the divine aspects of femininity arise. Movement and fluidity, instinct and intuition, receiving and protecting, awareness and justice.