Daniel's Spot Pick: Sobaya in St. James Square
Daniel's Order: Shrimp Bowl
"So I don't really know what you are looking for, but I am not one of those guys that just got an internship and moved up."
He was telling the truth.
This self-taught User Experience Designer has had a wild and strange path to his current position building solutions for Fortune 500 companies.
Daniel O'Sullivan is a 5th generation Murrells Inlet native from a line of Sea Captains. A descendent of the Morse family (see: Morse Landing Park), he spent much of his college years running the family catering company: Low Country Clam Bakes and Shrimp Boils.
This guy is as Grand Strand as they get.
However, there is so much more to Daniel's story than this. As I filled up on some delicious bibimbap, he indulged me on a short summary of his life:
At the ripe old age of 12, his father taught him AutoCAD for architectural design, so naturally he worked full time drafting high rises at a local architecture firm while attending Coastal Carolina for biology (Zinger? I thought so too.)
In addition to clam bakes, shrimp boils, college, and crafting the Towers on the Grove, 20 year old Daniel was also TAKING PILOT LESSONS, executing a NATIONAL ONLINE MARKETING CAMPAIGN for a local line of skin care products, and ILLUSTRATING A MEDICAL NOVEL. Are you impressed yet?
Well after finishing all of this, he looked back on his full 21 years of life and decided that the logical next step was to get married and start a family. So he convinced Catherine Dunn to take his last name, and they celebrated their union with (low-key) 800 of their closest friends.
His world took an unexpected turn in 2009 when the real estate market crashed, and there were no more buildings to design for a while. He decided to spend a year learning the Adobe Creative Suite and hitting the streets to help local businesses with their marketing and design needs.
"I have always really liked people. Even now when i am sitting at my computer to design something, it is with people in mind."
Eventually he got a job designing fire alarm systems for Simplex Grinnell, and in four short years had become the CAD supervisor for the southeast coast. Outside of his day job, he began helping the businesses in his live-work townhouse neighborhood with their branding.
His first client came from the usual morning walk with his dogs. He noticed that his friend with a barbershop in his neighborhood could use a fresh logo. So he made his friend a trendy new brand in exchange for haircuts. That was the pivotal exchange that led to FreshCoast Creatives, a design agency by Daniel O'Sullivan.
For a year, Daniel continued to work at Simplex Grenelle by day, and design fresh brands by night. He traded services in most cases, which got him skydiving lessons among many other adventures. He will be the first to admit that he had no idea what he was doing at first.
"I didn't even own a computer when i offered to design a logo for the barbershop. my philosophy has always been to say yes and then figure it out. it has worked pretty well for me so far."
After starting FreshCoast Creatives, Daniel ended up winning 2nd place at a Google Startup Weekend in Charleston for a property management application. Shortly after, he got together with some new friends from Startup Weekend and created a mobile app that is like Tinder, specifically for bearded men and the women that love them. Yes. That is right. And it was called Single-Beards (later changed to Timber). Those relationships got FreshCoast clients all over the nation.
"That whole dating app endeavor came about because I had just started my beard oil company called captain Face."
Captain Face. Really.
"I found that if you can make a logo and have a sense for marketing you can pop a company out of nowhere."
Ladies and Gentlemen. Daniel O'Sullivan.
Since then he has been scooped up by local powerhouse ArchetypeSC as a UX Designer. Working at ArchetypeSC has been a game changer for Daniel. He explains the people and clients as extremely high caliber and touts the amazing company culture.
"We are treated like family: Always getting the push to be better, and the support to thrive right where we are. My boss actually took me to a local surf shop for my first performance review and told me to get one custom made on him."
His dream for the Grand Strand is for the Tech Dream to be realized for more people here. He isn't the traditional techie, but this career has proven to be ideal for him.
"I didn't even know my job existed a few years ago."