By Sheila Amir
On August 2nd, 2016 in Durham, North Carolina an idea took off and look where that got us.
It’s hard to BULLieve everything that has happened in the last three years since I gave into the Muse and ran with the bulls. The idea had haunted me for weeks and then that fateful night while enjoying Pompieri Pizza, the Bull City Burger and Brewery sign wiggled at me. Yes, wiggled. No, there was no wind. Yes, I had been drinking. No, nothing had touched the sign to wiggle it, just a little bit.
I didn’t know at that time Durham would turn 150 in exactly 919 days. I didn’t know I was sitting one block up from Bartlett Durham’s cursed corner and just miles away from the largest Civil War surrender that set into motion a series of events that would create the Durham we know and love today.
I didn’t know why Durham was called the Bull City or that we stole the bull from a condiment company that would come to hate me. So salty. The idea of Bull Love Mugs didn’t exist. I had no idea if the book would ever come to be, let alone two books! All I knew I love Durham.
I began the project with $0 and zero connections in Durham. All I had was a love of Durham, an idea, and just enough wine in me to BULLieve anything was possiBULL. And that’s how the most expensive idea I’ve ever had was conceived, like nearly everything and everyone else - on a beautiful night after too much alcohol.
Three years later, that idea is a book that launched right on time featuring Durham’s history from 1701 to February 2019 and over 120 Durhamite interviews.
What’s more, there was so much bull it couldn’t all fit into one giant book - a tome. “Welcome to the Bull City - a Prelude to the Bulls of Durham” mini-book quickly became the bestselling book in Durham. In a time of darkness and adversity, this little book with big heart showcases love, inclusion, diversity, and Durham real talk. The exact things we all need to read and hear.
We literally, not figuratively, funded this project on love. To date over 4100 Bull Love Mugs have sold in 5 different variations, reaching 43 states (that we know of), 14 countries and 4 continents. All of which was made possiBULL by the incrediBULL women at Moonlight Makers who did the design work, the vendor network we built, and y’all.
The mug was originally designed as a birthday gift for a friend. The first Bull Love Mug purchased from TheBullsOfDurham.com arrived on another supportive friend’s doorstep EXACTLY 1869 miles away, the year Durham was officially incorporated. Durham loves to love Durham and we’ve got the literal receipts on that y’all.
Oh, there’s more. Can’t stop won’t stop because Durham ain’t got no chill.
We’ve built a social media presence of over 13,000 of the most engaged followers in Durham with two subsidiaries @MadeInDurham and @DurGram.Workshop. Because I BULLieve it’s my responsibility to share the Bull City Magic that has been shared with me and to fund this project, I created the DurGram Content Strategy Workshop Series with a graduate network that has a cumulative social media reach of 1.4 million.
The next step is to continue sharing that Bull City Magic in an effort to keep Durham, Durham.
We’re gearing up to release the second edition in a way that is in alignment with The Bulls of Durham, LLC. Media and Publishing Company’s mission statement. Oh, this a good time to mention that little idea grew into a company as well. Hey-oh!
Getting “The Bulls of Durham” out to the masses.
We’re working with our BULLoved and supportive sponsor Capitol Broadcasting to get the book into every Durham Public School. Our young bulls need to know their history and that anything is possiBULL for them because they’re standing in the intersection of grit and grace.
Making the book more affordaBULL and environmentally friendly. Since the launch, I’ve done research to see how we can lower the price point for the book and lessen the environmental impact. I ain’t rolling a Prius for the clout y’all. In the midst of that, printing prices increased dramatically worldwide because of 45. I made the executive decision to print the second edition with paperback covers. Real nice paperback covers.
The second edition will be priced at $29 and preordering is availaBULL now.
Passing the Mic All-Around
We’ve created The Bulls of Durham Community Partnership Program to give small business owners and local entities an opportunity to use our platform and do-good in Durham PLUS help fund the second edition. Because not only can you market your business and do-good at the same time, it’s best if you do both at the same time.
All of this has been and will be possiBULL because of love. There has be someone in Durham who loves someone in Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Vermont, and West Virginia. Let’s get Bull Love Mugs into all 50 states.
“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” Oprah quoting Eckhart Tolle, keyword Oprah.
Thank you Durham for inviting me into your homes, businesses, and hearts. Thank you for cocreating this book. Thank you for seeing the value in spreading love and learning our history. Thank you to those who came before us and paved the way with Fitzgerald bricks, grit and grace to make the Bull City.
And a special thank you to our sponsors who bravely financed a book that is the first of its kind by an author who’d never published a book before. Written, yes. Published, no. Now that’s Durham. Capitol Broadcasting, the Duke Office for Durham and Regional Affairs, and The Durham Hotel thank you for BULLieving in me and never trying to corral me.
The Bulls of Durham
"The Bulls of Durham" living history book. Launched on April 10th, 2019, Durham's 150th Anniversary.
"The Bulls of Durham" living history book blends Durham's rich history with stories and perspectives of our city's greats that are continuing to build upon that history. And in this way, this is the story of Durham, North Carolina through the bulls' eyes.
Learn how a city that literally started from a tobacco seed in the ashes of the Civil War grew into the best city on earth. Discover how a stolen bull brought about a history shifting, global tobacco empire; and how 150 years later that relates to a British mustard company having beef with Sheila. #NotSorry
Find out the backstory to how the now hippest, foodiest, tech-hub of the South also gave rise to the bullpen, billboards, branding and baseball cards. Delve into our city's strong Black history that proves "Do It Like Durham" isn't a passing trend and will give you a profound sense of reverence walking down Parrish Street.
Best of all, see the common thread that runs through the stories of teachers, politicians, business owners, hip-hop artists, painters, activists, historians, architects and the real Bull City OG's. Hint: it's the BULLief that in Durham anything is possiBULL.
Welcome to Durham the incrediBULL place where grit meets grace. Here all you have to have is a dream and faith the size of a tobacco seed, because well, tobacco seeds build global empires, not mustard seeds.
Project book launch date: April 10, 2019 - Durham's 150th Anniversary.
Cover Art by DeCario Allen.
Home Bull Love Mug
11 ounce coffee mug featuring "Someone in Durham Loves Me" design baseball style. This is a limited edition collector's mug. Once they're gone, they're gone.
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