As part of our ongoing series, Get to Know Digium: Employee Spotlight, we ask employees to share with readers about their roles inside the company as Digiumites (our name for team members), as well as their life and interests outside of Digium. Meet Shannon King, manager of our very own Beans & Bytes coffee shop, conveniently located in the Digium Lobby.
Describe your roll at Digium.
I am the coffee shop manager at Digium’s in-house café, Beans and Bytes. I provide premium coffee to the employees as well as snacks and lunch. The role is a natural fit as I also run my own business, Clover Coffee. I provide fresh roasted coffee as well as my own cold brew coffee concentrate called Jubilee Cold Brew, which we also offer at Beans and Bytes.
How did you get started making cold brew coffee?
About three years ago, I was roasting coffee out of my parents’ garage and selling the coffee beans at local farmers markets in the summer. It was so hot out and many people would stop and say they would love a cup of cold coffee. I have always loved the idea of iced coffee, but I had a preconceived notion that it tasted bad and left me with an aching belly. During the winter months (the off-season for the farmers markets), I finally decided to research it and set out to develop a drink that would actually be full of flavor and easy on the stomach. After reading about why people like it, I knew I had to try it. The very first time I tried it, I fell in love with it. It was like no other coffee beverage I have ever tried. It was rich, smooth and left a natural chocolate-y taste my mouth. It also left me focused and without caffeine jitters. Once I created my own version, I brought it to the markets in quart mason jars, and I would sell out week after week. Now many of my customers drink it year round, including some of my co-workers at Digium!
What is the most satisfying thing about your job?
I love it when someone tells me they couldn’t wait to get to work that day so they could have me make their coffee. Also, I have loved getting to know everyone working in all different levels of Digium.
When you were 10 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My favorite television show as a kid was The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I wanted to be just like Rhoda Morgenstern. She was from the Bronx and relocated to Minneapolis from New York to be a window dresser at a department store. I didn’t want to be a window dresser or work at department store. I wanted to be a strong independent woman that wasn’t afraid to move around where life took me. I later ended up moving to NYC when I was 24 and lived on my own there for 12 years. I worked in coffee shops and even met Valerie Harper, the actress who played Rhoda, in one of those coffee shops.
Outside of work, what are you passionate about?
Besides working at Digium and running my own business, I love creating things, from cooking to sewing for my kids. I am a Pinterest fanatic. I used to be very passionate about travel, but I am putting that on the back-burner until my kids are old enough to enjoy it together. I can’t wait to take my daughters to Ireland!
How do you get involved with your community? Are there any local groups or organizations you are involved with?
I have been fortunate to work with some great causes through my coffee business. I am a featured artisan at Southern Makers, which is a yearly event that benefits E.A.T South, a non-profit organization that encourages healthy lifestyles through education and sustainable food production in urban areas throughout the southeast. I also raise money at the Tennessee Valley Fiddler’s convention through sales of our “really good coffee.” We give proceeds to the Young Alumni Advisory Counsel, which is used for scholarships. Some of the other fun things I get to do include participating in local events, like Rocket Chef, which raises funds for the local food bank.
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be? What would you do within that week?
I have thought about this one many times. I wouldn’t want to change places with anyone. I am really happy with myself.
What is one thing you can’t live without?
Seriously, it’s coffee. I have tried to imagine my life if coffee never existed. My best memories are having conversations with my family and friends over coffee. Most of my jobs for the last 20 years were in coffee businesses, including my own business. Where would the world be without coffee? What would the makers of ironic t-shirts and mugs do?
I have a lot of pet peeves, so I will give you a coffee related one. When someone takes the last cup of coffee and does not brew a new pot. This happens all the time at my parent’s house when we have a family gathering. Of course, we all have gigantic mugs, so we go through lots of pots.
What is your favorite book and movie?
I love autobiographies. While living in Greenwich Village, I found a book left on a table at a coffee shop. “I, Rigoberta Menchu” is an autobiography of an Indigenous woman from Guatemala that shares the struggles she overcame. She later won a Nobel Peace Prize.
One of my favorite movies is “Little Voice.” The main character is a shy recluse who stays in her bedroom listening to her late father’s albums and at night she imagines he comes to her and then she sings just like the original singers, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, and Shirley Bassee. I loved this movie when I saw it in the theaters and before I knew that the star, Jane Horrocks, did all the singing herself.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start their own business?
One of the biggest factors would be that you need a supportive group of people around you. Ones that just don’t tell you that you have a great idea or to cheer you along, but those that can help out at home when you cannot. Those that will help you pull an all-nighter because it has to get done. Running your own business is very time consuming and exhausting. You do not punch a time clock, so you have to make sure you are able to take opportunities when they come your way. You also must have the gumption to get out and make opportunities come your way.
Would you like to give any shout outs to anyone?
My parents, siblings, spouse, children, and friends who have been very supportive and would love me regardless of what I do.