BABE #101: KARINA ARAGON,
Barista @ Bold Bean Coffee Roasters
Karina is such a delight. We met, of course, at Bold Bean, where she has become our regular Barista and keeps us caffeinated on late nights of plugging away on BWH content (until they close up shop and kick us out while blaring 'Closing Time' from the speakers.) Seriously though, she's an absolute joy who is so well loved by everyone around her. She has a kickass work ethic and is someone who is just so easy to be around. Oh, and she's marrying the love of her life tomorrow (hi Troi!) Karina - thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us. You're a babe, and we love you!
Hometown: St. Cloud, FL
Current city: Jacksonville, FL
Alma mater: Flagler College
Degree: Special and Elementary Education
Very first job: Retail @ Harley Davidson (No I didn’t sell bikes - just t-shirts.)
Hustle: Barista @ Bold Bean Coffee Roasters + Children/Youth Intern @ Christ Episcopal Chucrh
Babe you admire and why?
Ashley Lemieux. She started a company called The Shine Project where she hires inner city youth and first-generation college students. She helps them become their best selves and supports their education by equipping them with funds and skills to prepare them for their future. She also just has an insane personal story. She recently shared it on Branden Harvey’s podcast, Sounds Good. You should go listen to it.
How do you spend your free time?
I love to spend my free time with people. I’m super extroverted, so I’m constantly wanting to fill my time with all the people I love!
Must-have item in your purse?
A book and Glossier’s balmdotcom, always.
What would you eat for your very last meal?
My parents Sunday special! House made salsa, grilled steak, rice, beans and tortillas.
Biggest pet peeve?
Chewing with your mouth open.
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Beyoncé, of course.
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
Sipping a cappuccino in San Francisco.
Tell us about your hustle:
I currently work as a barista at Bold Bean Coffee Roasters, as a Children and Youth Intern at Christ Episcopal Church, and as a Nanny. I’m also currently in the interview process for being a teacher online through VIPKID!
What does your typical workday look like?
Almost everyday is a double shift kind of day. I go into work at the church and assist in any area that I am needed within the youth department in the mornings, then run over to the coffee shop, and usually close it at night. Luckily nights tend to be a little slower, so it’s nice to get a chance to chat with customers a little longer. In between all of that, I nanny for a few different families to make ends meet!
What is your work environment/office culture like from hustle to hustle?
All of my jobs are completely different, which I love, because I get to spend my time dabbling in all the different things my brain enjoys. Bold Bean allows me to exert a passion that I’ve had my entire life. I've been drinking coffee since I was a kid, and spent most of my days in college hanging out/studying in coffee shops, which is where my passion for the craft began. I originally started in coffee at The Kookaburra in St. Augustine, and I've now been working in the industry for 5 years! Two years ago, I got the opportunity to work for a church plant in St. Augustine as Children’s Director. It was something I’ve always had a passion for and it allowed me to begin to discern whether it was something I wanted to do in the future. When I moved to Jacksonville in May, I was trying to figure out how I could continue doing all of the things I loved while avoiding the hour commute. One thing lead to another, and the door at Christ Episcopal opened for me. I applied for their internship and got it! It’s been a really interesting transition from a church that was just beginning, to a church that has been around for a very long time.
What draws you to the coffee shop atmosphere/culture?
My old manager always says, “Our job is the place where people want to be. They stop here on the way to work and they come here after.” I think that just about sums it up. I also love the craft behind the job, and that I’m surrounded by co-workers that have a passion for it as well. We are constantly teaching and learning from one another.
What’s your personal coffee order? (Do you judge the hell out of your customers orders?)
My go-to is an iced pour over, but I’m also a sucker for honey lattes. I will only judge you if you come in trying to order a Starbucks drink.
What would the ideal coffee shop look/feel like to you?
There is a coffee shop in Atlanta called Chrome Yellow and I would imagine my ideal coffee shop to look like that. I don’t think I’d want to roast my own beans because I would want to feature so many amazing shops. There is also a section in their shop where they have dry goods. I love the idea of constantly throwing the spotlight back to the community you’re invested in. Another coffee shop I would be heavily inspired by is Downtown Credo in Orlando. I would highly recommend taking a look at their website and read about their projects and mission statement!
What has working in the service industry taught you about yourself?
I do not have as much patience as I thought I did. Also, tipping. People don’t realize that tips really do matter!
How would you say your gender/ethnicity has affected your professional experience?
I first witnessed inequality in the workplace while working for Harley Davidson. My manager was female, but we would constantly have males come in from HQ for maintenance checks and whatnot. Those instances often lead to sarcastic and unnecessary, passive comments toward her that just simply wouldn't have been given to another working man. In taking that experience and then moving towards areas of ministry, it has been incredibly hard to see how women are almost treated as second-class no matter where you work. Not to mention the little-to-no commentaries or sermons on immigration and refugees. As someone who is female, hispanic, and a daughter of two immigrants, I tend to take note of these details. I’m currently reading Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey, and it's totally rocking my world. In simultaneously identifying as a Feminst as well as a Christ Follower, it it can be hard to find reading material that stays true to feminist roots. But at the end of the day, it's comforting to know that loving Jesus and also standing for women's rights can, in fact, go hand and hand.
What's it like working closely with children, too? What are some major takeaways you’ve learned from it?
Working with children teaches you so much about yourself. They aren’t afraid to tell you what they’re thinking at any moment, and know how to push your buttons almost immediately. They also teach you so much about loving one another better. In my experience, there have been many times where kids are beginning to be mean to one another, and it's interesting to watch them reflect when I say things like, “do you think that friends should treat friends this way?” or, “friends, are we loving one another well?” It’s insane the way kids react to it... it isn’t guilt that is being instilled, but just consciousness.
What kind of support system do you have behind you and your work?
My fiancé, Troi, is my number one cheerleader. He is a safe space for me to be able to rant on about the most stupid, tiny, ridiculous details, but the best part about him is that he is constantly bringing me back to the center. He reminds me why I’m doing all that I’m doing, and he does it so lovingly.
How do you find a work-life balance?
It’s really, really hard sometimes. Especially when my days sometimes look like working at one job from 6am-2pm then my other job from 3-10pm. But I think a calendar goes a long way, as well as grace and patience, not only from myself but from the people in my life too.
What are some notable (funny, embarrassing, intense) experiences you’ve had on the job?
One day at work I was wearing a "100% Human" shirt by Everlane in support of their campaign to raise money for the ACLU. I had a customer confront me about it, and it quickly became a one-sided conversation where he proceeded to tell me that I didn’t know what I stood for, that my job was "trash," and that he wanted to "build the wall as high as it could go." Yep - that totally happened. I was certainly in shock, and had no idea what to say or do. I strongly stand by the whole “kill them with kindness” thing, so every time he’s come back since I've slapped a smile on my face and avoided small talk.
What are your goals for the future?
I’m really considering going to seminary right now. I had a friend recently affirm me in, and told me to press in on it. They said that they could see me leading women voices within the church and breaking the mold. That definitely applies some pressure, but mostly ignites the fire that’s been burning in me, so we'll see!
Career and/or life advice for other babes?
Do what makes you happy! Don’t stress that you aren’t right where you want to be right now. It’ll happen.
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