BABE #247: SHANNON ROSE GREENE - Social Media Specialist, Native Sun Natural Foods; Founder, Gee Jewelry
Shannon is the Social Media Specialist at Native Sun Natural Foods, the Founder of Gee Jewelry and a mama to two future hustlin’ babes. Beyond those titles, she’s a hilarious, kind, witty and creative woman who our team knows, loves, and has worked closely with on several occasions (including a sold out workshop this week!) Shannon’s interview serves as a reminder that we’re all fighting battles of our own, but with a strong support system and the pursuit of our passions, both personal and professional growth are always within reach.
Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
Current city: Jacksonville, Florida
Alma mater: Flagler College
Degree: B.A., Arts
Very first job: Ice cream scoop at Brusters. First big-girl salaried position? Associate producer at NPR/PBS affiliate, WJCT
Hustle: Social Media Specialist, Native Sun Natural Foods; Founder, Gee Jewelry
Babe you admire and why?
For me, two standout female performers are Hayley Williams (Paramore) and Imogen Heap (Frou Frou). I also love and admire comedy writers and performers like Tracey Wigwield (30 Rock) and Liz Meriwether (New Girl). My friend (and fellow featured babe,) Calli has impeccable taste, works VERY hard, is honest and always herself. During my first years working as a television producer, I remember telling myself I couldn’t go home until I was done because I knew Calli wouldn’t go home until she was done with what she had to do. I held myself to a standard that I learned from her; she’s a babe I admire a lot. In my later work years, I met someone who I admired, and eventually fell in love with: my girlfriend, (and also fellow featured babe,) Keagan. Keagan’s creativity is out of this world. Her passion drives those around her. She’s considerate and collaborative. She goes above and beyond for every client, project, co-worker. I think Keagan’s pretty much a babe in every aspect of her life. But she usually says my opinion doesn’t count because I’m biased, but you know, she’s not here so, KEAGAN YOU’RE A TOTAL BABE!
How do you spend your free time?
Most of my free time is spent singing songs loudly in my car, catching up on the previous week’s Sunday New York Times, cooking, watching a good show or film with my girlfriend, climbing at The Edge or snuggling/making crafts with my children, Regina and Margot.
Go-to coffee order and/or adult beverage?
A lavender latte at BREW.
What would you eat for your very last meal?
I’d be too nervous to eat. I’d probably ask for a glass of champagne. And maybe Ina Garten’s blue-cheese crackers, with just a little bit of organic brie and some fruit. OK, so maybe just a cheese plate with some champagne. And a really good steak!
What’s something you want to learn?
I know piano by ear, but haven’t played in years! I’d love to relearn it. Similarly, I learned elementary French for a job I had at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012. I totally don’t know a word now. I’d love to relearn the language. (S'il vous plaît.)
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Kate McKinnon, from SNL. I think she’s hilarious.
What’s something most don’t know about you?
Most don’t know I had an identical twin. My sister Kelsey Marie Greene died of heart complications when I was 2 and a half. I don’t remember her, but I like to bring her up because I want to celebrate her life. Similarly, my mother passed when I was 15. My father raised me and my two brothers by himself, with help from friends and family.
Tell us about your hustle.
I work as the Social Media Specialist for Native Sun Natural Foods Market, where I manage the Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other various social media accounts. I also write the content calendar, pitch content, respond to inquiries, assist with naming, research and ingredients for products, oversee contests or giveaways, produce blogs, photograph products and recipes, develop recipes and produce video content. My side hustle is my jewelry business, Gee Jewelry, where I wear all the hats: designer, director of marketing, director of sales. You get the idea. I also manage social media accounts for a few freelance clients as well.
What does your typical workday look like?
Most days start with a pot of coffee and a Perfect Bar. If I have my girls (I share them with my ex-husband) I do their hair, pack their lunch, grab their backpacks — all that mom jazz. Then it’s a hustle to the car for school and work. After catching up with my co-workers, I dive into to the world of online customer service: respond to every single social media comment, question, message, repost — everything. It’s a part of our policy. At 10AM, we meet for a team chat with our founder, Aaron, before I report to my boss for updates on assignments and new projects before eating lunch — usually at my desk. During the later part of the day, I photograph, write and actually produce all of the content that ends up online, before heading home. After dinner, I’ll make around 10+ pieces of jewelry for Gee or edit photos for a freelance client. In-between, it’s not uncommon for me to be putting the girls to sleep, while running laundry and having beads in the oven, before watching some Netflix with Keagan.
Have you always had a passion for creating?
I have a very vivid memory of being a kid and defending the decor in my room to my mother, who said it was tacky. I said I liked my things looking like they were on display. Growing up I made my own purses, jewelry and T-shirts, all of which got me made fun of — but, you know, I really did think it was cool, so I kept doing it.
How have your creative interests evolved over time?
My creativity has evolved so much that I think I’ll just go through the list of interests (as I can recall) from birth to now: collecting rocks, arranging flowers from my Nana’s garden, cutting strips of clothing and crafting them into purses, Modge-Podging vases and notebooks, filming my friends hanging out, simple coding (mostly for my Myspace page), photography (of local bands), writing short stories and putting them on my Myspace blog, writing poems and songs, making jewelry out of wire and glass, making jewelry out of chain and plastic, vegan baking, blogging, improv comedy, stand-up comedy, making short films, writing for television, producing television, floral design, event production, event marketing, television marketing, social media, magazine writing, jewelry design, social media marketing, recipe development and social media strategy.
Tell us about gee jewelry. How did it come to be?
At first, Gee was inspired by my goal to get well after being diagnosed with a panic disorder. At one of my low points, I worried my life would be taken over by the disorder. One day I thought about all the things I still hadn’t done, and that if I was healthier, I would want to do. I grabbed a pen and piece of paper and wrote out a list of all the things I could think of. The list read something like: be on SNL, relearn how to play piano, relearn French, go back to Cannes, make a short film, get back into writing poems, get back into writing articles, write a book, travel to parts of the United States I’ve never been to, make jewelry again. As soon as I wrote “make jewelry again,” I knew that was the thing I wanted to move forward with—immediately. The next day I bought clay and leather and made my first gee necklace. I carry that necklace around in my car for good luck.
How has Gee Jewelry evolved over time?
After I got on medication and overcame the panic disorder, I started to make jewelry all the time. I had a small setup in my girlfriend's apartment where I kept some clay and tools I bought at a local craft store. When I started, I only had one design and I baked everything in an actual kitchen oven. (I later learned that can cause cancer, so I stopped doing that!) Eventually, I had an entire coat rack of necklaces just hanging around. I didn’t know what to do with them so I started giving them away to friends. Eventually people started asking me if they could buy them, which I thought was wild since I wasn’t looking to sell them. (I was just happy to not be having a panic attack every day!) Shops slowly started to contact me, asking if they could carry the line. Eventually I created a Gee Facebook page and Instagram profile, because I wanted to separate the business from my personal accounts. Now, I’m working on getting a website together so people and shops can easily order gee from anywhere. In March I’ll be sharing my first full collection of gee pieces in St. Augustine Fashion Week.
How do you balance your role at Native Sun with running Gee—alongside being a mom to two kids?
Work-life balance when you’re a mother is hard. You have to be strong in your convictions. I can’t feel bad if I need to stay home with one of my girls because they’re sick, but I also can’t feel bad if I can’t pick up the girls at a certain time of day because I need to stay at work and finish something. I love my children, girlfriend, family and career, so truly I just try to do my best, be myself and be in each moment. I have ADD, so the process changes often for me. Ultimately, I try very hard to be kind to myself about juggling everything, because there’s always going to be one ball in the air that my hands aren’t touching—and that’s OK.
What tools help you in your day-to-day work and responsibilities?
My iPhone, iMac, Instagram, VSCO, Google and Facebook are my biggest tools. Almost every single day, I check Bon Appetit’s website and social channels. Similarly, I check Cherry Bombe, Lee from America and Sweet Green’s social channels almost every few hours, to stay inspired and in-the-know of what’s going on out there in the world.
What’s been your biggest career milestone?
From the outside looking in, there were a lot of highs, like taking a photo that was shared by J.Crew. That was a pretty big deal. Working at the Cannes Film Festival, where I physically ran into Diddy, was a big deal. Technical directing live television for WJCT was a big milestone. Having a photo I took shared by (and another photo of me shared in) Cherry Bombe felt incredible. Working with UNIQLO last year was very exciting. But, I’ll be honest: I think my biggest career milestone was getting back to work after being diagnosed with a panic disorder. I was so afraid I would never work again. During a past interview, I had many mini panic attacks because my medication hadn’t really taken yet. Even though I was terrified I was going to faint in front of everyone, I let everyone know I was nervous, but focused on what I had to say and kept it together. I look back at that moment and am really proud of myself. I was terrified, but I persisted, got hired and kept moving forward in my career.
Career and/or life advice for other babes?
Don’t say yes! I have said yes to things I wasn’t totally sure I could handle; that I thought I could probably figure out along the way. Many of those things I totally failed at, miserably. From those times I’ve learned to go into things very carefully, but also confidently. If you don’t think you can do something, don’t just say yes because you think you can figure it out later. Let someone who knows how to do that thing do it, and learn from them (or work with them to do it). Don’t just rely on yourself to figure something out because if it goes wrong, it’s very disappointing for everyone involved. Listen to yourself as much as you can. Build trust and integrity within yourself. If something feels bad or someone makes you feel bad, back away from it or them—far away. Similarly, if you’re good at something or someone makes you happy, lean into that thing or person. Learn from that person, or really study that thing.
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