By Ronda Germaine
I recently had the opportunity to interview the one and only Danielle Christine White, or Daniel, according to Fred. 😉 Most of us already know her, it’s kind of hard not to, she’s such a huge part of the Nation. Hopefully, you’ll get to know her a bit better after reading this blog post!
Danielle is the one that introduced me to IBCC nearly 3 years ago… me, and many others. It all started by her sharing a photo of that glossy black beauty, the OG Kettle Belly, followed shortly after by a review of the coffee. Danielle takes her coffee seriously and only likes the good stuff, so a recommendation from her meant a lot!
We met for the first time at Iron Bean HQ a couple of years ago. She is hands down one of the kindest, most giving people you will ever meet. But don’t be fooled! She has a wicked sense of humor and won’t hesitate to tell you how it is (only if needed … you’ve been warned!). She’s not only my coffee friend but part of my coffee family.
Danielle lives for her kids, (both of the two-legged and four-legged varieties) works full-time, helps to moderate the The Iron Bean Nation™ Facebook group, and has created another coffee group page: Coffee is Life: Connoisseurs and Coffee Mug Collectors. She’s doing all of this while still finding time to pursue her passion of photography (Cooky Luvs Photography – if you haven’t already, check it out!).
If you didn’t already know, she’s also Iron Bean’s official photographer and staff writer. Those photos of the mugs we drool over with every release… she’s the one capturing those incredible shots. She’s also behind many of the blog posts and has voluntarily put together and maintained the IBCC Mug Wiki, which is no small undertaking. The Mug Wiki contains details from each of the IBCC mug release going back to the very beginning, and even includes some pretty sweet limited quantity mugs and one of a kind prototype mugs.
It’s no wonder that Fierce is Danielle’s daily drinker because the girl is Fierce! And now… get to know a little more about Danielle Christine White:
- How did you find out about Iron Bean, and when was that?
I first found out about Iron Bean when I saw their OG belly mug posted on Deneen’s Facebook page. The mug looked intriguing, so I checked out their website. Back then the website was much less polished. The company looked interesting, but I wasn’t sold on it at first. There are so many coffee companies and I had tried a lot of coffee over the years with much disappointment. I mulled over buying the mug for a few days. Then I saw someone else post the mug in the mug rooms and that helped me to move my trigger finger and hit buy. Shortly after I also bought the OG latte mug right before it sold out. I am glad I did because that became a very hard mug to obtain. Myself, as well as others, sharing the mug led to a super quick sell out.
Within a few days, I decided I’d give the company a real try and I ordered a sample pack of coffee. I am so glad that I did! The mugs were cool and very eye-catching but that coffee sealed the deal! My first taste of Iron Bean was Rage and I was very impressed. I could tell there was something different about this little coffee company with that first sip and I started sharing it everywhere I could. I started communicating with the owners on their Facebook page and little did I know how good of friends we would become. Iron Bean has truly come a long way and I am excited to see it grow and grow.
- How did you get into photography?
I suppose I’ve always been into photography. When I was a kid, I had a Polaroid and loved it. I constantly took pictures when I was able to get my hands on some film. I also had an old film camera I would snap on and then bug my grandparents to take the film to the grocery store to be developed. When digital cameras first got big, I got a point and shoot and was constantly snapping away; it was great not having to be restricted by film anymore. I mostly snapped photos of my many critters back then. Of course, smartphones came out and that became my go-to.
About two years ago I started wanting more out of my photos and decided I finally needed a real camera. I wanted to be able to take photos like I’d see online. I was amazed that photographing the milky way was possible with a DSLR and I wanted to be able to take those shots. I was finally able to see and photograph the Milky Way this summer which was awesome. The conditions weren’t ideal, but I worked with what I had and managed a few shots. I’ve been learning by doing with photography for the last 2 years and love it. The only downside is finding the time, but I spend pretty much all the free time I have on it. I have so many places I want to visit and photograph and it may take a while before I can get there but at least I’ll know how to get great shots once I get the opportunity.
- What are your favorite things to photograph?
My favorite thing to photograph is definitely wildlife. Shooting wildlife keeps it fresh and interesting because I never know what I’ll encounter when I go out. I also want to do more landscape photography and try some new techniques I haven’t used yet. I love that photography has gotten me outside and exploring places I wouldn’t have gone otherwise. By nature, I am a bit of a homebody. I’ve lived in Texas for 10 years now and had barely explored even my local area before getting into photography. Now I try to get out and explore as much as possible and am amazed by how much is around me that I previously overlooked.
- How did you end up becoming Iron Bean's photographer, and how long has it been?
I always enjoyed photographing Iron Bean’s mugs because they are beautiful works of art. My original photos were just on my iPhone. Once I got a real camera, I was excited to see what it could do so I started researching all sort of techniques to get the most out of my photos. Chanell was so supportive and encouraging. The first mugs I photographed officially for Iron Bean were the Dual Medallion and the Bean 1.0, which came out around August of 2018. I’ve enjoyed photographing the mugs because they challenge me. I want to give Chanell and Fred quality photos, so I get creative and try different techniques until I’m happy with the results.
- How many mugs do you currently have in your collection?
I don’t even know how many mugs I have lol. I am too lazy to count them but I’m sure it’s well over 100. Here are some photos of just my Iron Bean collection.
- What's your favorite Iron Bean mug, and why?
My favorite mug would have to be the Dual Medallion. One, because it was my first mug to photograph but also because it’s just so badass. I absolutely love the Lapis Lazuli color (my favorite stone) of the glaze and the medallions are gorgeous. They did an awesome job on that mug and really set the bar.
- What's something the Nation might not know about you?
Hmmm… I put so much out there so what don’t you guys know? Lol. I guess the biggest thing would be that contrary to my online presence, in the real world I tend to be very introverted. I am definitely the type that needs to recharge after social interaction. That’s what I love about online so much. I can choose my dosage of social interaction lol. At the same time, though, now that I’ve found the Nation I wish I lived closer to so many of you!
- What does the Nation mean to you?
The Nation is awesome! I have met so many great people that I otherwise wouldn’t have known without our shared bond over coffee. In my everyday life I know very few people who are truly about coffee. It’s fun to share that with people. I love how Chanell and Fred have brought everyone together and made it possible for so many of us to meet in person thanks to the yearly Nation party. The Nation truly feels like family, I hope our get-togethers keep going. It’s like our yearly coffee family reunion.
- You've been to HQ three times (right?), any favorite stories about the time you've spent with Fred, Chanell, and members of the Nation?
I have been to HQ a few times now and it’s always fun. The first time I was blown away that Fred and Chanell were so welcoming and invited me to their home. I felt a little crazy driving all the way across the country the first time. It was a spur of the moment trip. I had been driving 17 hours and was tired as hell when I got there, but then speaking with Fred and Chanell wired me back up and we were up till about 4 am just talking. Now it feels like home every time I visit. One of my favorite times was when I was teasing that Chanell was a grandma in training while she was brushing my girl’s hair, then shortly after it came out that she was indeed going to be a grandma J
- I know you love your animals. How many do you currently have?
I’ve always had a lot of animals. I just love them. I used to say I had too many maternal instincts, and I had animals because I didn’t want kids yet. Well, now I have animals AND kids lol. I guess I just like having people and critters to take care of. Currently, our household has 11 tortoises, 7 turtles, 4 sugar gliders, 3 dogs, 2 guinea pigs, and a chinchilla. In the past, I used to breed chinchillas and also used to keep hedgehogs. I don’t think I will ever be without a menagerie of animals.
- What was the inspiration for your tattoo?
I’m guessing you mean the coffee tree tattoo :) That one is definitely my favorite. I have always been a coffee fan and wanted something that symbolized that coffee is life. Without coffee, I wouldn’t have the energy to have much of a life at all lol. I drew up a coffee tree of life but my artwork stinks, so the tattoo guy helped pretty it up and look much better than I had envisioned. It was definitely the perfect tattoo for me. It was only my second tattoo at the time and now I’m up to 4. My most recent being a Nori tat which is another favorite. I don’t know if I’ll get any more yet, but I may. I have tons of ones I want, but it’s always hard to decide where to put them. If I do any more, I’m leaning toward a Ramen tat. I’m just covering myself with things I love :)
Thank you, Danielle, for being so patient and letting me question you. And thank you Nation for being the most awesome group of people around! Period.