Hi There! I'm Milton! The Dioji D-O-G.
I understand life can be ruff, especially for my friends at the Shelter. That's why my momma gives 10% profits from coffee sales to help find my buddies fur-ever homes.
The coffee she sources is called Direct Trade. That means she buys from a local green bean human seller and that person buys Directly from the actually farmer! This ensures more money goes to fair wages, AND the quality of the crop, giving you a better product.
I am pawsitive you will be Happy drinking Dioji Coffee knowing you are supporting ethical industry practices, charity AND zero waste packaging. Howl about that!? Happy People, Happy Dogs, Happy Coffee, roorooroo!
Pick up your jar of coffee at Jockamo Pizza Irvington. For updates follow us on Instagram and join us at the next Shelter Supplies Drive!
Current Proceeds to Pups: $112.00
Dioji Coffee Roasters began, like all great stories, by triumph from tragedy.
"Let's start at the very beginning...are you ready?"
Meg laughs as she sings the tune to Sound of Music. She sits on the floor with her dogs, and wears a scarf from roasting coffee in the heat of July. She has wild, curly hair and smiles generously, yet her lightness and free spirit hold a heavy past.
Displaced from wildfires in Southern California, homeless and unemployed, Meg accepted a job in Indianapolis in the fall of 2018. Two months later, she was laid off a second time, unable to pay her bills, and eating her meals at a local homeless shelter. In December, Meg was hired to do marketing for a coffee roasting company.
In the midst of working for the roaster, Meg was approached by a Pastor to create charity coffee clubs for his Church. Through her deep desire to give back and looking further into the possibilities of Charity through Coffee, Meg realized that the industry overall lacked 3 things; Sustainability, Giving Back, and Purpose.
"We create an exorbiant amount of waste when it comes to coffee consumption"
says Meg, of Irvington, Indiana.
"It broke my heart to see so much trash contributing to the degredation of our Earth. Change is simple, it's only a matter of habit and understanding the hundreds of years of impact that our daily habits leave behind".
She tried to implement eco-conscious approach while focusing on the community and giving a portion of sales to local charities.
"My boss was not interested"
So she went solo.
"I was terrified, facing bankruptcy and her third layoff. I thought - this is my only option, I have to start building My dreams and marketing My passions. As my Uncle Bobby, in prison, would say Meg, you've been warming yourself at other peoples fires. It's time to build your own fire and people will come to you.' "
Within a month, Meg saw the beginnings of her dream company set sail. She ordered a custom built Roaster, met with a trademark attorney and bought the rights to her logo. Meg is a lover of shelter dogs and has two dogs herself so the company name and charity were basically a no-brainer.
"My service dog Milton is the dog you see in my logo, he got me through the darkest years of my life. Undiagnosed PTSD from a car accident in 2014 kept me from jobs, social gatherings and even visiting family. I became a heavy drinker and those were the loneliest and darkest years. My dog made it possible for me to get into a car when I thought I was going to die every time. Milton brought me back from a personal hell. He saved my life."
The rainbow dog silhouette is a painting by Willey Thompson of WetWrx Art. Meg says she wanted to use rainbow because it represent the chakras, diversity and the promise that it won't rain forever.
"I look back on my Jesus Year, age 33, and I really did carry my cross. In April, my partner of 4 years took his dad off life support and I stood by his side. I sold my car to be with him, held him through it all and a week later he left me. My job at a summer camp was lost from wildfires, and my dad had a major heart attack in August. I thought I had an amazing opportunity to get out of debt and heal in Indianapolis, so I accepted a job. Then, my new boss laid me off after I told her about being sexually harassed by the chef. Not once, but every night for 2 months. I was devastated, I moved my entire life cross country for a company that not only allowed the harassment, but punished me for speaking up. Then bankruptcy, food pantries and gas cards. I was SO ready to be out of the darkness."
So when her fourth layoff in one year happened, at a bar she was managing in Irvington, Meg was prepared to go all in.
"It was Joe, the manager at Jockamo Irvington, who pushed me to do it. I gave him a list of local roasters, told him I'm no longer working with ______and suggested he buy from another local roaster. He said he wanted to buy from me. 'We want you. Find a way to get beans and you've got Jockamo to support you.' I have never known a restaurant with so many loving people who encourage each other's dreams. They have become my family and their bartender is the reason I started my performance company too!"
"If making money is all you want, you will never be fulfilled." Says Meg "I have a deeper purpose and that is to help dogs while having fun and sharing awesomly mindful coffee that doesn't trash the Earth."
So in the midst of Bankruptcy and yet another layoff, she went for it and decided to create her own company- Dioji.
"I'm also an actor, a comedian. I giggle every time someone gets the name for the first time.
(Spell the word DOG out loud!)"
I spell it out loud, slowly and awkwardly. A few times. Then I get it. Meg lights up and tells me she heard it from a guy she met at a dog park in Brooklyn where she spent 6 years of her life.
Dioji Coffee is "woke", a zero waste company; they use glass jars for packaging, reward loyalty with $1 off refills and only sell locally. Meg declined to join amazon or trendy subscriptions. She doesn't offer to mail coffee because the trash of shipping materials and transportation emissions goes against her ethics as a zero waste company.
Meg will even refill your jar at your doorstep,
"Like the Milkman?"
"Milk-person" she corrects
"and milk is SO bad for the environment, your body and do you know what those poor cows go through?!"
she adds with a serious smile.
Dioji Coffee only sources Direct Trade beans and is roasted in small batches to ensure quality. "I want to know my money, and yours, is going to the farmer in Nicaragua. When you buy regular beans, up to 1,000 middle men can take a cut, that's why I only buy Direct Trade from a bean buyer in my state."
Meg says her next step is finding a farmer and visiting their crop to create a true Direct Trade relationship.
"But that's down the line. I'm in a marathon, not a sprint. I want to get a coffee truck, travel the U.S. and bring a little sunshine to everyones life. With a good cup of coffee, I feel like everything is going to be okay. Brainstorming, Prayer and Talking to Strangers over coffee got me through some of the hardest days of my life. Did I tell you about the time I lived in a tool shed? I told everyone it was a tiny home. But I had really good coffee so every morning I drank my coffee, listened, prayed. I got through it. I want to be that for other people. It's a small gesture but all great things are accomplished through the bits and pieces. It's the small pleasures that matter in life."
You can often find Meg laughing with her friends at Jockamo, hosting artist events with her company Basement Players Club, or running with her rescue dogs Milton and Mabel.
You can find her coffee at Jockamo Irvington, Bonna Shops, Georgia St. Grind and her artist events.
Follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
"I'm terrible at social media, you can follow me, that's cool. I don't update often though, I'd rather lay in the grass and listen to the birds sing in my spare time. We need to re-connect to nature before we all lose touch...our mother needs us."
And I , need another cup of Dioji Coffee.
Interview Conducted by Peg Whirley