We had the good fortune of connecting with John Morgan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi John, as a parent, what do you feel is the most meaningful thing you’ve done for them?
As the father of a 4-year-old boy, the impact my career has on my family is always at the front of my mind. Simply put, I work…..a lot. But from the moment he’s come onto the scene, I’ve gone out of my way to teach my son every aspect of not only our business, but of the mentality that’s required to truly create and cultivate “something out of nothing”. As he grows, I want him (and whomever’s coming next) to intuitively understand that delayed gratification is the ONLY real gratification, that the process is every bit as vital as the finished product, and that nothing worth having ever comes without a whole heck of a lotta toil.
He was in a hairnet as soon as he had hair, and he was working a pallet jack as soon as he could walk. I certainly hope to someday be in the position to give my children everything their hearts desire, but – not to sound sappy – the greatest gift I could possibly bestow is to share the work ethic and drive to be successful that my parents gave to me. I don’t care what my kids end up doing – as long as they do it full speed and they’re kind, it’s okay with me. To get up early, blast through your day, and go to bed spent, whipped, and satisfied that you’ve wrung every ounce of life out of that day’s bout with consciousness…what else can we hope for?
It’s how I live my life, and if there’s anything I can hope to pass on to my children, its this.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I started Queen Charlotte’s in 2014 using a little cash I won from an appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ (true story). In the time since, my tiny team and I have spread the Queen’s cheesy gospel across a couple thousand stores and 30ish states (with ZERO plans of slowing down!). We’ve been featured in publications as varied as The Boston Globe and Southern Living, and we truly have the most incredible, grassroots customer base on the planet. We built our brand by pounding the pavement at a thousand trade shows, live demos, and pop up events over the past 8 years, so when I say we “know” our customers, in many, many cases, I literally mean we know them. I don’t know how common that is, but it’s something I’m extremely proud of.
That sort of segues into another thing that I think sets us apart: a lot of brands work extremely hard and spend boatloads of money attempting to cultivate “authentic” images (whatever that means). My whole team consists of 4 childhood friends, waking up at 3 in the morning, making the World’s Finest Pimento Cheese by hand, the same way I did when I started the company. The only difference is now we make about 3 tons a week…
We’re a tightly-knit group of people who love one another and love what we do. We recognize how blessed we are to be chasing this dream, and we understand the responsibility we have to the people who make it possible. The word “family” gets bandied about in corporate settings just about as much as “authenticity”. We’re fortunate enough to have both buzzwords baked right into our daily working lives.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I grew up playing in bands around the region, so if I’m trying to show somebody a rollicking good time, I gotta take them out to Snug Harbor and/or Petra’s (they’re next door neighbors, so why not both?) for some live music. Swing by the Diamond for some greasy spoon goodness after/in between to soak up whatever’s fueling your romp.
After that, a Sunday spent recovering on the patio at the Noda Company Store is tough to beat.
Obviously catch a Hornets/Panthers game if you’re in town during the season, and while you’re Uptown, swing by Romare Bearden Park and 7th Street Public Market to pregame.
The Whitewater Center is a massive regional draw for the outdoorsy-types (I count myself among these ranks, and I’ve never had a bad trip here).
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I don’t know if this is what y’all are looking for, but I’d love to Shoutout the team at 7th Street Public Market here in Charlotte. 7th Street was gracious enough to allow my wife and I to set up a weekend booth in 2014, and without those early days slingin’ cheese out of our mini fridge, we truly would not be where we are today.
7th Street is a true jewel in the Queen City’s crown, and everybody should spend as much time there as possible. Period.