From Coffee To Content: Finding My Creative Tribe

From Coffee To Content: Finding My Creative Tribe

28th July 2015

This is the latest post in our 2015 Summer Series, where we give young talent in digital marketing a chance to shine in front of State of Digital’s audience. Today we feature Thomas Brown from Zest Digital.


Six months ago I was making coffee in a café in the centre of Oxford. I loved the team (and the coffee) but I’d been working there for almost five years, long enough on the front line of hospitality to last anyone a lifetime.

I wrote every day. I would often think about writing while elbow-deep in the dishwasher, or tamping coffee into the portafilters behind the till. I had been published by a number of independent magazines and presses but it never felt like enough. I wanted to work with words, to apply my creativity in a professional capacity.


We all seek acceptance. It is a human need, to belong somewhere; to make connections based on common experience and through this find yourself one part of something bigger.

The café worked because of this sense of community. During trading hours everyone had a station they were expected to maintain. They had responsibility, accountability, and the support of their colleagues when a rush of footfall hit. It was at once the best thing about the café and the part I found most lacking, because while I loved it, it was not the creative community that I craved.

Writing community

In a recent blog post for Zest Digital I discussed the importance of community with regards to learning and creativity. In short, we depend on one another to challenge, to question, to praise and support, shaping each other even as we drive our personal development.

For the longest time, the only way I could conceive of a writing career was through academia. University has made up a huge part of my life, and I felt like lecturing was the only route by which I might be able to write creatively for a living.

Then I met Zest.

Creative tribe

Standing at the bus stop after the first interview, I knew that I’d found something special.

I knew little about marketing, and much less about working in an office environment, but I was excited. I was excited by the prospect of writing for a living. I was excited to create, to challenge myself, to translate the craft I’d spent years practising into a profession.

I was excited by the company; their approach and their creative culture. By the time the bus had arrived, I knew that I had to be a part of it.


For some people, acceptance comes easily. I can think of a dozen friends who appeared to move effortlessly through school, university and work afterwards, stepping in and out of social groups as though they were born to them.

For others, acceptance seems harder to come by. We are told to stand up, be brave, live lives true to ourselves, but this same act separates us.

Working for Zest has changed all this. Every day is a learning experience. I am part of a community again, except where the café seemed rigid, run on rotas and policies, Zest is organic; a modern tribe beating with collaborative blood.

Zest Digital

This is our digital approach, connecting our clients to their customers through specific strategies tailored to each audience. Our creative culture drives innovative content. Talking to customers in their language, we spark conversations. By utilising our media contacts and identifying key influencers, we help brands to achieve maximum exposure to their target markets.

We all have our own passions, interests as personal to us as our fingerprints or the people we choose to lie next to at night, but it is comforting to know that I have found a small group of people who are similarly moved by language and its ability to engage, to affect, to compel an audience to action.

It’s been a long search but I’ve found my tribe. What are you doing to find yours?


About The Author

Thomas BrownThomas is a Content Marketing Executive at Zest, where he is responsible for creating engaging client copy. His passion for writing also extends to fiction. His stories have been published by a number of independent presses and in 2014 his novel LYNNWOOD was a finalist for The People’s Book Prize.


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This post was written by an author who is not a regular contributor to State of Digital. See all the other regular State of Digital authors here. Opinions expressed in the article are those of the contributor and not necessarily those of State of Digital.
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