With just one look at Zealous Melon’s hip basement headquarters, the fruit theme becomes apparent. The walls and the furniture, like the business’ logo, are bright orange and green. “Our office could pass for a frozen yogurt place,” laughs Käj Jorgensen, one of Zealous Melon’s two founders. That’s exactly the type of fun yet relaxed atmosphere Jorgensen and co-founder Brandon Blakemore want for their technology training and consulting company.
Blakemore and Jorgensen, both Omaha natives, met while working for Apple. Blakemore was a senior at University of Nebraska-Omaha and worked as a trainer, technician, and business specialist. Jorgensen had just graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan and primarily taught consumers (specifically those unfamiliar with Apple technology) how to use computers, iPhones, and iPads.
After six years with Apple, they both decided they wanted to start their own business. “We saw needs that weren’t being met,” Blakemore says. “Apple is very good at selling their products, but they’re not good with helping people implement those products into the workplace or their daily lives.”
Blakemore and Jorgensen quit on the same day, even handing in their two weeks notices together. That was when Zealous Melon was born—or, at least, that was when the idea of what would become Zealous Melon was born.
Although they knew what they wanted to do, they struggled with a company name. “Eventually, [my sister] Lauren came up with it using a name generator,” says Blakemore. “The generator suggested ‘Jealous Melon.’ We liked ‘Melon’ because we wanted something with fruit—like Apple—but not ‘Jealous.’ So we switched ‘Jealous’ to ‘Zealous,’ which worked better because we’re passionate about what we do.”
So what exactly does Zealous Melon do? They help people invest in their technology. For example, if a company wants to train its staff in integrating iPads with Windows desktops, Zealous Melon is there. “We started with training,” Jorgensen says. “But as the year went on, we started doing technology consulting, database design, iTunes book publishing, and web development.”
With clients like Valley Boys Roofing, KANEKO, 3M, and Joslyn Art Museum, Zealous Melon seems to be climbing quickly from its initial launch in 2012. Its success comes not only from Blakemore and Jorgensen’s aptitude for technology, but their pairing as well.
Blakemore is the business-minded workaholic; Jorgensen, the creative spirit. They mesh well. In fact, they’re not just business partners; they’re roommates, too. “We’re very involved with each other,” Jorgensen says. “You could say we’re ‘office spouses.’ I guess our living arrangement makes us more spousal, too.”
Blakemore laughs, “We both have girlfriends though!”
When it comes to who does what, they both agree that it depends on who is the better fit for the task. “If it has numbers, Brandon does it,” Jorgensen says. “If it’s something written, I do it. But we always run everything by each other.”
That includes office music, which Blakemore says is something Jorgensen can’t work without. “If we’re coding, we’re listening to something loud and angry, like Skrillex. Otherwise, it’s classic rock or something,” he says.
Some days, they work tirelessly from sunup to sundown. Other days, they’ll work on the interior design of their office or make the drive to El Bee’s in Waterloo, one of their favorite lunch destinations. Whatever they’re doing, they do it together.
The pair has great ideas for Zealous Melon’s future. Application development intrigues them, as does helping people with home automation, which their office already uses. (They can control their music, mood lighting, projector, and thermostat from their iPhones, iPads, and Apple desktops.)
No matter what Blakemore and Jorgensen’s futures hold, one thing is certain—the fruits of their labor will continue to grow a successful business.