(Above: The Music City Creative Staff poses for a group photo in a few of their tees. From left to right: Cameron (he/him), Emmitt (they/ them), Alexis (they/them), Jared (he/him), Madison (she/her), and Steven (they/them. Photo by Adam Roberts)
Jared Sizemore (he/him) and Steven Romeo (they/them) are two inspired minds at Music City Creative helping to shape design culture throughout Middle Tennessee.
Music City Creative is more than just a print shop for advocacy apparel. They are a group of talented folks who manage retail, build e-commerce solutions, and offer support for other brands’ merchandise. Since 2020, they have experienced considerable growth and greatly expanded their operations. The group went from printing by hand to expanding with more space and investing in more equipment to meet the increasing needs of their customers. From beginning as a small start-up company to recently going viral on TikTok, this duo leads their team with a culture that cultivates their core values of sustainability, community support, and social equity. I had the pleasure of sitting down with them and talking about their history and values as a creative and progressive brand.
Meet Jared and Steven.
In your own words, tell us about Music City Creative.
Jared: Music City Creative is a Nashville-based hand-screen printing shop and retail store specializing in eco-friendly custom merchandise for events, brands, and special projects. Music City Creative partners with national and local brands to support the advancement of social equity and mobility through its designs, diverse hiring practices, and partnerships with nonprofit groups. Music City Creative has more than five million total views across Facebook, Instagram, and Tik-Tok.
Why is creativity important to you?
J: Creativity is important because it leads to visibility. Visibility is always the first step to being authentically yourself.
Steven: Various designs represent our neighbors and so it’s important that we provide a “Southern Progressive Brand.”
What has been your best lesson learned running Music City Creative?
S: My best lesson has been being patient. With growth comes having to make quick decisions. I have to remind myself to do my best to slow down to tweak decisions sometimes.
J: My biggest lesson is proving young people can do anything. Trusting that we know what we’re doing and showing that to others by our work. If it wasn’t for our team we wouldn’t have a business. Others need to understand that too.
If you could offer advice to anyone who is LGBTQ+ who wants to have a career in your industry, what would you tell them?
J: Don’t be afraid to authentically be yourself. Being you is the best investment you can have.
S: Get to it. If you have an idea – get it off the ground and go for it. If you don’t make it, keep trying. My other advice is to surround yourself with a great team. Big things can happen with a team.
Why is advocacy so crucial and why do you make it part of your company culture?
S: When we make a decision to support an initiative, we make sure we have the buy-in from our team. We have supported several groups in the community, like GLSEN, and will continue to do so.
J: It is important to us to use sustainable items for our products. We only use water-based inks. Also, we make it a point to only work with suppliers who employ people with living wages. Equity is important.
Thanks to Jared and Steven for allowing us the opportunity to highlight local creativity!
Visit the retail space located in Marathon Village, 1200 Clinton St, Suite 15, Nashville, TN 37203. To see more about Music City Creative, visit their website at musiccitycreative.co and shop online at printshop.musiccitycreative.co.