by Patheresa Wells
Often our dreams don’t take a direct path to fulfillment. For example, if we met younger, we might need to tell a story about how we got to where we are. For Christine Geronimo, owner of Midnight Supply Company, a Filipino woman-owned print shop in South Park, the path to becoming a merch maven started with music.
After growing up in Silverdale, Washington, Geronimo attended Washington State University in Pullman. Despite being on the east side of the state, Geronimo learned about Seattle’s hip-hop music scene while in college and made the decision to leave school to pursue her dream of working in the music industry. music. After emailing studios, radio stations – basically anyone she could – she landed an internship opportunity at Sub Pop Records. On the first day, his task was to sort through a box of goods to be shipped.
At this point, Geronimo found himself questioning his decisions. Her first thought was, “I don’t want to do this,” but then she changed her mind. She had moved across the state to try her luck in Seattle’s music scene, even if that meant packing and shipping goods.
It was the relationships Geronimo forged during those early years of internships that she says led her to where she is today, the proud Filipino American owner of a small clothing business. In addition to Sub Pop, she has also done internships with Macklemore and Pearl Jam. During that time, she found herself building a community with the artists she worked with, learning the skills that led her to folding posters, selling merchandise at fairs, working with print shops producing the booty so central to the image of an artist. And now, as a print shop owner, Geronimo appreciates the creativity that comes with what she calls “making your merchandising dreams come true.”
But how did the dream go from music to merch? The Midnight Supply company started out as an existing print shop bought by two guys, one of them Marcus Lalario, whom Geronimo knew through the music community. Lalario offered her a job as manager of the print shop, and two years later she bought it. The business, which just celebrated its seventh year in March, was originally based in Wallingford. Geronimo moved it to South Park in 2019, buying a second automatic press as his business grew.
Having worked in two male-dominated industries, music and now merchandising, Geronimo wants to show that there are women in both fields doing great work despite the optics.
“I was one of the only women around all these guys at the time. And now I’m able to start a business where I can hire more women to work around me. We are in an industry dominated by white men in the printing industry. But I feel like I can change that, bring a new face to a whole world that people don’t even understand,” she said.
Not only is Geronimo committed to hiring more women as she grows her business, but she also strives to build relationships with others in the field. For example, she recently joined the Gildan Board of Decorators, a consortium led by “10 industry voices selected from a broad spectrum of the printwear space.” Although there are other female-owned print shops across the country, Geronimo says they don’t receive the same kind of representation as their male counterparts. And she wants to change that because she is inspired by women print shop owners and constantly learns from them.
Much of what Midnight Supply Company does comes down to fostering relationships with customers and their design goals, and good communication is key. Getting clients from their artwork to digital mockups and then through an approval process ensures they get what they want.
While at some point Geronimo questioned her decision to quit everything and embark on the music scene as an intern, she now knows that the leap of faith paid off. And while the pandemic has taken its toll on local music venues, the music community is going nowhere. Midnight Supply Company has received work manufacturing merchandise for clients beyond the local scene, such as Filipino American singer Olivia Rodrigo who recently won three Grammys. “The fact that this year we’ve been able to get musicians to this level where my career started with local Seattle rappers – to be able to see growth is very exciting,” Geronimo said.
Geronimo’s involvement in the music scene may have taken a different turn than she originally imagined, but music is still an integral part of her business and is integrated into all creative aspects. When Geronimo sits in her shop listening to music, she listens to local artists. Her current favorites are Hollis Wong-Wear’s new album, Subliminaland J-Pinder’s new album, Everything costs. Geronimo befriended the two artists over 10 years ago as a young trainee trying to make their way in the music industry.
“I think now what I enjoy the most is being the creator of this stuff. And producing something that makes someone like a fan feel what I felt there so many years ago that I still feel today,” she said.
Midnight Supply Company is ready to make your merchandising dreams come true. Whether you need t-shirts, tote bags or hoodies, Geronimo and his team are ready to help.
This is part of a series of articles sponsored by the Seattle Office of Economic Development in recognition of Asian Indian, Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Well Patheresa is a poet, writer and storyteller who lives in SeaTac, Washington. Born to a black mother and a Persian father, her experiences as a multicultural child shaped her desire to defend and amplify her community. She is currently attending Highline College in Des Moines. Follow her on Twitter @PatheresaWells.
📸 Featured Image: Christine Geronimo has always wanted to be part of the Seattle music scene. Now as the owner of Midnight Supply Company, Geronimo collaborates with musicians and artists to create merchandise and branding. Photo courtesy of Midnight Supply Company.
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