by Patheresa Wells
Often our dreams do not take a direct route to fruition. For instance, if we came across our younger selves, we might need to tell a story about how we got to where we are. For Christine Geronimo, owner of Midnight Supply Company, a Filipina woman-owned print shop in South Park, the road to becoming a merch maven started with music.
After growing up in Silverdale, Washington, Geronimo attended Washington State University in Pullman. Though she was on the eastern side of the state, Geronimo discovered the Seattle hip-hop music scene in college and made the decision to leave school to pursue her dream of working in the music industry. After emailing studios, radio stations — essentially anyone she could — she landed an opportunity for an internship at Sub Pop Records. On her first day, her task was to sort through a box of merchandise to ship.
At that moment, Geronimo found herself questioning her decisions. Her first thought was, “I don’t want to do this,” but then she had a change of heart. She had moved across the state to take a chance on being part of the Seattle music scene somehow, even if that meant packaging and shipping out merchandise.
It is the relationships that Geronimo formed during those early years of internships that she credits with leading her to where she is today, the proud Filipina American owner of a small clothing business. In addition to Sub Pop, she also did internships with Macklemore and Pearl Jam. During this time, she found herself building a community with the artists she worked with, learning the skills that took her from folding posters to selling merch at shows to working with print shops producing the swag so central to an artist’s image. And now as the owner of a print shop, Geronimo enjoys the creativity that comes with what she calls “making your merch dreams come true.”
But how did the dream go from music to merch? Midnight Supply company started as an already existing print shop bought by two guys, one of them Marcus Lalario, who Geronimo knew through the music community. Lalario offered her a job managing the print shop, and two years later she purchased it. The business, which just celebrated its seventh year in March, was originally located in Wallingford. Geronimo moved it to South Park in 2019, purchasing a second automatic press as her 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 that were around all these guys back in the day. And now, I’m able to build a business where I can hire more women to work around me. We are in a white male-dominated industry 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 is also working 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 cross-section of the printwear space.” Though there are other women-owned print shops across the country, Geronimo says that they do not receive the same sort of representation as their male counterparts. And she wants to change that because she is inspired by women print shop owners and is constantly learning from them.
A big part of what Midnight Supply Company does boils down to fostering relationships with clients and their design goals, and good communication is key. Taking clients from their artwork to digital mock-ups and then through an approval process ensures they receive what they want.
If at one point Geronimo questioned her decision to leave everything and start as an intern in the music scene, she now knows the leap of faith paid off. And while the pandemic took a toll on local music venues, the music community isn’t going anywhere. Midnight Supply Company has received work making 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 at that level where my career started with local Seattle rappers — being able to see the growth is very exciting,” said Geronimo.
Geronimo’s involvement in the music scene might have taken a different turn than she originally imagined, but music is still an intrinsic part of her business, and woven into every creative aspect. When Geronimo sits in her shop listening to tunes, she’s listening to local artists. Her current favorites are Hollis Wong-Wear’s new album, Subliminal, and J-Pinder’s new album, Everything Cost. Geronimo formed friendships with both artists over 10 years ago as a young intern trying to make her way in the music industry.
“I think now what I enjoy most is being the creator of those types of things. And producing something that makes someone like a fan feel what I felt so many years ago and still feel today,” she said.
Midnight Supply Company is ready to make your merch dreams come true. Whether you need T-shirts, tote bags, or hoodies, Geronimo and her team are prepared to help.
This is one of a series of articles sponsored by the Seattle Office of Economic Development in recognition of Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Patheresa Wells is a Queer poet, writer, and storyteller who lives in SeaTac, Washington. Born to a Black mother and Persian father, her experiences as a multicultural child shaped her desire to advocate for and amplify her community. She currently attends Highline College in Des Moines. Follow her on Twitter @PatheresaWells.
📸 Featured Image: Christine Geronimo always wanted to be part of Seattle’s music scene. Now as the owner of Midnight Supply Company, Geronimo collaborates with musicians and artists to create merch and branding. Photo courtesy of Midnight Supply Company.
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