This is another “year of the woman”—I mean, women.
There are so many talented women in this world, it’s time that we females put our heads together to come up with some great ideas, and even more importantly, ways that we can work together to capitalize on our strengths.
Kathleen “Kassy” McCall, Monica Kelly and I are now collaborating on an effort to honor local musician icons and do good as well.
Kassy is the creator of the NOLA Til Ya Die merchandise brand. Having been in business successfully for many years post-Katrina, she suffered a terrible loss last year when her retail store and warehouse burned to the ground in Mid-City. I had done business with Kassy and got to know and like her personally, as well as admire her business acumen, so I was also pretty upset with her about the terrible fire.
I had met Monica Kelly through Elsa Hahne, OffBeat’s longtime art director and photographer. Monica’s a fantastic graphic designer and a muralist who’s worked on several OffBeat covers as well as some t-shirts (which we had sold out).
So what could be better than to combine the talents and strengths of three creative entrepreneurs to create a business that uses all of our smarts and creative juices?
Thus we created “Music Til Ya Die,” a collaboration where we’ll work together to create merchandise that will showcase local musicians, and also provide them with a potential source of merch and income.
Our first effort was a paean to Professor Longhair. We created a t-shirt that we sold at the Longhair 100th Birthday Tribute at Tipitina’s in December, and we sold out of our first run of shirts. Professor Longhair’s family will receive a percentage of the proceeds from the sales of the shirts.
Our second effort is our tribute to Walter “Wolfman” Washington, and the shirts will be available at the 2018 Best of the Beat Awards on January 31, as well as on the OffBeat, NOLA Til Ya Die and Monica Kelly Studio websites. Again a portion of the proceeds will be given to Washington.
We also plan to create a line of merchandise where we can donate to the New Orleans Musicians’ Assistance Foundation (the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic) on a regular basis. We plan to release a new design every month, which you’ll be able to preview online and in the pages of OffBeat. We’d love to work with other musicians who need innovative merchandise, too.
Pretty good idea coming from three pushy broads, right?