In 2006, Jared Mees launched a record label with his wife Brianne to put out his first record, If You Wanna Swim With The Sharks..., by his band Jared Mees & The Grown Children.
The two fine arts majors originally met at Oxford, fell in love and dreamed of creating a space where they could help their artistic friends. After launching the label, shortly thereafter came a store under the same name, which today features goods and crafts made by local artists. Working in restaurants during the night and at the shop and label during the day, the couple learned as they went along, becoming one of the most recognizable labels and brands in the Northwest: Tender Loving Empire—now with two boutique storefronts and a third one announced just last week on NW 23rd Avenue.
Continuously innovative, Mees recently launched a new merchandising company, Generous, which connects a pay-what-you-want system to the sale of items like artisan goods and music, while giving a portion back to charity. (Vortex even uses the technology to collect subscriptions and gives 5 percent back to The Jeremy Wilson Foundation.)
The Gritty Birds sat down with Mees to talk about the ins and outs of running a label, his experiences as a musician, how the evolving industry has opened up new opportunities, and the joys of doing music for the art of it because "music enhances life."
The soundtrack to this week's episode features "It Came to Me" by The Domestics. The band's self-titled debut LP is due out on Tender Loving Empire on July 17.