We had the good fortune of connecting with Tony Natalizio and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tony, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
A few years ago I decided to get into some kind of business. I didn’t know what it was yet but I began brainstorming. The goal was to start something that complimented my current career as a professional musician.
My family relocated in 2019 to Detroit, MI from Houston, TX. That is when a lot of my ideas started to take shape. I began writing and releasing music while I reestablished myself as a working musician in the area. I wanted to sell merchandise along with my music. The idea of screen printing started at that point for me. I knew I could at least make my own merchandise to sell and generate some business from other musicians that I already knew and worked with.
YouTube videos pretty much taught me everything I know. I tirelessly watched instructional videos in all areas of the business. I did this for about 4 months and I could visualize the entire process and knew what I needed to do to get this in motion.
My wife and I decided to move back to Houston in 2020 and I jumped into the business. I ordered the equipment and started screen printing in our garage. I quickly outgrew that space and moved into a production space in Spring, TX, where I’ve been able to expand my services and workforce.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My career is split between being a musician and my business, Ink Sounds Custom Merchandising.
My journey as a professional musician started in 2008 after I left the United States Marine Corps. It has been my career ever since. In 2020, when the world shut down, I knew that I wanted to have something else to fall back on. I wanted to create another revenue stream outside of my music career. I got into screen printing and created Ink Sounds. I’m proud of my accomplishments so far in both careers but I still have a long way to go and a lot to learn. I do my best to provide quality products and service as musician and merch maker.
I got to where I am today by constantly learning, trying to improve everyday, and doing my best to be good to others. I’ve learned to manage a little better work/life balance and that has help fight burn out and allows more time to be spent with my wife and kids.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’d say just come with me and hang on. haha. My life is pretty busy and on the move. In a given week I travel around Houston or even farther playing shows in bars, music venues, and weddings. It’s a pretty good time and there’s a fun night life around Houston. They could also tag along on some stuff we do with the kids like the Houston Zoo or going to NASA. We’d probably have some good lunches at spots around Spring, TX like Woodsons, Whiskey Cake, Gringos, and Pallota’s to name a few.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My wife definitely! She’s been very supportive of my career as a professional musician, the starting of Ink Sounds, and pretty much everything I do, She often says she can’t do what she does without me and it goes both ways. We are a team and work hard to try and provide a good life for our 4 boys while accomplishing our goals.