One more flying leap for Black entrepreneurs
It’s such a Nashville story…. young people coming to Middle Tennessee
and soaring beyond their wildest dreams.
A young, Black couple is betting their future success on an airport concept
that might well launch a national network.
Nashville Threads is the brainchild of creators Jamie and Karen Anderson-
Isabel, who have already flourished with their parent company, Dalmatian
Creative Agency, Inc. They have been furnishing many national, regional
and local companies with customized promotional items for more than two
Jamie’s journey started when he moved from Memphis to Nashville to
attend Tennessee State University in 1984. He had diligently worked his
way toward completing his degree and becoming his family’s first-
generation graduate, when he faced one final hurdle: he was $750 short
and worried about finishing. But, his great aunt, said: “Come home for a
day.” Once there he found the necessary amount, in cash, wrapped neatly
in a handmade doily.
He did ultimately graduate in 1989, a watershed moment in his life, which
he describes as one of his life-changing experiences at TSU. The other
was meeting Nashville native Karen Anderson. She was the woman who
became Mrs. Anderson- Isabel in 1992 following her graduation.
Prior to starting Dalmatian, they were a two bank family with Jamie in the
management training program at NationsBank and Karen at SunTrust.
Jamie later transitioned to sales at J. T. Lovell Co., where he learned the
nuances of the lucrative promotional advertising industry. He also took a
contract fundraising assignment at TSU.
While building their company, Jamie added public service to his list of
endeavors by serving four dedicated years as a Metro councilman,
beginning in 2003. The couple became actively attuned to airport
opportunities when they became partners with HMSHost/Stellar Partners,
which currently operate five gift shop concepts on the ever-expanding
concourses of Nashville’s BNA. Two additional stores are expected to open
The Isabel’s formed their wholly owned subsidiary, Nashville Threads,
during the height of the pandemic in 2020, with Karen serving as CEO.
Their investment was spurred by the Airport Concessions Disadvantaged
Business Enterprises program, funded by the Federal Aviation
The duo’s concept, with its trademarked name, is for an upscale gift store
offering a curated selection of local and regional goods. For example, the
“threads” will encompass t-shirts and other apparel showcasing work
created only by Nashville artists and graphic designers. Other Nashville-
centric favorites, locally distilled liquor products and soon-to-be known local
products will also be part of the stores’ special mix.
They have a target date of mid-September for a celebratory opening.
“This is another step in both the exciting business and personal journey we
are having in Nashville,” according to Karen. By building on their
anticipated success, the pair plans to take the concept to other airports
throughout the country.
“Each step of the way, we have learned to walk before we run; but then, we
take bold, but measurable steps,” Jamie said. “We think Nashville Threads
will take the travelers’ experience to new heights,” he added.
I’m betting on this couple as they take this flying leap.