Rocio Sanchez: [00:00:00] Welcome to Transition of Style, the podcast about fashion, identity, and how queer leaders are disrupting the fashion industry today. I’m your host, Rocio Sanchez. Feel free to use any pronouns for me. I’m a digital marketer with a specialization in queer business and fashion. And one of the things that I love to dedicate my time to is to really honor the LGBT community in the fashion industry and to really lift those voices and talk about how they’re making a change today.
Rocio Sanchez: Are we going to be speaking about them in 10 to 20 years? Let’s see, but let’s start talking about them today. And one of the people that I really am excited to talk to today is model, business entrepreneur, just multi hyphenate, if you will, artist Just so many things going on. Is STEEZO coming from ATL, Atlanta.
Rocio Sanchez: Thank you so much for being here. How are you?[00:01:00]
STEEZO: I’m doing well. I’m excited to be here. It’s exciting to talk about fashion because it’s my number one for sure.
Rocio Sanchez: Yeah, I definitely can see that. Anything else that you would add to your multi hyphenate title, artist, fashion icon. What else would you say?
STEEZO: I invented Titty Tape. That’s one thing, but every, you pretty much, you named it. You named, You named it.
Rocio Sanchez:Yeah, we love to hear it.First we really want to talk, about you and where you come from and how you describe your story of, coming into your own before all this, stuff with your career, which is amazing. I really want to talk about you, yourself and how you came to be. So how would you describe your style? How did you come into your style right now? And how does that relate to how other people see you?
STEEZO: It’s funny. I think that I came into my style by my mom. I was a little chubby kid, right? I was a chubby kid and she always bought me boy clothes. And so as I grew up over the years, I just kind of started to love boy clothes and the way that they [00:02:00] fit. So my fashion pretty much, like I say, came from my mom, but I think I took it up a notch.
STEEZO: I’ve always been a little different, little weird. I’ve never been afraid to try different pieces, different things. Now I dabble in women’s clothes and men’s clothes because I know that’s true fashion. But yeah, it’s just kind of a thing that I have. Even my name means style.
Rocio Sanchez: really
STEEZO: It’s like, it’s slang. So Steez is like your style, your personality, like who you are. So I just made it like STEEZO and, and STEEZO even now means like your style, your swag, your persona.
Rocio Sanchez: Oh, I love that. Thank you so much for explaining that.
Rocio Sanchez: And also, shout out to all the moms out there, to your mom, for really giving you the space to explore that, right?
Rocio Sanchez: Other people we’ve spoken to and my experience as well. It’s like we kind of maybe experienced it through adolescence, But we really focused on the outside. What are other people doing? Comparison, which is, it’s the time we naturally do that. We do that all the time.
Rocio Sanchez: And then a lot of people go, well, [00:03:00] then there was this disruption. Like, suddenly I started to change. And that’s what happened to me personally, where at first it was really femme and now I’m like, Nope, Nope, none to that. But I do, there is a part of me that says, Oh, maybe I do want to try the more feminine side.
Rocio Sanchez: Like, like for you. Right. And it’s more of a creative thing. It’s not really a, a thing that you feel like you have to do. You have to perform it. Right. So how do you feel about that? Like, now that you’re exploring the more feminine thing, how do you feel about that experience?
STEEZO: Well, it doesn’t bother me. Just, I’ve always been like a earthshaker. Like, if it’s not the norm, I’ma try it at least twice, you know? Most people, like me, consider myself a stud. We don’t dress femme. But I truly found myself through doing both. Understanding fully your feminine side through expression and your masculine side.
STEEZO: Oh, you, you can really change the world like that. And you teach other people to be comfortable in the skin they’re in. And that’s kind of just been my experience, like, showing other people [00:04:00] that you don’t have to be this super butch, super hard stud. You can femme it up and still get the same kind of respect. So, I really enjoy that.
Rocio Sanchez: That’s really cool. I think it is easier said than done. To just be like, just do it for yourself. Tap into the creativity because there is creativity, so much creativity in tapping into all of it. The feminine, the masculine, the everything else. But you could say that all you want. We hear so much about people online saying, love yourself, love yourself, love their self, but they’re not, they’re struggling to do that with themselves. I really want to learn more about how you define being a stud for yourself.
Rocio Sanchez: What does it mean for you? If you could speak on how that means for like the community, the Black community, how do you define it?
STEEZO: So I feel like one of the hardest things in the world to define might actually be a stud, because there are so many things that go into it. Sometimes a stud is extremely masculine. To me a stud is, it’s more on a soul [00:05:00] level to me. It’s that soul that you can identify as masculine, but you would have placed it here at birth as feminine.
STEEZO: But you can clearly see the masculine in it. Like I’m, I’m a great definition of a stud.
Rocio Sanchez: I really want to talk about how you came into your style and then how it came into doing what you’re doing as a career, right? Again, multi hyphenate, you’re an artist, but you’re also you put yourself out there, you put your style out there.
Rocio Sanchez: How do you think your style relates to your career as this like fashion icon, stud icon, whatever you want to call yourself at this point,
STEEZO: So I think it relates to it just because first off, image is number one. When you’re doing anything, but as a music artist and then like, I do call myself stud icon. You definitely have to come with iconic, bold, fearless, just super cool looks. And I always do it. I partner with this guy, his name is Belissimo The Stylist.
STEEZO: We literally [00:06:00] come up with the most outrageous stuff to put on. Like, the more outrageous, the better. But I think that. Again, it just inspires people. Everything that I do, I look for how I can inspire somebody else to be more free, to love themselves more, and to love fashion more because you can play with so many different things.
STEEZO: Like I say, I wasn’t always into women’s clothing. I’ve always kind of like male clothing, but like, you can find so much good stuff in the women’s department. And you should always play with it. Like, masculine shirt, feminine pants, you know, or cool hat. But it’s just a playground. Fashion is a playground. I’ve definitely found myself through fashion a hundred percent and I don’t know. I’m a rock star, man. I wear what I want to wear and I just like to make people happy. You know, when people see a cool outfit, it does brighten their day, and it does make them want to say like, okay, I want that jacket. I want those pants and I live for that.
Rocio Sanchez: Yeah, no, I appreciate that. And that kind of [00:07:00] is the fun aspect to it, the creative side of it. And people just get drawn to that. Like, that’s just again, a natural thing. I want to know more about, here we’re getting into the Titty Tape. How did that come about? Was that a creative thing?
Rocio Sanchez: Was that like, you just put something together, right? Tell me more about how that came to be.
STEEZO: Man. So the craziest experience of my life again, I’m a music artist. I was not thinking about Titty Tape at all until it was just my thing. Right? So, long story short, I’ve hung out in the community for a while. And in the community, you have your different parts of the community and they have balls.
STEEZO: You have your like trans men and things like that. So I’ve met this, well, she’s not trans, but she does all the balls. And so, she was teaching me how to tape down. And at that time, they were using duct tape. But I have a lot of tattoos up through my chest, and so we wanted to do some deep V cuts, we wanted to do some open jackets, whatever, whatever.
STEEZO: So I was duct taping my breasts down. Painful, and I’m sure it was probably super [00:08:00] toxic, but that’s what we were doing, right? And so, I showed my aunt and my aunt said, that looks extremely dumb. You need to come up with something else. And so we came up with Titty Tape. We sat down, we just kind of made a blueprint for what we wanted and she’s like a seamstress and some more stuff.
STEEZO: So we really sat down and came up with a product and, from there, it was just history. It’s sold over millions of dollars worth of Titty Tape. Some of the biggest people in fashion have kind of like duped my product. I mean, you know, they say ain’t great till you imitate it. So.
Rocio Sanchez: I feel that. I feel that. No, but, but you gotta get your credit where it’s due. This is why this podcast is out here. Cause I really want to highlight people who are doing the thing. And they’re talking to other people. Like you’re out here in ATL. I’m talking to people in New York. I’m talking to people in Amsterdam.
Rocio Sanchez: We’re out here doing the thing. And tell me, why do you think people related to it?
STEEZO: I know a lot of people were duct taping and then a lot of people were double [00:09:00] sided taping or whatever. It was just a need for it and it came so on time and it’s like, I do, I get a lot of credit from the community. There are some people who probably still don’t know that I’m the originator, the creator. But it’s everywhere now, and I feel like, genuinely, sometimes you have to sit back and appreciate what you actually did for the world, and for culture. Like, you can go in Spencer’s now, and they have boob tapes, and you can, you can go in Forever 21, and they have boob tapes, and I’m still making my money, so I’m not mad, but I look around, and I’m like, wow, look at what I did. And I’m super, super proud.
Rocio Sanchez: Yeah, as you said, there are people in your community that do put credit to your name. You put your own credit to your name. That’s great to hear. You have to be your biggest cheerleader. But of course, that’s not enough, right? You got to have people around you who love it and to love to see it.
Rocio Sanchez: I really want to know more about, you speak so proudly of it, love to hear it, and all that stuff. But I’m sure as you were developing it, coming up with the idea then to [00:10:00] manufacturing and logistics and all that stuff, what was the biggest challenge that you may have had as an entrepreneur? Whether that had to do with just the very like technical side of things, just getting it together or more to like your experience. Did people take you serious when you walked into the room to say, Hey, I want to do this?
STEEZO: It was definitely finding a manufacturer, somebody who could, actually get the tape going and rolling. And I actually ended up finding them in China. And so it became raising the capital to be able to afford the product that I just pushed out to the community. Because we were able to make maybe three or four rolls, you know. Maybe a week they were able to make thousands of rolls in a month. And so that was it, the biggest thing was getting the money. It actually took no time marketing because the first day that I put it out on the internet, I was driving around in my car, its a super viral video.
STEEZO: I was driving around in my car, I was super hot, but I had my Titty Tape on [00:11:00] and I’m like everybody come and get your tape! I clicked off of that live, and by the next morning, I think I had over 500 million views. And so I didn’t have to do, I didn’t have to do much marketing. It shot out itself. I just had to meet the demand at that point.
STEEZO: And, by the grace of God, I was able to raise the money. It was $17,000. I was able to get the money and I was able to get things rolling. And since then, I just, it’s been going and going.
Rocio Sanchez: Yeah. So you were saying that, the biggest challenge was essentially finding that manufacturer because the supply wasn’t meeting the demand at that point. The fact that you could just make a video, which again, not everybody can do that is, the magic of marketing where it’s like when you already have a presence where you could literally just do one thing and it could sell it out, that is magic, that is magic.
Rocio Sanchez: A lot of people work really hard to get to that. And a lot of people, unfortunately are blinded by virality. They think, Oh my gosh, I gotta get viral or else this isn’t going to work. And you don’t realize that there’s actually another side to [00:12:00] it. You’re lucky and you’ve worked for it, of course, but you’re lucky that you did get that viral moment.
Rocio Sanchez: But if you didn’t have that, I’m interested in like just the hypothetical of how would you have gotten that? That’s just my marketing brain working. How would you have gotten Titty Tape out there if you weren’t, I wouldn’t say relying, but if you didn’t have STEEZO, you know, like online presence putting it out there? What do you think about that?
STEEZO: I know being STEEZO definitely pushed it. It definitely took it to where it is. And honestly, I don’t know how I would have pushed it if I wasn’t who I am, I, I really don’t know. Maybe I would have gone to where I saw the need, you know, maybe I would have gone to the balls and I would have gone to the community.
STEEZO: Maybe I would have set up a kiosk or something at the mall. Let me tell you, something about me, I’m going to get it done. So I would have done it, but the, the bad part about going viral, I was not ready for my viralness. I didn’t have everything together. I didn’t have [00:13:00] patented trademark. I didn’t have any of that. I didn’t expect to go viral. I just was being funny on my phone. And so it’s like, going viral is good, but had I not gone viral, I would have had time to secure the bag as they say. And like I say, luckily I was able to kind of, you know, run up to catch it.
STEEZO: But, they say when you become an entrepreneur, your first thing, you’re going to make a lot of expensive mistakes. I made some expensive mistakes, but I learned so much. And now, like, I help people trademark and brand and get their business together before they launch something.
STEEZO: So, eh. It was a, it was a good process, but expensive mistakes for sure.
Rocio Sanchez: That’s great insight though, because one of the hard truths about being an entrepreneur and business owner is that sometimes you literally don’t know anything until you do it. And there is so much like, right, there’s so much like, you stop yourself. I just need this more information.
Rocio Sanchez: I [00:14:00] need this little thing. But sometimes you just got to do it. Right. And so maybe that viral moment, it kicked you in the, in the ass so that you can actually, like, answer the questions and you made those expensive mistakes, sometimes you just gotta go through it. Which obviously, doesn’t mean that, like, you gotta go all over the place and actively make the mistakes, but just not
Rocio Sanchez: beat yourself up about it so much, right? I think that that’s great insight no matter what. And I relate to it even though I’ve never launched a physical product, but I, I hear the process that you’re talking about and I’ve had moments of virality in like little pockets of the internet. Cause even then, even 500 million views is still a little pocket of the internet, which is wild.
Rocio Sanchez: Right. But it’s so, it’s so true. It puts it into perspective. That’s just great insight. Do you have anything else to add to that bit?
STEEZO: I’m just going to plug it since I have the chance. I am a music artist and I love to tell everybody about my music because it is, it goes hand in hand with my fashion. you can find my music everywhere at [00:15:00] STEEZO TM. And I got a new song out called Alter Ego right now.
Rocio Sanchez: Okay. I love it I’m a, I’m a hit play on Spotify, give you some streaming numbers on there. I would love to spread the love a little bit. We’re uplifting you in this episode. I would love for you to shout out any other like queer icons, stud icons that are doing something awesome, whether that’s in fashion or elsewhere. Who comes to mind too, they’re like doing something awesome. I want to shout them out on the podcast.
STEEZO: So I definitely want to shout out to Teresa with Stud Model Projects and she’s the reason I’m here. I’d like to shout out, so many, I’m just going to say a few names. Big Sexy, Perez, Hair Physician, Alonzo Arnold, Boss Brit, DJ XL, DJ M, Girlie the CEO. That’s just to name a few. If I miss you guys, I love you. Oh, and Alex and Prada.
Rocio Sanchez: I love to hear. Thank you so much for sharing that. Finally you, you plugged your music, but how, where else people can find you.
STEEZO: So everything, STEEZO TM, S T E E Z O T M. Literally everything from music to Facebook to Instagram. I don’t do Twitter and TikTok much, but on every single thing you can find me at STEEZO TM. And you can find me STEEZOTM.com. If you wanna just get all my stuff in one STEEZOTM.com. And if you want Titty Tape, it’s therealtittytape.com and it’s t i t t y.
Rocio Sanchez: All right. You heard it here, folks. STEEZO TM on all the socials.
Rocio Sanchez: Well, thank you so much for being here. I wish you the best over there across the Atlantic and I’ll, I’ll talk to you soon. Okay.
STEEZO: For sure. I’m gonna come to Amsterdam to see you too.
Rocio Sanchez: Absolutely. Come through. All right. Bye.
Rocio Sanchez: Transition of Style is brought to you by FC Podcasts, a division of Fashion Consort. Learn more about how FC Podcasts can help you with podcasting, from strategy and creation, to production and marketing at fcpodcasts.com. That’s fcpodcasts.com. [00:17:00] Thank you FC Podcasts, for making Transition of Style possible.
Rocio Sanchez: Now, back to the show.
Rocio Sanchez: Welcome back to Transition of Style. Today’s key takeaways will be about personal branding and what you can learn about harnessing virality within digital marketing. STEEZO, as we learned in this episode, has a personal brand. Artist, rapper, fashion icon, and founder of Titty Tape, which we learned was influenced by STEEZO’s time in the Atlanta ball scene.
Seeing other queer folks taping their breasts down with duct tape just wasn’t working. So in came Titty Tape and saved the day. We heard that it was a matter of virality that launched the tape into success. But at the same time, we learned that virality can be very hard to keep up with if you don’t have the right foundation.
So, what can we learn from STEEZO’s Titty Tape business endeavor? One, prepare for virality. If you have a product that you believe in and you’re so excited to share it with the world, [00:18:00] maybe trademark it and protect yourself legally. Get your ducks in a row, before you start churning out content.
Rocio Sanchez: Luckily for STEEZO, they were able to catch up with the demand. But the lesson they learned, they have now put to good use. By helping others, trademark before they blow up.
Two, harness the virality. When you go viral, very little can actually fully prepare you for what that’s like. People will love the content. People will hate it. But are you prepared for what happens when thousands of orders come through and your system gets backed up? Have a contingency plan in place for when things get too much.
Rocio Sanchez: Third, prepare for expensive mistakes. Even with STEEZO sitting pretty with Titty Tape cash now, they admitted to making some really expensive mistakes. I can even admit to that as well. Remember that you can’t prepare for everything, and mistakes will have to be made for you to move past it. Spend time building a community of fellow entrepreneurs you can turn to [00:19:00] when mistakes do come up.
That’s it for this episode of Transition of Style. If you want to know more about what’s in store for the rest of the season, be sure to sign up to the newsletter on transitionofstyle. com, or follow on Instagram, @TransitionofStyle.
Thanks for listening, and I’ll see you next time.
STEEZO is an Atlanta-based fashionisto, stud icon, music artist, songwriter, and entrepreneur. With nearly 70,000 followers on Instagram and 90,000 on Facebook, STEEZO gained this audience by being themselves, making fashion statements, and dropping music left and right. STEEZO is also the founder of TittyTape ®, a chest binding solution for all types of breast-havers.