Tez Hailu is the Creative Director of Silent Echo Studios, a creative collective agency located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The goal of Silent Echo Studios is to bring people together through art and creativity, two things that Hailu has always been passionate about.
“What inspired me to start Silent Echo Studios was the fact that creativity has always been a constant in my life,” he says.
Hailu is not your typical creative mastermind.
He and his family immigrated to the United States from Ethiopia in 1997 after winning a sponsorship.
Hailu admits that coming to the United States was a culture shock for him, but that the American way also unearthed creative potential he didn’t know previously existed.
“The first thing that I saw on TV was music videos. That was beautiful and it moved me in a way where it stayed with me,” Hailu says.
Throughout high school, Hailu experimented with graphic design work, which led to other creative ventures, before ultimately culminating in his decision to branch out and start Silent Echo Studios years later.
“I wanted to create an environment that would be transparent and cultivate a community of people that would collaborate together and create everlasting relationships,” Hailu says of the company’s mission, adding that he also wanted to foster a space where both he and other artists could create content that spanned all mediums.
“Whether it’s photos, digital design, film, or events, we do all of that,” says Hailu. “In 2019, we had grown our team to ten people, but then 2020 came and knocked us around. We then sidestepped and went back to digital design, and now things are getting back in order.”
As COVID-19 restrictions continue to lessen, Silent Echo Studios has ramped up their production schedule.
Just recently, the media company hosted a Mother’s Day-themed event that attracted local artists and families.
Along with their performances, Silent Echo Studios also released a short film entitled Breathe, which is part of a series Hailu created called Dedication.
Yet, beyond the impact performances and short film premiere, Hailu says the purpose of the event was to unite the community and offer artists a platform to connect with other creatives in a relaxed environment.
“We realized that there was a need for events that were not only about the turn-up. We wanted to bring the humanity back in connecting with people on a deeper level and creating a space for people to really bring their true authentic self out, while still having a good time,” Hailu explains.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this strategy worked, to the point that when Hailu screened Breathe, many of those in attendance were stunned by the quality and attention to detail of the film.
“They were so touched by that piece of art. I even had one gentleman walk up to me and admit that he wasn’t planning on coming to the event, but he was so thankful that he did because he needed this type of atmosphere after losing his mother last year,” Hailu shares.
“For me, these events are never about money or flashy setups. That stuff will come and go, and that’s why I am intent on building relationships in a place that people can better connect with each other.”
Moving forward, Hailu and Silent Echo Studios will continue to operate in the Twin Cities area, working with various start-ups, entrepreneurs, and midsize businesses to curate events.
While finances obviously play a role in which clients Hailu chooses to partner with, he also emphasizes that Silent Echo Studios is open to working with less established artists and entities in order to develop an eclectic portfolio.
“We are not just serving businesses. We are also building that community of creatives,” Hailu says.
In the next five years, Hailu plans to continue constructing a sustainable foundation for Silent Echo Studios, while at the same time recognizing the challenges that come with doing so.
“We are going to continuously grow in different realms. Even though I may have a vision for how things will go, I stay open to other possibilities because I understand that what we have planned may not go in the direction that we want it to,” he acknowledges.
This is one reason why Hailu is constantly looking for other ways to expand his company’s reach, and also why Hailu recently founded The Echo Effect, a podcast where he disseminates his thoughts and opinions on a variety of subjects.
“Starting it was a way for me to get in tune with who I am, but it also is a way for me to eventually connect with other professionals in the industry and provide value to their brand,” he says, then mentioning that this type of business model will ultimately aid in Silent Echo Studios achieving the aforementioned long-term success they have been seeking.
“The bottom line and sales are important, but ultimately assisting our clients and building an audience that creative types can reach is how we will become more sustainable.” QS
Want to learn more about Tez Hailu and Silent Echo Studios?
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