Guest Blog: Indie City Guides: Nashville by Freshie & Zero #1

Hey there, Indie Fixx readers, I’m debuting a new feature today on the Indie Fixx Guest BlogIndie City Guides

A way for you to get to know some of the indie-friendliest cities around the world, I will be sharing Indie City Guides periodically from guestbloggers as well as those written by myself.  Indie City Guides will include indie shopping tips, of course, but will also include other related info that you might find interesting. Stuff like: indie designer & artist  spotlights, hot entertainment spots, answers to the question ‘where to eat?’, fashion scenes and trends, cool neighborhood tips, arts & culture spots and more.  All good stuff that will be useful to you in planning a trip or to better get to know your own city. 

 Are you interested in writing an Indie City Guide or sharing what is indie happening about your city, then shoot me an email

This week the spotlight is on Nashville, TN. Read all about the “Big Little City” from Beth Lawrence of Freshie & Zero. This is the first installment of Beth’s guide. The 2nd will run tomorrow (July 9th) and the 3rd will run on Thursday (July 10th).

by guest contributor Beth Lawrence

Nashville is often referred to by its residents as a “Big Little City” – meaning that we have everything you could want in a big city, but the friendly, close-knit atmosphere of a small town. Nashville is the only city in the world where people will call themselves an artist and everyone assumes they’re a musician! People come to Nashville from across the globe to pursue their music career in “Music City USA,” and even if their dreams of making it big don’t come true, these pilgrims tend to settle down anyway, adding to the atmosphere of Nashville’s melting pot of cultures. The Barista down the street knows your drink, but on any given night, you could go to an NFL game, see a Broadway play, hear a bluegrass band, or catch the Nashville Symphony. You can dine on anything from Ethiopian to Italian, Jamaican to Indian – all within a few miles from your home. In addition, with all of the major universities in the city limits (Vanderbilt, David Lipscomb, and Belmont to name a few) there is a large regularly rotating influx of hip young people who keep the city fresh and vibrant.

Luckily, with all of this diversity comes a great selection of local shops, boutiques, and designers making a different kind of Music City dream come true! The creative environment nurtures those who dream to live off of their creations in a more crafty way – whether it is to create a line of your own, or to open your own shop and cater to those who want to support local and buy handmade.

One of the original fashion designers of Nashville is legendary designer Manuel, (He doesn’t have a website, but you can visit his Myspace profile) who has a couture boutique that feels like a country western museum  — he has designed and handcrafted stage outfits for artists from Dolly Parton and Madonna to the White Stripes. If your pilgrimage to Nashville includes visiting a piece of its history, Manuel must be a stop on your journey – he’s even had a retrospective at Nashville’s museum – the Frist Center for the Visual Arts.

Photo from getbax at flickr.

1922 Broadway
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 321-5444 (call ahead)

Also in the midtown area are two popular boutique shopping destinations – Hillsboro Village and Edgehill Village.

Photo from Daniel Box.

Swing first by Hillsboro Village and visit Social Graces — a locally owned stationery shop that carries indie labels such as Hello LuckyPamela Barsky, and Yellow Bird Paper Greetings, just to name a few.  The vintage vibe of this shop is accented with flea-market display finds and selective but plentiful stock.


Social Graces
1704 21st Ave S
Nashville, TN 37212

Keep walking south and you’ll hit Fire Finch — a boutique with a modern-day bazaar feel; they carry all kinds of indie designers and are stocked full of fabulous jewelry, accessories and a selective bit of clothing.  Owned by April Parker and Susan Castle, the pair decided to open a store when they needed a change of pace from the medical field, not to mention wanting to feed their love for all things beautiful!   They have an expansive selection of small labels including Kathryn Reichart, Pieces of a Girl, Night Owl Paper Goods, and Wry Baby.  One of their favorite lines is Pyrrha  – solid sterling pendants made by pressing antique seals into the hot silver – each piece is handmade by the couple who created the line in their Vancouver studio.  You can also find hand-printed posters by Nashville-based Isle of Printing.


Fire Finch
1818 21st Ave S
Nashville, TN 37212

Walk across the street and take a peek on the wall at Nashville’s Smallest Art Gallery – the smallest functioning art gallery in Nashville and quite possibly the world.  Don’t let the size fool you – the art is real – really small but real.  In fact, Amy Ruppel will be the exhibiting artist in October!  Comprised of a locked display case between two businesses, the art may be viewed 24/7 from the sidewalk.  Measuring only 39.5” x 29”, the gallery lights are powered by a solar panel and the previously neglected case has definitely gotten a new life from its former graffiti-covered self.

Photo from Daniel Box.

Nashville’s Smallest Art Gallery
1807 1/2 21st Ave South
Nashville, TN 37212

No trip to Hillsboro Village would be complete without visiting Pangaea, a clothing & gift shop that has been run by Sandra Shelton for over 20 years – here you’ll find something for your boyfriend, mom, and little sister all while picking up a thing or two for yourself.  In addition to carrying brands like Free People and Paul Frank, she also carries Tennessee companies Lala Dex Press, Yee Haw Industries, and Pink Lacey. Sandra also works with Aid to Artisans, a Mexican-based company that not only buys handmade items directly from the artisans in Mexico so that they have retail outlets for their goods, but they also started the first hospice in Mexico.   This explains Pangaea’s nod to Mexico throughout the store – from the décor to the curious Day of the Dead figurine collections for sale – all hand crafted and fairly traded in Mexico.


1721 21st Ave S
Nashville, TN 37212

More in Hillsboro Village:
Posh & Posh Shoes
1813 21ST Ave S
Nashville, TN 37212

A Thousand Faces (purveyor of gifts & higher-end artisan jewelry from artists like Saundra Messenger & Robin Haley)
1720 21st Ave S
Nashville, TN 37212

Fido (a locally owned coffee shop with five distinct locations, each with their own personality)
1812 21st Ave S
Nashville, TN 37212

SEE (a hip & affordable eyewear boutique)
1818 21st Ave S
Nashville, TN 37212

Make sure to come back tomorrow and Thursday (July 9th & 10th) to read my 2nd & 3rd installaments of the Nashville Indie City Guide.

About the contributor: Beth Lawrence, a.k.a. “Freshie”, is the jewelry artist behind Freshie & Zero. Beth’s designs are available for sale on her website, in her Etsy shop and in boutiques around the US and online. You can also read more about Beth and Freshie & Zero on the Freshie & Zero blog.