Story by Francesca Rutherford / Photos by Mika Matin
Part of the Nashville’s Not Just Country Series
Meet Sarah Patton owner of Creative Souls and Social Bliss Events. A native of Union City (located in Northwest Tennessee), Sarah has been in Nashville since 2004 when she moved to attend Vanderbilt University. Sarah is one of those naturally warm spirited kind of people who is always smiling, always sharing God’s goodness and always seeking to live life on purpose. Her journey has led her from the corporate tech arena to day of coordinator for the 2016 wedding of Jilly from Philly (Jill Scott) in Nashville to now the fearless founder of Creative Souls. Being from a small town, she considered Nashville to be the “big city” and once she moved here, it was evident she would make it her home.
Immediately recognizing her knack for coordinating things among her group of friends (i.e. trips), she knew that her organizational skills came naturally. With one of her favorite quotes being “Find a problem, and fall in love with it”, Sarah noticed that many people were coming to Nashville for events and parties, but they didn’t always have someone to help them run the event, tell them where they should go, etc. It didn’t take long to realize that the problem she fell in love with was event planning which would foray into her purpose of empowering and connecting women.
Embrace Our Uniqueness
Along with her event planning boutique — Social Bliss Events, Sarah is also the founder of Creative Souls, a tribe that inspires, equips and challenges women to live above mediocrity. Hosting anywhere between one and three events per month, she definitely credits her event planning skills for playing a role in this passion project. One of the major keys in Creative Souls is bringing the community together, and she considers the “community” as the heartbeat of what Creative Souls is. As the daughter of an African-American father and Caucausian mother, Sarah shares “diversity is a natural norm for me”. This natural feeling is what she leans into as she connects with women around the city to unearth their passions and shine light on more than the surface narrative of Music City’s bravado.
She shares the story when she was in the third grade of being on the playground when a young girl came over to her and to say “she was weird”. She asked the girl why she thought that and she said, ” “because you are mixed and have a black and white family.” So, Sarah responded with the boldness she carries today, “I’m not weird, you are just boring, you only have one color family and I have two”. With this story, of course we know that scenario could have played out differently for an impressionable 7 year-old. However, for Sarah she just ran off and continued playing because she was raised by strong parents, who instilled in her pride and being secure in the body God gave her. She credits her parents, who she lovingly calls Char & Rico with building the main foundation for becoming the confident women she is today.
That boldness is also what led her to quit her full-time corporate gig and jump right into entrepreneurship in 2015. She was working in a position that was not fulfilling and definitely not purpose driven. The Sunday Blues were real every week and she shares the story of sitting in her office one day, looking at the window washer outside her office and wishing she could trade places. So she planned, was very strategic, saved her money and she took the leap into her new journey. This leap has paid off and allowed her to move into helping other women step into what God has called them to be.
Don’t Criticize, Create
“Don’t criticize, create.” This is a mantra Sarah lives by and one we can all take on. It is also the fuel that moved Sarah to craft Creative Souls with the intention of being a community of empowerment and support for women. Her vision for starting Creative Souls came about, when she was unable to find a community that met all of her needs (race, age, marital status, education, career status, etc.). With the “#metoo” movement playing out around the world, Sarah feels that it has definitely made more women aware of their voice, as well as empowering women through their community. Believing that every woman composes a different strength, Sarah felt that it was a necessity to include everyone within this tribe of women. Faith is also a key pillar and although Creative Souls Tribe is not a religious organization, Sarah does credit much of her success to her Christianity. She prides herself on authenticity, and her faith has been a huge part of her foundation and who she is.
The Tribe as she calls her community, is an extremely collaborative group of women who literally have each other’s back and welcome new members constantly with open arms. They were also recently spotlighted in our 7 Nashville Event Series Every Urban Professional Should Know Event From Hustle Hours where they share their business problems to find advice and solace, monthly outings to cultivate relationships including fitness, art and more, a FB Group that stays hype with creatives sharing all around the city to a conference that truly uplifts members ready to take on the world. It’s a community Sarah has envisioned that in real-time is coming to pass.
When it comes to her life in Nashville, Sarah states that she was fortunate enough to see the potential in Nashville before it was the “Nashville” that everyone knows these days. Considering herself an “innovator”, she loves the fact that people are starting to see the city in a light that she has always viewed it. Sarah is a huge lover of all things Nashville, and enjoys the food scene, other genres of music and the art industry around town. She is happy about the recognition that we’re finally getting for all of it. In her spare time, you can find Sarah hiking at Radnor Lake (especially in the summer), enjoying the Musician’s Corner, Centennial Park, or dining at a few of Nashville’s local hangouts such as Cabana, L27, and the Greenhouse. She is also a fan of Salt + Vine (they are the amazing location where we shoot the Nashville’s Not Just Country series) and Verticity.
It was such a pleasure to talk with Sarah and learn more about the impact she is making here in Nashville. Be on the lookout for Creative Souls, they will be hosting their second annual conference this year, and they’re even taking steps to expand into other cities with the first being Philly. As Sarah shares, “I am the one who always addresses the elephant in the room”. So she plans to continue spreading the word about her tribe, tearing down the walls of diversity, and encouraging people to just “show up”. I couldn’t have said it better myself.
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