Tempe Fashion Incubator


TED SIMONS: THE CITY OF TEMPE IS HOME TO A NEW FASHION INCUBATOR, WHICH LOOKS TO GIVE DESIGNERS AND STARTUPS A LEG UP. WE SPOKE WITH THE INCUBATOR'S CO-OWNERS, ANGELA JOHNSON AND SHERRI BARRY.

TED SIMONS: THANK YOU BOTH FOR JOINING US ON "ARIZONA HORIZON." GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE. WHAT IS A FASHION INCUBATOR?

BARRY: A FASHION INCUBATOR IS A LOT OF THINGS, PROBABLY A LOT OF THINGS YOU HAVEN'T THOUGHT ABOUT. FOR US, IT'S ANY DESIGN ENTREPRENEUR, FASHION DESIGNER, FASHION BRAND OR ENTREPRENEUR WHO WANTS TO MAKE A SEWN PRODUCT, A RESOURCE WHERE THEY CAN LEARN HOW TO DO IT THEMSELVES AND HAVE THE SPACE TO PUT THE EQUIPMENT TO BE ABLE TO DO IT THEMSELVES OR THE RESOURCES IN THE BUILDING, THE EXPERTISE TO BE ABLE FIGURE OUT HOW TO MANUFACTURE AND PRODUCE A SEWN PRODUCT.

TED SIMONS: WE ARE TALKING START UP DESIGNERS, WE ARE TALKING ESTABLISHED DESIGNERS, CORRECT?

JOHNSON: ABSOLUTELY. IT'S A BIT OF EVERYBODY.

TED SIMONS: START ON THE START UP FOLKS, THOSE INSPIRED AND RARING TO GO, WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN YOU GO THERE?

JOHNSON: WHEN YOU START A FASHION BRAND A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH REALLY GOES INTO IT AND A LOT OF PEOPLETAKE IT FROM THEIR IDEA TO THE MANUFACTURING PROCESS. NORMALLY THEY HAVE TO GO TO A CITY LIKE L.A. OR NEW YORK WHERE THERE IS A ESTABLISHED FASHION INDUSTRY TO DO THAT. IT'S DIFFICULT TO DO THAT FROM ARIZONA BECAUSE YOU'RE LACKING THE COMMUNICATION AND THE TRAVEL IS EXPENSIVE. WHEN SONEONE IS FIRST STARTING THEY NEED TO LEARN ALL OF THAT AND THEY CAN DO THAT IN OUR BUILDING. WE HAVE MANY CLASSES, CONSULTATIONS, SEMINARS, A LOT OF THEM ARE FREE BECAUSE WE HAVE A NONPROFIT OFFERING SUPPORT TO DESIGN ENTREPRENEURS THAT ARE LEARNING. THEY LEARN EVERYTHING THEY NEED TO KNOW AND APPLY IT TO ACTUALLY UTILZING ALL THE RESOURCES, THE SEAMSTRESSES, PATTERN MAKERS, MACHINERY, THE SUPPORT SERVICES TOO, PHOTOGRPAHERS, SCREEN PRINTERS AND EVERYTHING.

TED SIMONS: IT SOUNDS LIKE A BEEHIVE OF ACTIVITY. I HAVE AN IDEA FOR A SWELL SHIRT. I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING, BUT I WOULD LIKE TO LEARN HOW TO DO THIS. TAKE ME THROUGH THE PROCESS AS I GO DOWN.

BARRY: YOU WOULD BE A TYPICAL CLIENT THAT COMES INTO OUR BUILDING. WE WOULD FIRST SIT DOWN AND FIGURE OUT WHAT IT IS THAT YOU WANT TO MAKE. YOU WOULD GO TO ANGELA. SHE'S BEEN TEACHING FASHION DESIGN FOR 15 YEARS. SHE HAS A WONDERFUL FASHION BUSINESS CONSULTATION. IT TAKES YOU THROUGH A YEAR OF DESIGN SCHOOL IN TWO HOURS. YOU LEARN EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW AND YOU HAVE THE MATERIALS. WE LIKE TO TEACH PEOPLE TO FISH SO THEY FISH FOR LIFE SO YOU LEARN EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW. BUT BASICALLY, YOU'RE GOING TO NEED TO HAVE A FLAT SKETCH AND A TECH PACK. THEN WE CAN DEVELOP WE MAKE A SAMPLE, ADJUST IT SO IT FITS CORRECTLY AND GRADE FOR THE DIFFERENT SIZES YOU WANT TO MAKE IN A GARMENT. WE MAKE A MARKER. WE LAY THE MARKER OUT ON FABRIC THAT HOPEFULLY YOU'VE HAD AN OPPURTUNITY TO SOURCE AND WE CUT YOUR PROJECT.

TED SIMONS: SO BASICALLY, IF I'VE GOT THE IDEA AND THE WILLINGNESS TO LEARN AND STICK TO IT, YOU HAVE THE WHERE WITH ALL, HUH?

JOHNSON: WE DO WE HAVE IT ALL. WE ALLOW PEOPLE TO LEARN TO DO IT THEMSELVES BECAUSE THEY SAVE A LOT OF MONEY BEING ABLE TO DO IT THEMSELVES. WE TEACH THEM THAT OR THEY CAN JUST HIRE US TO DO THE WORK FOR THEM OR IT'S A COMBINATION OF BOTH.

TED SIMONS: GIVE ME A LAYOUT OF THE BUILDING. THIS IS ON SIXTH STREET IN TEMPE?

JOHNSON: SIXTH AND FOREST, THE OLD PERFORMING ART CENTER, ITS A THREE STORY BUILDING. IT'S AMAZING THAT WE HAVE ACCESS TO THE BUILDING WITH EVERYTHING SET UP THE WAY WE NEED IT SET UP. IT ALLOWS US TO HAVE AN EVENT SPACE. EVEN AFTER YOU HAVE MANUFACTURED THE CLOTHING, YOU CAN THROW IT ON THE RUNWAY, YOU COULD RUN DOWN TO OUR PHOTO STUDIO IN THE BASEMENT AND SHOOT YOUR PRODUCT AND PUT IT ON THE INTERNET THAT DAY. I MEAN ITS INCREDIBLE HOW MUCH THIS ALLOWS US. WE HAVE CLASSROOM SPACE, WE HAIR AND MAKEUP ROOMS, WE HAVE COWORKING OFFICES SO DESIGNERS AND BRANDS CAN ACTUALLY THEY CAN RENT OFFICE SPACE AND BE IN THE SAME FACILITY AS THE REST OF THE MANUFACTURING. THEY CAN SHARE RESOURCES WORK TOGETHER HELP EACH OTHER, IT'S AWESOME.

TED SIMONS: HOW DID THE IDEA GET STARTED? I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF THIS, OBVIOUSLY THEY EXIST. BUT I'VE NEVER HEARD OF THIS KIND OF THING IN THE VALLEY.

BARRY: LIKE MOST IDEAS, IT WAS CREATED OUT OF A NEED AND PROBLEM. I STARTED A FASHION DESIGN LINE. I WENT TO ANGELA FOR HELP AND RESOURCES TO TRY TO FIND SOME OF THESE THINGS SHE TALKED ABOUT. SHE WAS HELPFUL, BUT I HAD TO GO TO CALIFORNIA TO GET MY GARMENTS MANUFACTURED. IT WAS LITERALLY A TRAIN WRECK. I HAD DECIDED -- ALONG THE WAY I MET A LOT OF OTHER DESIGNERS STRUGGLING WITH THE SAME PROBLEM. IF AT SOME POINT IN TIME I CAN HELP OPEN UP A RESOURCE THAT CAN HELP PEOPLE WITH THE SAME STRUGGLES THAT I HAVE MAKE IT EASIER AND ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO LAUNCH WITHOUT A PROBLEM LIKE I DO, I WANT TO BE INVOLVED WITH THAT AND I WANT TO HELP SUPPORT THAT. LO AND BEHOLD WE HAD A MUTUAL FRIEND CONNECT US. ANGELA WAS WORKING ON THE SAME THINGFOR 15 YEARS HERE.

TED SIMONS: THIS HAS TO HAVE A COST SUPPLIED TO IT WHAT KIND OF COSTS. WHO PAY FOR IT?

JOHNSON: THERE IS A LOT OF COST. THERE IS A LOT OF COST IN JUST STARTING A FASHION BUSINESS. WE ARE TRYING TO HELP PEOPLE WITH THOSE COSTS THAT THEY'RE GOING TO FACE. A LOT OF THE SERVICES THAT WE OFFER ARE FREE. WE HAVE A NONPROFIT. AND A NONPROFIT IS DOING SOME FUNDRAISING IN ORDER TO RAISE MONEY TO HELP PEOPLE DO THIS. OUR NONPROFIT IS HOEPFULLY GOING TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE COSTS. THE CITY OF TEMPE HAS BEEN VERY SUPPORTIVE TOO. THE CITY OF TEMPE IS PROVIDING THE BUILDING FOR US IN EXCHANGE FOR SOME OF THOSE PROGRAMS AND SERVICES THAT THE NONPROFIT IS OFFERING TO THE CITY. OUR COSTS HAVE BEEN LIMITED OUT OF THAT. THERE ARE A LOT OF MACHINERY COSTS AND EMPLOYEE COSTS. ALL KINDS OF MAINTAINING THE BUILDING AND THINGS LIKE THAT. SHERRY AND I ARE DOING THE BEST WE CAN WITH THAT. AT THE SAME TIME, WE HAVE THE NONPROFIT BUT WE ARE RUNNING FOR PROFIT BUSINESSES TOO. THIS IS A NEED THAT REALLY REALLY NEEDS TO BE FILLED. WHEN WE OPEN THE DOORS, IT'S LIKE OPENING THE FLOODGATES. THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE THAT WANT TO START FASHION BUSINESSES ALL OVER THE NATION. THINGS ARE DIFFERENT NOW. BECAUSE OF THE INTERNET, YOU CAN ACTUALLY SELL THINGS DIRECTLY TO CONSUMERS INSTEAD OF GOING THROUGH THE OLD SCHOOL RETAIL WHOLESALE SITUATION. YOU HAVE PEOPLE POPPING UP IN EVERY CITY ALL OVER THE NATION THAT ARE MAKING CLOTHES OUT OF THEIR HOUSE. THEY CAN'T CONTINUE TO MAKE MORE OF THEM THEY NEED TO FIND MANUFACTURING. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT THEY ARE ALL LOOKING FOR. SO WHEN WE STARTED THIS WE HAD CLIENTS COMING FROM EVERYWHERE, SO MANY DIFFERENT STATES INCLUDING NEW YORK. PEOPLE IN NEW YORK AND L.A ARE LOOKING FOR ALTERNATIVES FOR WHAT THEY HAVE THERE BECAUSE WE DO THE EDUCATION COMPONENT.

TED SIMONS: THIS SOUNDS FASCINATING. TO THINK THIS IS HAPPENING DOWNTOWN TEMPE IS ENCOURAGING. SOMEONE WATCHING RIGHT NOW AND THEY THINK, I HAVE AN IDEA. HOW CAN THEY GET A HOLD OF THESE FOLKS?

BARRY: THEY CAN LOOK AT ARIZONA FASHION SOURCE DOT COM, LABEL HORDE DOT COM FOR THE EDUCATION RESOURCES AND ARIZONA APPAREL FOUNDATION IS OUR NONPROFIT, AND THAT IS A DOT ORG URL.

TED SIMONS: CAN THEY STOP BY SIXTH STREET AND SAY HI?

BARRY: WE ARE OPEN 9:00 TO 5:00 MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY TO THE PUBLIC. WE WELCOME ANYONE THROUGH THE DOORS FOR A TOUR AND SUPPORT.

TED SIMONS: GOOD TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. WE APPRECIATE IT.

BARRY AND JOHNSON: THANK YOU

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU. SUBMIT YOUR QUESTIONS AND CONCERNS VIA E-MAIL.

The city of Tempe has a new fashion incubator, aimed at giving fashion designers and startups a leg up. Hear from Angela Johnson and Sherri Barry, the co-owners of FABRIC, Tempe’s fashion incubator.

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In this segment:

Angela Johnson: Co-owner, FABRIC
Sherri Barry: Co-owner, FABRIC

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