On January 19th, F.A.B.R.I.C. co-founders. Angela Johnson and Sherri Barry, had the pleasure of presenting the F.A.B.R.I.C. first year impact report to the Tempe City Council. Below is a copy of the Memorandum from the Economic Development office to the Mayor and City Council summarizing F.A.B.R.I.C.'s impact. Watch the City Council meeting HERE (3min 50 seconds in)
TO: Mayor and City Council
FROM: Donna Kennedy, Economic Development Director (Ext. 2395)
DATE: January 18, 2018
SUBJECT: City Manager’s Update - FABRIC First Year Results
The City entered into a License Agreement with Arizona Fashion Source (AFS), Labelhorde, and Arizona Apparel Foundation (AAF) in October of 2016 to create an incubator supporting the fashion industry in the former Tempe Performing Arts Center building (TPAC). The building was renamed the Fashion and Business Resource Innovation Center (FABRIC). At FABRIC, emerging designers and fashion related businesses can take their ideas from design to production all in one location with a variety of equipment, expertise, and education. Additional services in the building include a fabric store, sourcing library, and photography/videography studio for fashion shoots. The former theatre space in the building has been converted into production space that includes a runway for fashion shows and events.
FIRST YEAR RESULTS
The City has benefited from the creation of FABRIC in several ways:
Support of Local Entrepreneurs/Emerging Designers: Graduates and current students of local fashion design programs now have access to designer grade materials and equipment that they would not otherwise access, and a few hundred designers/makers now have a facility where they can design and produce locally with no minimum production run requirements. Prior to the existence of FABRIC, most local designers were forced to produce their goods out of state or overseas with large run requirements, often resulting in failure or preventing them from even starting because it was cost prohibitive.
New Jobs Created: In the first year of business, FABRIC co-founders, Angela Johnson, owner of Labelhorde, and Sherri Barry, owner of Arizona Fashion Source, have created twelve (12) full-time jobs. These jobs have an average wage of $37,000 per year and range from Pattern Maker and Events Coordinator to Production Technician. An additional fifteen (15) jobs have been created by the ten (10) designers and other businesses renting space in the facility and using equipment to produce their garments.
Activation/Improvement of Vacant City Building: To date, AFS, AAF, and Labelhorde have invested approximately sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) in upgrades to the building. This is more than double the amount required in their License Agreement of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) and has given the building a more appealing, professional, and safe appearance. These improvements attracted use by over three hundred (300) designers, forty-one (41) events, and building tours to over eight hundred (800) interested individuals.
Community Give Back: Through more than two hundred (200) workshops and individual lessons, individuals have learned patternmaking, design principals, style and sewing techniques. Six (6) Tempe youth were provided with scholarships to attend Fashion Boot Camp free of charge last summer. Additionally, five (5) individuals with disabilities were trained in commercial sewing and were contracted to make tote bags for ASU by the ASU Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and the ASU Book Store to sew tote bags from recycled school banners. Three (3) emerging designers also completed a mentorship program to help launch their businesses. One of the mentees has been so successful, that he has hired two (2) employees and is now renting design space at FABRIC.
The first-year results at FABRIC have far exceeded the contract requirements for the project and benefited the community in numerous positive ways. Given the positive results, FABRIC is on track to become a regional and national model of success for private public partnerships in industry specific business incubation.