Fundraiser

FABRIC's unique model consists of renting out its event space to generate the income needed to support its programs and services. COVID has made a negative impact on this model. As a result, we have a significant income shortfall without event rental. We are raising funds to shore up that gap until events increase.

Align with us fundraising

We are also helping more apparel entrepreneurs than ever and are hoping to align with someone who can help us meet this increasing demand.

Why We Are Raising Funds

Event Rental is our Main Income Generator

FABRIC's unique model consists of renting out FABRIC's event space to generate the income needed to support its programs and services. FABRIC's no-minimum manufacturing opportunity and scholarships enable apparel entrepreneurs to bring their fashion dreams to life by saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars. The event income at FABRIC supports about 50% of the earned revenue needed to do this. COVID has made a significant negative impact on this model.

COVID-19 is Making it Challenging to Generate Income on Event Space

In March of 2020, when the world started to shut down due to COVID-19, we had to refund over 30 deposits that were made on events that were scheduled to take place at FABRIC. We turned FABRIC's event space into a PPE factory and manufactured nearly 700K reusable isolation/medical gowns for large and small healthcare facilities...ultimately keeping 70M disposable gowns from the landfill. This kept our doors open, protected a lot of healthcare heroes, provided essential jobs to approximately 100 people throughout 2020, and was a sustainable solution to the PPE shortage. However, our event space was never designed to be a manufacturing facility so in January of 2021, as the world began to finally open up a bit, we made the decision to move the PPE manufacturing out and renovate/repair the event space so it could be used for in-person and virtual live-streamed events.

Unfortunately, the Delta variant and then the Omicron variant became yet another obstacle to overcome as event producers were hesitant to plan events for fear of another lockdown.

Despite the Challenge, We've Increased Revenue in Other Areas

Demand for our services has increased tremendously. Many people who reflected on their lives during the pandemic are now pursuing their apparel entrepreneur dreams.

Proudly, our team has managed to generate more income than ever from many of the products and services we offer and we've even expanded to serve entrepreneurs nationwide by creating a digital roadmap. However, with this increased demand comes increased expenses, mostly in the form of payroll. And the service that apparel entrepreneurs need most is the opportunity to manufacture their products at no-minimums so they can test the market before committing to make thousands of units.

We have always been proud that we have bootstrapped this special place that has helped so many people without having to rely on big corporate donations or government grants. The majority of what we do has been bootstrapped or achieved with community volunteerism. We have no significant government grants, or funding from some big corporate entity, and have managed to make a significant impact with funding from event rentals. We love our independence, and it's hard to ask for help, however, we could have never anticipated that a global pandemic would throw a wrench into our progress just as our model was proving to work.

We Just Need a Little Help Until Events Return

As a result, we have a significant income shortfall without event rental. We are raising funds to shore up that gap until events increase.

How to Support and Align With Us!

COTTON DONOR

  • $500-$1000
  • Social Media Recognition

SATIN DONOR

  • $1000-$2000
  • Social Media Recognition
  • Recognition in Newsletter

SILK DONOR

  • $2000-$4000
  • Social Media Recognition
  • Recognition in Newsletter
  • Recognition on Website

COUTURE DONOR

  • $100,000+
  • Social Media Recognition
  • Recognition in Newsletter
  • Recognition on Website
  • Scholarship Naming Rights (1 for each $4K increment)
  • Logo on Sponsor Wall at FABRIC
  • Podium Mention at all FABRIC Tempe Signature Events

TITLE SPONSORSHIP

  • $250,000/year or $1M for 5 years
  • All branding updated to FABRIC Tempe Powered By [Your Name Here]

Simply hit the DONATE button to support our efforts. Or CONTACT US to discuss larger donations.

FABRIC's Mission and Vision

FABRIC Tempe is an Arizona non-profit organization

Our Mission

To provide apparel entrepreneurs with training, guidance, innovative industry resources, and access to no-minimum and on-demand manufacturing, so they can build sustainable fashion businesses domestically.

Our Vision

To establish Arizona as a modern fashion industry capital for the U.S. by creating a tech-based, sustainable, closed-loop fashion industry ecosystem that attracts and supports direct-to-consumer apparel brands.

FABRIC Tempe is an official Arizona non-profit entity with the AZ Corporation Commission and has submitted its 1023 application to the IRS and is awaiting approval on its 501(c)(3) status.

Our Contribution to the Community - $6.7M+ Since 2016

Apparel Entrepreneur Full Scholarships

Benefits: Apparel Entrepreneur Digital Assistant: A tech-based, digital assistant that provides guidance, resources, and education via a “road map” of steps that navigate business startup, branding, marketing, product development, and manufacturing.
Awarded to: select minority, veteran, disabled, and economically challenged entrepreneurs
Individual Value: $4,000/year at full price (contains $70,000+ in resources)
Cost to recipient: $0 Free
# of scholarships granted per year: 40
Total annual community giveback value: $160,000/year ($4,000x40)

Apparel Entrepreneur Partial Scholarships

Benefits: Apparel Entrepreneur Digital Assistant - A tech-based, digital assistant that provides guidance, resources, and education via a “road map” of steps that navigate business startup, branding, marketing, product development, and manufacturing.
Awarded to: select minority, veteran, disabled, and economically challenged entrepreneurs
Individual value: $4,000/yr at full price (contains $70,000+ in resources)
Cost to recipient: $600/yr ($50/mo)
# of scholarships granted per year: 250
Total annual community giveback value: $850,000/year ($3,400x250)

All Other Community Members and Apparel Entrepreneurs Receive

Benefits:

  • FREE sourcing library
  • FREE business directory listing to all industry pros
  • FREE fashion job classifieds to all
  • FREE local fashion event calendar to all
  • FREE and discounted event space to select non-profits and qualifying entities
  • Discounted office/studio space to all industry pros
  • Attend FREE and discounted events.
  • FREE and discounted event participation to select entrepreneurs and students
  • FREE and discounted access to select classes
  • Access to discounted industry design, manufacturing, branding, business startup, marketing services
  • Access to no-minimum manufacturing using the Apparel Entrepreneur Digital Assistant road map

Awarded to: Public, students, entrepreneurs, fashion lovers
Individual Value: $2000+/yr
Cost to recipient: $0 Free
# of recipients: 1443 (as of Dec 2021)
Total annual community giveback 2021: $2,886,000

Recipient Demographic

We don't say no to anyone. Any Apparel Entrepreneur or an individual with a good idea for a sewn product is given the opportunity to bring their creations to life.

Below is a representation of our scholarship winner demographic. The majority of people who apply are awarded either a partial or a full scholarship.

Our Story

The Problem

When the internet made it possible for apparel entrepreneurs to sell direct-to-consumer online, and compete with established fashion brands, the industry started to change. Anyone with a good idea for a niche sewn product could reach customers around the world, however, the manufacturing resources required to make sewn products were set up for big brands, who overproduced large quantities, overseas. The industry was unsustainable, set in its ways, and frankly broken. Apparel manufacturing was ready for disruption.

High MOQ’s = huge investments
Location = lack of quality control
Inexperience = costly mistakes
Overseas production = language barrier, time zone challenges, high import fees, size differences, human rights issues, unregulated unsustainable practices

The Solution

In 2016, apparel entrepreneurs Sherri Barry and Angela Johnson set out to solve these problems for other brand owners. They established Arizona Apparel Foundation as an Arizona 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation with the mission to provide Arizona’s emerging designers and brands with innovative, small-batch manufacturing and strategic business resources, so they can build sustainable fashion businesses locally; and a vision of establishing Arizona as a leader in sustainable, innovative fashion design and manufacturing. AZ Apparel Foundation, along with Sherri’s manufacturing business AZ Fashion Source and Angela’s fashion consultancy LabelHorde, established a fashion incubator inside of Tempe’s former Performing Arts Center called FABRIC: Fashion And Business Resource Innovation Center.

The Unique Model

From 2016 to 2020, FABRIC managed to help over 600 apparel entrepreneurs and provide over $3M in free and discounted programs and services to the community through a unique, award-winning model referred to as a public-social-cooperative-enterprise. This model celebrates the collaboration between a city, a non-profit, a community, and for-profit businesses. The city provided the in-kind use of the incubator building, the non-profit provided entrepreneurs the opportunity to take advantage of rare resources, the community volunteered to administer programming, and AZ Fashion Source and LabelHorde provided the scarce no-minimum manufacturing opportunity to designers, as well as the equipment, staff, resources, skill, time, reputation, industry experience, and expertise.

The Pivot

In March of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic changed the world, FABRIC pivoted. Sherri and Angela began receiving desperate requests for PPE from countless large and small healthcare facilities as well as Tribal Nations. As the borders closed, the nation immediately understood the importance of reshoring apparel manufacturing when our healthcare workers couldn’t get the PPE they needed and were left unprotected. Without hesitation, and in record time, the team at FABRIC devised a plan to convert its runway/event space into a PPE factory, and rework its no-minimum manufacturing model into high-volume, lean manufacturing capabilities. $400K was raised through community and foundation donations to purchase equipment, convert and prepare the FABRIC building, acquire FDA certification, and hire staff so that AZ Fashion Source, the manufacturer at FABRIC, could ramp up. Becoming an essential business during a pandemic came with significant risks, unimaginable hard work, and emotional challenges, yet an unlikely silver lining kept the team going. The equipment purchased for the PPE would live on after the pandemic, within the FABRIC model, to help the apparel entrepreneurs. Now, instead of referring growing brands to Los Angeles or overseas, once they maxed out of FABRIC’s no-minimum factory, these brands would finally have a higher capacity Arizona resource. And AZ Apparel Foundation would have its own equipment to contribute to the FABRIC model instead of relying on AZ Fashion Source and LabelHorde for its share of the “giveback”. This silver lining gave Sherri and Angela the confidence to finally step off of the AZ Apparel Foundation Board of Directors to focus on the long road of PPE manufacturing ahead.

In the months to come, FABRIC proudly managed to manufacture 600,000 reusable level 2 and level 3 isolation gowns. Each gown could be washed 100 times, which kept 60,000,000 disposable gowns from going into the landfills.  The gowns, purposefully priced at cost, were cheaper per wash than their disposable alternative and gave FABRIC the experience and ability to mass-produce a sewn product. This amazing outcome meant that FABRIC was one step closer to its vision of establishing Arizona as a leader in sustainable, innovative fashion design and manufacturing. President Biden and Vice President Harris even visited FABRIC to recognize these efforts.

The New Entity

In mid-2020, after Sherri and Angela had stepped off of the Board of Directors for the AZ Apparel Foundation to focus on making PPE, the remaining board members made the decision to take AZ Apparel Foundation in a different direction. The AZ Apparel Foundation became The Fashionomic Collective, established a new mission, found a new home outside of the FABRIC building, and removed the PPE equipment from the FABRIC building.

In an effort to continue offering the same free and discounted programs and services that had helped over 600 apparel entrepreneurs, at FABRIC, Sherri and Angela established a new non-profit and simplified the FABRIC model. Instead of a public-social-cooperative-enterprise, FABRIC is now simply one non-profit called FABRIC Tempe. Its mission is to provide apparel entrepreneurs with training, guidance, innovative industry resources, and access to no-minimum manufacturing, so they can build sustainable fashion businesses domestically.

And in order to continue to fill emergency orders for PPE during the pandemic and keep the PPE staff employed, AZ Fashion Source purchased the equipment it needed, and moved into a new location a few miles from FABRIC. AZ Fashion Source also endowed FABRIC Tempe with the money it needed to restore the building and equip it for virtual events so it could begin to generate the event income it had relied upon prior to the pandemic. FABRIC Tempe is an official Arizona non-profit entity with the AZ Corporation Commission and has submitted its 1023 application to the IRS and is awaiting approval on its 501(c)(3) status.

The Future

The pandemic sped up many inevitable changes in the industry and at FABRIC. As the world turned toward technology and went virtual, so did FABRIC. Many of FABRIC’s classes and resources were converted to video and uploaded into a “roadmap” of resources on a new website. The roadmap virtually guides apparel entrepreneurs through business startup, branding, marketing, design development, and manufacturing. FABRIC Tempe now scholarships hundreds of disadvantaged apparel entrepreneurs into this roadmap each year. This roadmap is attracting industry partners and entrepreneurs from all over the nation and is helping brands overcome the industry’s obstacles affordably.

FABRIC and AZ Fashion Source are both working toward establishing on-demand manufacturing resources for Arizona making it one of the only states in the nation that offers this sustainable, affordable solution to apparel manufacturing.  

Our 2021 Community Giveback Summary

Every year we provide our annual report documenting FABRIC’s contribution to the community. As we reflect on the year in an effort to calculate our impact, we are always astonished by how much we’ve been able to accomplish. This year has been strikingly more effective and we wanted to take this opportunity to share the reasons why we were able to “give back” $3,795,888 in 2021 alone. We also wanted to reiterate how grateful we are for the City of Tempe’s support that fuels and empowers our ability to support so many others. 

THE WHY

The need for an Arizona-based fashion incubator was apparent back in 2001 when Angela Johnson closed down her own fashion brand due to a lack of local resources after relocating to Arizona from Los Angeles. As technology leveled the playing field making it possible for entrepreneurs to reach the world online, the need for no-minimum, domestic manufacturing resources grew. Democratizing the fashion industry by enabling inexperienced apparel entrepreneurs to develop and manufacture their ideas domestically was more important than ever. 

FABRIC = THE SOLUTION

By 2016 there were hundreds of local designers needing resources in Arizona and FABRIC opened to fill the need. Thanks to the City of Tempe’s vision, we were able to support hundreds of apparel entrepreneurs using a unique public-social-cooperative-enterprise model that has become the envy of other cities and has incubated hundreds of businesses. Tempe soon became a beacon for modern apparel entrepreneurs. It can be argued that Tempe understood the trend toward supporting microbusinesses long before it was trendy.

PANDEMIC PIVOT

Then in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic validated FABRIC’s mission and the microbusiness trend even more. Local manufacturing was more important than ever. Not only was PPE in short supply, but according to a recent article by Brookings titled Microbusinesses During the Pandemic. Now We Must Tap Into Their Full Potential, 2.8 Million more Americans have started online businesses in 2020 than in 2019. Black owners account for 26% of all new microbusinesses, up from 15% before the pandemic. Women-owned businesses account for 57% of new microbusiness starts, up from 48%. Microbusinesses also became a more popular option for those without a college degree, rising from 36% to 44%. According to Brookings, local economic development strategies may look different for microbusinesses than for larger businesses, requiring distinct interventions related to networking, practical assistance, and mentoring. Ultimately, a shift in mindset is as important as policy change. In other words, these new entrepreneurs need unique support to scale. Funding this support is the latest direction for visionary governments like Tempe. FABRIC and Tempe’s partnership has been doing this long before it was trendy.

To mitigate the pandemic’s PPE shortage during the pandemic and also support the increase in demand for local industry resources, FABRIC stepped up. In addition to manufacturing 700K reusable medical gowns for the healthcare industry, we also took the initiative to innovate the FABRIC menu of services by creating a virtual roadmap. This new technology provides industry guidance and resources virtually so that FABRIC can help apparel entrepreneurs nationwide and beyond. FABRIC’s roadmap virtually guides apparel entrepreneurs through design development (samples/prototypes), manufacturing, business startup, branding, and marketing. It makes starting an apparel brand more affordable and more accessible by eliminating the need to hire a full-time staff of experts. 

NEW AND IMPROVED IMPACT

This new virtual roadmap has enabled FABRIC to support hundreds of apparel entrepreneurs and contains $70K+ in resources including:

Business Startup - 36 steps | 15 tools | 2 videos

Branding - 27 steps | 7 tools | 4 videos

Design Development - 74 steps | 107 tools | 47 videos

Pre-Sales - 18 steps | 2 tools | 3 videos

Manufacturing - 45 steps | 35 tools | 26 videos

Marketing - 42 steps | 4 tools | 5 videos

Events & Fashion Shows - 106 steps | 23 tools | 1 video

The Growing Brand - 16 steps | 1 video | connects into On-Demand

Apparel Entrepreneurs can access the roadmap at $350/mo ($4,000/year) through an Apparel Entrepreneur Membership which already saves them thousands of dollars. And because FABRIC’s commitment has always been to make starting a fashion business more affordable and obtainable, FABRIC simplified its model to become one non-profit entity called FABRIC Tempe and offers full and partial roadmap scholarships to disadvantaged entrepreneurs including minorities, veterans, people with disabilities, and people with financial need.  

In the first year of launching the roadmap, FABRIC has provided over 200 scholarships to deserving and disadvantaged entrepreneurs. 

59 Full Scholarships ($0/mo fee ….savings of $4,000/year)

137 Partial Scholarships ($50/mo fee….savings of $3400/year)

THE FUTURE IS NOW

Additionally, this roadmap prepares brands for a more sustainable, tech-based, alternative to traditional overseas manufacturing. Now, brands that start at FABRIC can stay in Tempe as they grow, Sherri created one of the nation’s only automated print, cut, sew, pack, ship factories that offers these automated manufacturing services to small and growing niche brands. This innovative milestone for the industry is attracting new business, growing the economy, providing jobs, sustainably disrupting an industry, and using technology to put Tempe on the fashion map.

THANK YOU TEMPE!

Thank you to the City of Tempe for providing the opportunity for FABRIC to fulfill its mission to provide apparel entrepreneurs with training, guidance, innovative industry resources, and access to no-minimum and on-demand manufacturing, so they can build sustainable fashion businesses domestically and its vision to establish Arizona as a modern fashion industry capital for the U.S. by creating a tech-based, sustainable, closed-loop fashion industry ecosystem that attracts and supports direct-to-consumer apparel brands.