Authors: Meleena Herring & Joe Carr, The Runway
Fashion, textile and design are ubiquitous and Michigan communities who capture the interest and energy of entrepreneurs in this industry can create, attract and retain talent while producing new companies and jobs. This plan will outline the analysis and design necessary to create a successful fashion entrepreneur ecosystem in any community.
Meleena Herring, The Runway
Over the past 3 years while working at Michigan's first fashion incubator, The Runway in downtown Lansing, MI, Meleena has been able to work closely with designers who have already established their brand along with assisting up-and-coming designers, helping them enhance their brand. Over the past 6 years working closely with fashion startups, Meleena has gained a tremendous amount of experience and contacts throughout the process. In 2011, she started working with local Fashion Designer, Lauren Aitch, as a Personal Assistant and Product Development Coordinator. While working with Lauren, Meleena became very familiar with all the processes for starting an apparel line, as she was just starting her business when Meleena became part of the team. During this time, Meleena was also attending Lansing Community College and later obtained an Associate's Degree in Fashion Merchandising and Design. As the Operations Coordinator at The Runway fashion incubator for the past 3 years, has allowed her to accumulate vast knowledge on the topic of "Creating a Fashion Entrepreneurship Community". Meleena has had the pleasure of working with many small fashion businesses and cultivating entrepreneurship and community. She have witnessed the trials and tribulations of being an emerging fashion entrepreneur with limited time, connections, and capital, including how to use creative and innovative methods to achieve their goals. When The Runway first opened, there was no blueprint to follow. Through her own experience and some trial and error, she found what emerging fashion entrepreneurs need most is a solid foundation with accountability, combined with the right resources, opportunities and a sense of community. Through The Runway fashion incubator, Meleena has helped to cultivate not only an incubator program but a fashion entrepreneurship community that includes the general public with an interest in fashion, top quality events.
Joe Carr, The Runway
Joe is the Startup Innovation Manager and Director of The Runway, Lansing's fashion incubator. Bringing experience from the Detroit and Chicago entrepreneurial communities he assists startups and entrepreneurs, connecting them to resources and expertise from area mentors. Prior, Joe served as a Technology Specialist for the Maker Studios project at the East Lansing Public Library, co-founded multiple startups and served as Production Manager at the first 3D printing retail/service hybrid store in the world. He is also a Startup Weekend winner and TEDx Labs presenter. Joe looks forward to helping the Lansing region flourish.