LANSING (WWJ) — If you’d like to be part of the transformation of downtown Lansing’s iconic Knapp’s department store building into a design incubator, there’s a meet and greet open to the public on Tuesday, Dec. 17, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

What is now called The Runway has begun recruiting creatives for the designer-in-residence program. The first of its kind in the state, The Runway is an open environment for designers to rent space to launch their fashion lines while keeping overhead costs low. The Lansing Economic Development Corporation provides management of the incubator under a contract for services.

In total, The Runway has a capacity for twelve designers-in-residence to occupy the studio space within the incubator. Cost for space is based on studio size, ranging from $350 to $475 a month with cost including studio furnishing, internet, access to design space, and state-of-the-art equipment.

The Designer-in-Residence program offers:
• Access to personal studio space
• Access to shared work space featuring the industry’s finest equipment, technology and software to produce collections, develop sales and marketing materials and formalize their business
• On-going curriculum with industry experts
• Ability to sell their collection in The Runway’s retail space
• Ability to participate or hold fashion shows and launch parties
• Exposure through The Runway’s growing database of clients and vendors
• Sales and marketing support
• Professional business consultation
• 24/7 Secured access to facility
• Access to consultation room for client meetings
• Fabric sourcing library
• Promotion through The Runway’s website and social media accounts

“When I was getting started in launching my own brand, it would have been immensely helpful for me to have access to The Runway space and its programming,” said LEAP’s Jeff Henry, operations manager of The Runway. “The Runway would have allowed me to reach a certain level of success that would have been unobtainable on my own.”

Said Bob Trezise, president and CEO of LEAP: “The Runway will connect up-and-coming designers and creative talent with industry experts and resources that will save time and money as well as reduce the trial and error process of starting a new fashion brand. Startups in the Lansing region are diverse, ranging from technology to fashion to wet lab ventures. By offering an incubator space for each of these industries allows the companies to thrive in a safe, supportive environment.”

Designers interested in participating in the program are asked to visit The Runway is slated to open in February 2014 as the redevelopment work on the Knapp’s building nears completion.


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