During a Time of Disruption, Entrepreneurs Should Seize Opportunities

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We are living in a time of upheaval, with technology changing the face of business in unimaginable ways. Consider how services such as Expedia have displaced travel agents, how Lyft and Uber have unseated taxi companies and how web apps are shaping the way people choose their doctors.

The latest industry to feel the effects of technology is retailing. E-commerce has led to massive store closures and an 8 percent decline in department store sales since the early 1990s. The electronics sector has been hit hard, too, with the downsizing of well-known companies such as RadioShack. And online shopping has stoked fear, massive layoffs and store closures at retail giants such as Macy’s, Best Buy and Sears.

Despite these facts, core retail sales have seen a 28 percent bump since 2008 (12 percent growth when adjusted for inflation), according to combined data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the national real estate brokerage firm of Marcus & Millichap. Consumers are shopping more and in ways that are turning a once rock-solid industry upside down.

Instead of stoking fear, this disruption could become a secret weapon for entrepreneurs willing to seize the opportunity. Case in point: Entrepreneurs in the fashion industry.

Fashion is a multitrillion-dollar industry, with most U.S. design and production concentrated in New York and Los Angeles. That’s not the case anymore. The economically vibrant and business friendly area known as PHX East Valley (just outside of metropolitan Phoenix) is becoming a hub for aspiring fashion designers, too.

As co-founders of Fashion And Business Resource Innovation Center (F.A.B.R.I.C.), our mission is to harness the passion of aspiring designers and provide the knowledge and resources necessary to help them succeed. In the process, we are building an entire fashion industry in Tempe by uniting local fashion professionals in a physical location where they create, collaborate, learn, source, manufacture, market and celebrate fashion.

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