02 January 2012

2011 Lessons Learned and the Renaissance That Will Be 2012

Another year has passed, and its time to reflect on the lessons learned as well as plan for the year ahead.  I’m most proud of how far Seattle Fashion Incubator has come.  It was quite the journey, and I learned a great deal from the experience.

I’ve found skills and strengths I didn’t know I had, but I also had the light shined on some of my glaring weaknesses.  I’ve made some trusted friends, and just a few enemies.  That is after all the nature of life and business.  Winston Churchill once said, “So you have enemies? Good, it means you’ve stood up for something at some point in your life.”  At the end of the day I know I stayed true to myself, and my vision.

Alas I must regrettably step aside from SFI, and let a new regime more experienced in the political delicacies of running a non-profit take charge.  I have full faith that this new leadership will honor what we have created and take it to the next level.  Meanwhile I will be refocusing my energies on my for profit companies which have suffered greatly from my lack of attention.

Not getting a pay check for over a year has been an interesting experience in and of itself.  2011 was probably the most spiritually fulfilling year of my life since leaving the military.  I wasn’t doing it for the money, a feeling that I had forgotten about.  I had a mission, but as any good Marine leader will tell you eventually you need to step aside and let the next generation of leaders take the reins.

I will always be connected to the fashion and apparel industry in the region.  I will just be taking on a more behind the scenes role.  I will do this most directly through my company Stigmare’s majority ownership of Shows Northwest LLC, the producers of the Seattle International Textile Expo (formerly the Northwest Fabric and Notions Show), or S.I.T.E. for short.  I’ve always maintained that the key to growth for the cluster is the rebuilding of its infrastructure in the region.

With our partners at Gavroche Enterprises and our vendors at Triumph Expo and Events and the Red Lion Hotel Fifth Avenue we intend to elevate S.I.T.E. to a leading resource for Northwest based companies to source textiles and related products locally.  By bringing the mills, converters and manufacturers to Seattle we can help local designers, manufacturers and retailers that use textiles reduce travel expenses associated with going to similar events in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York.  Additionally thousands of dollars will be injected into the local economy via the hospitality industry, commissions on sales to LOCAL sales representatives, and fees for service to our vendors.

One such local company whose manufacturers have made a commitment to growing the show by doubling their footprint for this springs event is Northwest Textiles Sales, owned by Melissa McGill.  Melissa serves the Northwest region for Shannon Fabrics, Alexander Henry and Robert Kaufman.  Collectively they will occupy four 10’ X 10’ booth spaces, and Shannon Fabrics will be a Bronze Sponsor of the event.  Melissa has been serving the textile trade for nearly twenty years, and we’re excited to see her and her manufacturers investing in the trade locally.


  1. I have faith that whatever you do, great things follow! All the best, Steve.

  2. Thanks Gene, and we need to really connect for that cocktail soon. If I remember correctly it's my turn to buy.