Saint Louis Fashion Fund
announces Kathleen Bibbins
as its Executive Director
Seasoned executive brings business development and strategic marketing experience to enhance St. Louis’ business profile of fashion and design.
Saint Louis Fashion Fund has named Kathleen Bibbins, formerly an independent business consultant and Vice President for several business units at Maritz, as its Executive Director. Bibbins will report to the Board of Directors of Saint Louis Fashion Fund, a three-year-old non-profit organization which supports emerging designers and promotes fashion education and outreach.
Bibbins will be charged with recruiting designers in residence for the Fashion Fund’s Incubator program as well as overseeing their programming, mentorship and sales opportunities to grow their brands, fund-raising, outreach and education programming with local colleges, universities, high schools and the design community at large. In addition, she will work with city and civic officials and a nationally-recognized design firm to develop a comprehensive plan to expand and enhance the fashion, design and creative services district on Washington Avenue.
Downtown STL President & CEO and Fashion Fund Board Member Missy Kelley said of the Bibbins appointment: “Kathleen’s extensive business background, including corporate strategy, will be invaluable to Fashion Fund’s Phase II efforts on manufacturing, job creation and economic development of the Garment District. She truly is committed to St. Louis becoming an epicenter of fashion and design.
Her keen understanding of business along with her very impressive leadership skills will be a major asset in enhancing and creating a more vibrant Downtown fashion ecosystem.”
“I am tremendously excited to have the opportunity to work on behalf of the Fashion Fund with developers, civic and corporate leaders to help bring apparel manufacturing to Washington Avenue which will attract creatives from all over the country -- exponentially contributing to job creation and our region’s economic success. St. Louis has it all – location, an affordable cost of living, and most importantly, a talented and strong community of fashion and design visionaries,” said Bibbins.
“But, I also know how important it is to help a young designer grow their emerging brand. Having recently worked with Joya, an early stage jewelry brand, I provided business advice and I was able to help them gain entry into a leading national retailer. And, I look forward to assisting our designers to increase their revenue streams during the second year of their residency at the Incubator.”
“Equally important is Fashion Fund’s extraordinary work with local educational institutions and high schools,” said Bibbins. “It’s imperative that we lay a strong educational foundation for aspiring fashion students and give them the resources they need to stay in St. Louis and build their own businesses to help us maintain our future as a center of fashion and design. In fact, I look forward to making a number of ‘truck stops’ with our Incubator designers on the Fashion Fund “Miki’s Closet” truck, a stylish mobile showcase, to continue to provide comprehensive mentoring to fashion students of all ages across the region. And, I am particularly excited about launching the Fund’s first Fashion Summer Camp at the Incubator in collaboration with COCA .”
Susan Sherman, Co-Founder and Saint Louis Fashion Fund Board Chair said: "Kathleen not only is a brilliant strategist, but also is someone who will bring a fresh perspective to our mission. She understands how to advance emerging brands and has very impressive managerial skills in operations, HR, marketing and sales. We are thrilled to have her dynamic leadership.”
Bibbins comes to the Fashion Fund having directed a variety of initiatives for Maritz in the United States and in Europe. While at Maritz, she led a team responsible for market penetration and revenue growth for a major Maritz business unit. She also served as the business leader of a start-up joint venture between Maritz and an investment group that offered incentives to the real estate and rental markets managing all activities including sales, marketing, operations and finance; and leading the firm’s business planning. Following her career with Maritz, Bibbins managed a family business and most recently consulted with early-stage jewelry brand, Joya, to assist them with sales and growth strategy.
Bibbins will begin her role as Executive Director on March 12.
Collaborative Strategies, Inc. conducted the Executive Director search for the Fashion Fund.