In recent years, the Midwest has welcomed tech companies in with open arms as they leave the coasts to call inland states home. The advantages of conducting business in these previously overlooked cities are bountiful. Companies are drawn to the lower cost of operations, more affordable talent, and the convenience of a central location.
While the new trend is exciting for the economic growth of the Midwest, companies like Stars Design Group saw its potential way before it was the “cool thing to do.” This technology-driven clothing manufacturer laid their roots in St. Louis, MO in 2000 to focus on the general operation of their overseas partners in a centralized region.
Stars brought its advanced-apparel manufacturing business to a city that already has a rich history in the fashion industry. In fact, according the Saint Louis Fashion Fund, the city was once the second largest center of fashion in United States. The masterminds behind the Fund want to reclaim the historic place that the beloved city once held.
Why is the Heartland So Appealing?
While New York has long been considered the fashion capital of the world, and California is home to the tech-savvy Silicon Valley, business owners and tech experts have been gravitating inland, toward greener pastures. Operating in the center of the country gives businesses more room in their budget to work towards development and advertising, rather than paying heightened costs of running a successful company on the coast.
In addition to paying less for commercial buildings, land, and taxes, business owners can find much more affordable talent in inland communities. This is not because midwestern-tech experts are not as qualified as those in coastal cities, it’s all in the cost of living!
Take a look at the staggering difference of median housing values between coastal cities vs. midwestern areas, as reported by the United States Census Bureau.
• San Francisco, California – $858,800
• New York City, New York – $508,900
• Indianapolis, Indiana – $120,400
• St. Louis, Missouri – $120,900
These statistics make it easy to see that more affordable housing lies in the middle of the country, which attracts members from the tech-savvy and cost-conscious millennial generation. According to a report from the Society for Human Resource Management, 76% of millennial’s would rather be employed at a relatively low-paying job they love rather than working for more money in an atmosphere that didn’t appeal to them.
When a business owner can afford to pay employees a substantial salary that’s relevant to their area’s cost of living, premiere benefits and medical insurance – everyone wins! The low cost of running a business in the Midwest is making this possible, which may explain the sudden boom in venture capital, startups and established businesses making the move inland.
Why the Fashion Industry Needs Technology
The relationship between apparel manufacturing and cutting-edge technology is creating job opportunities in both industries, new and affordable ways to design clothing, and changing the way manufacturers and their designers communicate, advertise and go to market!
Technology is also making it easier than ever for working partners to communicate with one another from anywhere in the world. In the past, fashion trends typically began on the coast, before making their way to the middle of the country. These days, social media and new online marketing tools help apparel manufacturers analyze current trends and assist fashion designers when capitalizing on popular styles.
While the recent technology boom in the Midwest is still growing, companies like Stars Design Group saw its potential over a decade ago. It would have been easy for the group to follow the crowd and set up shop on the coast, but having the foresight to realize the advantages of the Heartland separates Stars Design from the rest. Thanks to the lower costs to operate from their center location, they stay competitive with rates, conduct business ethically, and provide their employees with salaries that appeal to their lifestyles.
The benefits of working with a full-package apparel manufacturer in the Midwest are shared between clients, quality of clothing and overall, a successful operation!
St. Louis, MO – The New Silicon Valley?
While it may be too early to tell if the Midwest will be considered the new “technology hub” of the country, cities like St. Louis are making strides to encourage their local growth. Founded in 2002, a technology district deemed, Cortex Innovation Community was integrated into historic locations in the city.
According to the organization FOCUS St. Louis, Cortex has significantly impacted the region and country. Check out some of the impressive statistics the innovation district has already accomplished and how they plan to grow.
• Has generated over 4,300 tech-related jobs since its inception.
• Gained nearly $650 million from investors.
• Expanded its roots as technology hub to include residential, restaurant, transportation and hotel amenities.
• CEO, Dennis Lower was awarded the FOCUS 2018 Leadership Award for his outstanding leadership, important impact on the community and the ability to encourage leadership in others.
The Cortex Innovation Community is anticipating an investment of $2.3 billion of four million square feet for its full potential.
With the incredible hub, an apparel manufacturer, like Stars Design Group, who takes technology seriously and the awesome efforts from the STL Fashion Fund in their own backyard – St. Louis, MO, is on its way to becoming a global giant in both the tech world and the fashion industry.