Why 36|86: Van Tucker, Nashville Fashion Alliance

36|86 Festival
2 min readOct 15, 2018

Originally published at launchtn.org on October 15, 2018

Written by Van Tucker, CEO of Nashville Fashion Alliance

To say we were excited when the Nashville Fashion Alliance (NFA) was asked by LaunchTN to participate in this year’s 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival is an understatement. It is undeniable that LaunchTN has created something of great significance to entrepreneurs across our state through 36|86, which provides invaluable resources, programming and networking to founders of all sizes and expertise. This year in particular, LaunchTN broadened its agenda to focus not only on healthcare and technology but also on lifestyle brands that are disrupting various industries. As someone who is passionate about seeing entrepreneurs in Nashville’s fashion industry thrive, this year I was more excited about 36|86 than ever before. In truth, my high expectations were somehow exceeded.

I have three big takeaways from this year’s 36|86:

  1. There are some badass women doing extremely interesting things in Tennessee and across the U.S. From leading investment funds to creating new businesses focused on diversity and inclusion, women are enabling a supportive environment in Tennessee for women-led business ventures now more than ever.
  2. Storytelling is everything. One of my favorite panels of the event was titled “Build Your Brand Smarter,” and led by Stacey Epstein, Shannon Litton, and Dooley Tombras. The three shared such important and impactful words of wisdom on how to tell your story and get it in front of the right audience.
  3. There are so many resources available for entrepreneurs in all industries! From the panel on alternative financing opportunities (I’m looking at you Karen Cahn!) to information on how to access resources like Opportunity Zones, there are resources out there waiting to be utilized if you only take a moment to do your research. One of the greatest challenges we face is providing accessible economic prosperity for those who want to put in the work. 36|86 demonstrated the strides we are taking to close that gap.

Tennesseans are so fortunate to have world-class leadership and resources in our own backyard through LaunchTN. This year’s 36|86 really highlighted for me the opportunities we have for our creative communities across the state.

About Nashville Fashion Alliance
NFA‘s mission is to build the regional fashion industry by amplifying early-stage fashion businesses with an ecosystem of support and resources. From designer-led startups to emerging brands demonstrating traction and readiness to scale, they are dedicated to creating the support network for fashion companies to grow, thrive, and become solid employers.



36|86 Festival

36|86 brings together innovators, pioneers, investors & visionaries to shape the future of business.