The Able Label Blog
It has been a full year since we began selling The Able Label clothes, all specifically designed to make dressing easier for stylish women. A year on, we speak to our founder Katie about how the year has gone and what the future holds.
Founder Katie with Kent Young Entrepreneur award
1) What is the biggest achievement by The Able Label this past year?
We are incredibly proud to have had our hard work recognised having won and been nominated for several awards. The Able Label was a finalist in the Kent Start up award and I won runner up in the Young Entrepreneur category. On the day of our first year anniversary, we also found out we had been nominated and made it through as a finalist of the Kent Dementia Friendly awards.
2) Tell us about the first year of The Able Label.
Where to start? So much has happened in a year!
Due to demand, we have doubled our range and will also be introducing more new styles in time for Christmas which we are very excited about.
The Able Label is stocked by key charities who can all see the benefits of the clothing for the groups they support.
We have also extended our services also offering alterations and continue to give VAT exemption to those it applies to on the majority of our lines.
Most importantly though, we have built a strong and loyal customers base who love the ranges and have placed several orders with our styles helping them to remain independent. These customers also include family members and carers buying on behalf of women they support with one carer recently feeding back,
“I am 46 years old and care for an 84-year-old lady who has recently ordered a number of items from The Able Label. I don't think I have ever received better service from any other company. Products are excellent, very thoughtfully designed and well made. I wouldn't hesitate recommending this company to anyone. First class communication and service. Thank you.”
We have learnt so much this year. The invaluable feedback we have had from customers as well as Occupational Therapists, we work very closely with, has meant we have been able to enhance our ranges, continuously improving them.
Behind the scenes on first photoshoot
3) Tell us about the team that made The Able Label happen.
The successful year we have had can only be attributed to the fantastic team that have supported the brand from the start. They are all experts within their industry and provide invaluable knowledge and expertise to help us maintain the highest standard and attention to detail that’s never compromised. We are incredibly lucky to have them on board.
Amongst the team, we have designers, garment technologists, a creative director, expert retail advisors and very skilled manufacturers making our lovely clothes. Without them, The Able Label would not be what it is today.
4) Is there anything you would do differently?
There is nothing we would do differently as such, we just want to continue to learn, develop and grow the range of clothes to carry on helping women remain as independent as possible when dressing each day.
5) How do you stay motivated and inspired?
Just the feedback we receive from our customers is enough to keep me motivated. Seeing what a difference our clothing can make to people is extremely rewarding. We meet such inspiring individuals that make all our hard work worthwhile.
6) Over the year, The Able Label has developed some fantastic partnerships with charities, brands and organisations. How important have they been to The Able Label?
They have been key to The Able Label’s growth. We are being stocked by some huge charities including Alzheimer’s Society, Parkinson’s UK, National Osteoporosis Society and Different Strokes. They’re doing fantastic work in supporting the groups they work with and we are very pleased to be able to help them with this. They’ve helped us to raise awareness of the The Able Label brand from being unknown a year ago before launching.
The Able Label clothes being made
7) What is the process behind creating a The Able Label product line?
So much goes into creating The Able Label clothes. We work nearly a year in advance in order to give us enough time to rigorously trial and test every item before it is included within the range.
We begin the process by speaking to customer and healthcare professionals to really understand the wants and needs of our ladies. After researching the seasons’ key colours and trends, all of this information is then translated into designs that are prototyped so we can begin trials to ensure feedback has been followed closely enough. We go through this process, which also includes fitting the garments on various body shapes, at least three times before we sign anything off having met all the requirements.
It is then over to our skilled manufacturers in Portugal, renowned for their expertise in jersey, to create the lovely clothes for our customers.
8) Autumn is here, and Winter approaching - what are The Able Label's plans for the season?
This season, we’re really focused on gifting particularly in nightwear, an area our customers have told us they would love to see us doing. We have four nightdresses, which all open at the front and fasten with our usual high quality Velcro, cosy bed jackets for extra warmth and bed socks with practical grippers to help prevent slipping.
9) What's planned for the next year?
Next year we want to reach more people and let then know about the work we are doing and the benefits of our clothes.
We are already working on new spring/summer and autumn ranges to keep our customers stylishly independent .
We also are about to launch into Australia, which is incredibly exciting.
Here’s to another year building on the success of last year!
Fastenings; something used to attach one thing to another firmly.
All sounds very simple, right? Well, we can assure you it isn’t! There are buttons, buckles, clasps, hook and eye, ties, knots, zips, press studs, hook and loops (better known as velcro), toggles, and the list goes on!
Of all fastenings, buttons have endured as the most common way of securing fabric. But to begin with, they were used only as decoration with the buttonhole not being invented until later on. Like the majority of other fastenings out there, buttons are not however always easy to fasten and can in fact be extremely fiddly or impossible to use. This is especially the case if you have numbness, stiffness or pain in your hands restricting movement and fine motor skills.
Attention to Detail
With attention to detail at the heart of all what we do at The Able Label, we got to thinking - what if we could go back to a time where the button was only used for decoration and an alternative fastening be used to avoid the fiddly notion of securing clothes. You name it, we’ve researched it.
All suitable options which could potentially make dressing less fiddly, we have trialled and tested. Having spent over a year and a half developing and perfecting the collection – we quickly narrowed down hook and loop (velcro) as being the most suitable type of fastening for its ease to open and close. In fact, during our market research, nearly 60% found buttons in particular extremely difficult or impossible to fasten whilst 0% had difficulties with hook and loop.
Attention to Quality
Then to finding the best hook and loop fastening out there on the market and we feel we have it. Some of the key features of the hook and loop fastenings we have carefully sourced include:
- the yarns are of such a high quality, as long as carefully maintained following the garments wash care instructions, ensuring the hook and loop are closed when washing, it will last as long as the item of clothing it is used on.
- it has specifically been designed for frequent opening and closing and is also used by the top sportswear retailers.
- it is a softer hook and loop fastening meaning that the fastening is less likely to snag on other items.
- with a good peel strength but high sheer and tensile strength, the open and close motion is easier requiring less strength however will not come undone through wear even if in seated position for long periods of time which would put greater strain on the fastening.
- the fasteners are coloured as part of The Able Label’s ‘EasyFasten’ system. Just match coordinating colours to secure the fastening – lime for left and red for right.
Within the range, we have several styles, which discretely incorporate this hook and loop fastening, giving you the best of both – function and fashion.
Front Fastening - Imogen Jersey Shirt and Maria Jersey Vest
Both the shirt and vest fasten at the front using our premium hook and loop. The shirt has buttons that are simply for decoration and not for use. Being front fastening, there is no need for overhead dressing.
Wrap Fastening - Su Jersey Wrap Dress and Linda Jersey Wrap Top
All wrap styles are securely fastened with the hook and loop. Fastening to the side, the hook and loop had both been coloured to match – lime for left and red for right to make it easier to align and fasten correctly. To look at, you would not realise the wrap styles had been made easier to dress with fiddly fastenings removed.
To find out more, take a look at our website www.theablelabel.com
Otherwise we always love to hear from you and are very happy for you to contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org