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!