Slow Innovation Interview: Melissa Ablé, Kapable founder


 

The Slow Innovation Brands sustainable fashion incubator aims to promote ethical and sustainable fashion innovation of local brands. For this, we rely on the solidarity between fashion designers and craftsmen. Kapable is an example of this collaboration. On our platform you will find several products produced by Kapable:

Shirt with a pattern produced by the brand

Bomber made in bark, unique piece

T-shirt in organic cotton, with the brand's slogan "The luxury of knowing"

Handmade choker. Unique piece

Handmade bark slippers with a pattern.

Fabi Earrings. Hand made with love. Unique piece.

Melissa Ablé, 23 years old, is the founder of this sustainable fashion brand. Melissa is an example of dedication and commitment to social development. Her creations reveal a careful and innovative work of circular fashion design. For you to learn more about her work, which we admire so much, we prepared an interview with Melissa. Check it out!

 

1. Who is Melissa?

I am 23 years old, I graduated in Branding and Fashion Design and always wanted to create a brand and work in fashion.

2. What motivated the creation of Kapable?

As I gained more knowledge about the fashion world, I realized that I could not create a simple brand. I realized that it had to be based on the three pillars of sustainability, environmental, social and economic. From there was growing the desire to give life to Kapable, a brand of clothing and accessories that uses sustainable materials, and that recognizes the work of the team, always looking for the best for our customers.

3. How long have you been on the market?

Kapable was born on November 28 of last year.

4. What kind of materials do you work with and why? How do you choose materials and how do you find suppliers?

The pieces are made mostly of cotton. Organic preferably. We also use the Barkcloth which is a vegetal skin, derived from the bark of the Mutuba tree, manufactured in Uganda.


5. Who designs Kapable's clothing and accessories?

At the moment I am the designer and marketer of Kapable. I draw the pieces and patterns, the confection is made by 2 ladies with whom I work (Carla and Lena) and also I confection some of the pieces. The accessories are designed and produced by two friends (Ana and Fabio) and then the photo shoot with a very talented photographer (César). Working with very talented and passionate people, this is something we value.


6. Where are the kapable's products produced?

The pieces are produced in Portugal, Lisbon.

7. How many people do you collaborate with today in production? Are your products handmade?

Working with 5 people more or less, not counting suppliers, depends on what needs to be done. We are always looking for the best. It is all handmade, we produce in small quantity and we are going to see the feedback we have.


8. What was the theme of your first collection? What was the inspiration?

This collection has 2 patterns, one of them inspired by the African conch symbolizing respect. The other is inspired by a united society. The collection is made up of simple pieces, casual streetwear.


9. Did you start Kapable by yourself? What were and are the difficulties encountered in managing your brand?

Yes, I started Kapable by myself and went looking for people to work with me. One of the biggest difficulties is lack of capital. It takes money for everything, materials, advertising, labor, etc. And for those who do not want to borrow a loan is tricky, but step by step Kapable is moving forward and I believe it will be a good brand. Our goal is to serve our customers well and offer a fair trade product.


10. Do you have or have you had investors? If so, how were the negotiations?

I did not have it.

11. Have you ever taken part in any startups contest? Tell us about the experience.

I participated in a contest to parade in Italy, and Kapable was selected, but it was not possible to continue due to lack of capital.

12. Have you already done any crowdfunding campaign?

Never.

13. Do you work full time at Kapable today?

No. I have another steady job, and I'm working at Kapable.

14. What is your academic background? Has your knowledge helped you create and manage your business?

I graduated in Fashion Design and finished my Master's Degree in Fashion Design and Branding. Yes, knowledge is always an asset! It has helped me a lot to choose the brand image and style. Also to know the processes of creation, from the drawings to the molds, etc.

15. Do you own stock? How do you organize the production and output of your products?

The stock is being managed as you realize what sells the most, without ever forgetting Kapable's identity.

16. What are the main sales and distribution channels you use? Do you participate in fairs and face-to-face events? Do you have a physical or online store? Use Instagram or Facebook? What is the added value you see in each of these channels?

Instagram and Facebook. Later an online store will be created and maybe a physical store!

17. What advice would you give to those who are thinking about creating a sustainable fashion startup?

Today, I would say that being sustainable is expensive. Prices are higher since the supplier, and this makes you feel like looking for materials not as sustainable, but you have to be true to what you want. The beginning is never easy and nowadays fast fashion brands do not facilitate with the attractive prices,

That's why you need to be innovative, bet a lot on marketing and what others can not offer. Have a head and know how to manage things. The best advice is to start with 1 thing and grow.

Did you you liked this interview? Do you have any question for Melissa? Please, write in the comments. we would love to hear your opnion! 


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