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Cape on Riverfest!

Posted on September 03, 2014 by Amazing Capes

What a great day! Big thank you to River Link for hosting this event to help protect the French Broad River. We've only set up as a vendor a few times but every time we meet so many fabulous people it makes us want to get out and do it even more! Riverfest was no exception- Asheville, your friendly creative spirit was shining bright. See you next time!

 

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The Journey Back Home

Posted on March 20, 2014 by Amazing Capes

Dear Friends, 

It’s been a little over a year since the first bundles of Amazing Capes have flown to their new owners around the world. People of all ages and and from 21 countries have released their inner superhero, and also supported 10 nonprofits through purchase proceeds. In an effort to take one more step forward, I'm proud to say that Amazing Capes will soon be having all of our capes manufactured closer to my home in Asheville.

The new factory is located in Asheboro, NC, and is owned by some wonderful folks who bring years of experience to the floor as well as warmth, skill and a cohesive vision. We couldn’t be happier about our new small business partners.

It has been quite a ride getting to this point and I'd like to share my experiences thus far as Amazing Capes prepares to cross a new business frontier.

Throughout college, I heard a lot of discussion about the global shift in manufacturing overseas. However, this was a concept I equated with “corporations, oil, politics and suits.’” Not my cup of tea. After graduating in 2009, I moved to D.C., and eventually flew off to Southeast Asia. When I returned home to North Carolina, my penniless yet ever-motivated self promptly re-discovered an enduring recession. Jobs continued to bite the dust, yet now I had the idea for a tangible product I wanted to manufacture! So, of course, I started looking for people to make it.

In 2011 when I searched for manufacturers in North Carolina and surrounding areas I was blown away by the high quotes I was getting. What I heard in college was true— all of the big guys had left or shut down, taking their cost-effective machines and methods with them. According to a study through Duke University "Although we have seen a drastic decline in the textile industry, the apparel industry has fared much worse, experiencing a 70% decline in jobs and 55% of plants from 1996 to 2006." Tens of thousands of North Carolinians were out of work.

Why?

Because their employers had left. And this left me, a novice to the manufacturing field, with three options: 1. I could abandon ship; 2. I could make an incredibly expensive product that no one I knew could afford; or 3. I could follow the manufacturing trail and make Amazing Capes a reality. #3 was the winner. 

I browsed online and found a factory in China that had a 500-unit minimum order quantity compared to most of the big guys with a minimum order quantity of 10,000. I reached out and a wonderful man named Aaron became my #1 contact over there; he was efficient and polite, a dream to work with.

I emailed him sketches and photos of rough prototypes, received an estimate, and wired my first payment for prototypes. Ten days later the first cape samples. They were real! The process worked. I began to understand the feasibility of manufacturing a product overseas.  

In late summer of 2012, after an extensive step and repeat design process, I scraped together the last dollars I had and wired it to Hangzhou City for the 10 final samples of what would become my first collection of Reversible Satin Amazing Capes. 

When the samples arrived, I attached them to fishing line took product shots. Next, I had the photos up on a website built through Shopify. It looked like a real store! All I was missing was inventory. This is where the online fund-raising platform Kickstarter came to play.

I spent a month crafting a video and set a 30-day campaign goal of raising $15,000 to meet manufacturing minimums. Watch that video here. In lieu of any financial safety net, I poured all of my energies into the project, and found the loving support of friends, family, and strangers who got behind me.

With only 3 days left, the campaign was featured in Kickstarter's national e-newsletter and "Release Your Inner Superhero" flew to 300% of its goal. I was humbled. I was ecstatic. The world wanted capes! 

Shortly after, in mid-December 2012, Aaron and his team were able to start the production process for Amazing Capes in the Zhejiang Province of China. By this time, Aaron had made some changes in his working life and had gone into business for himself. He was therefore able to set a higher price on the product, one that was both more fair to all involved, yet remained far cheaper than the domestic quotes I had received. 

Weeks later, in mid-February of 2013, hundreds of pounds of satin capes arrived. We loaded the boxes into the back of a pick-up and brought them in. The physicality set in, I looked at the 2,200 capes, and was floored by their existence, thinking of the group effort it took to bring them all in front of me.

For the next 2 weeks our kitchen was turned into a crazy cape tag-fold-wrap and ship center. Over 1,000 capes flew from the Post Office in Weaverville, NC, to their new owners around the globe. Another 1,000 capes were left to stock the website. 

Amazing Capes was in business! 

Since then, it's been a great year, one with a strong learning curve, and I'm more invested in Amazing Capes than ever before. That being said, I decided if Amazing Capes was truly going to be the company I envisioned, then it was time to loose our 8,000 mile handicap, whilst young and pliable, and turn our little wings back home.

After a year of growing success, Amazing Capes is positioned to take the next step in fulfilling our vision. Our priorities are, and always will be, high product quality, business transparency, promotion of social good, and the ability to test out new styles with minimal financial risk and a short lead-time.

Between 2011 and 2014, the whisper of companies who are shifting manufacturing back to the USA has grown more audible. This past fall I restarted my search for a practical price on domestic manufacturing.

I turned to the Internet and serendipitously found a sewing operation in Asheboro, NC— just a few hours from our home in Asheville. Perfect.

After I met with owners Gary and Lilia of Lighthouse, I was even more certain that this was the right move for Amazing Capes in 2014. The two have tons of positive energy. Their experience as seasoned industry rangers will prove invaluable to our company. For the first time, manufacturing Amazing Capes in the USA felt possible.

Here’s where we are now.

Fabric has been ordered. Lilia has prepared new patterns that reflect several design upgrades. New tags have been woven, and custom folding machinery has been installed to fit their machines. Gary has even tracked down a foot-press that will install our flying penguin snaps on the cape collars. (Yes, snaps!)

Choosing to make this transition to the home front was a chance; however, now that I'm working with people whose hands I have shaken, and whom I've hugged, I feel a greater sense of accountability and responsibility for my work, along with an urge to grow.

Amazing Capes has had its training wheels on, and I believe we've finally arrived at a place that feels right—one that will enable us to focus on our higher mission of “Saving the World Through the Power of Imagination.”

What does this mean for you, dear superhero?

New sizes and styles will develop more frequently. Each cape will be crafted by someone I can introduce you to, should you ever desire to meet their maker. In our first year we were able to give over $700 to the nonprofits each of our capes support. Next year we hope to build on these relationships and give even more. If you have a nonprofit you feel we should partner with—contact us!

As for the remaining stock in our current collection, they are truly a limited edition; they are a mark of our time, and they are full of imagination. (Not to mention, my friends, family and I heat-pressed the tags on each one of those babies.)

Thank you for your continued support, and please, stay tuned for the ride (and new designs). We just got our training wheels off! 

Looking forward,

Roxanne

 

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Mountain Oasis Pop Up

Posted on November 06, 2013 by Amazing Capes

Asheville's rogue in the wall cape store! For our 2nd appearance we set up in a flash and after 3 days of fun we disappeared back to the virtual world! Mountain Oasis, a city-wide electronic music festival, filled Asheville with the prettiest of songs and vibrant smiling faces Oct 25-27th. We are so pumped to have a great many more beautiful people romping around the planet in Amazing Capes... onwards and upwards lovies!

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Episode 11: Joshua Tree

Posted on May 13, 2013 by Amazing Capes

With sun warrior Wanda ready to hit the road, Amazing Capes spun a 180 and began its journey back east. Through uncanny valleys of wind turbines we drove duskward into the California desert. Traveling the same roads as U2, we too were drawn to the unique stretch of earth that forms Joshua Tree National Park. Identifiable by the fact that it seems as if this particular tree stepped right out of a Dr Suess book- the Joshua Tree looks like a furry 1970’s giant. These trees are unidentifiable as to their age, being hollow with no rings on the inside; so we like to think they are infinitesimally old dino plants… beholding the magical of energy of all they’ve seen crossing the terrain before them. 

Driving into the national park, stocked up on water and alien snacks, what soon became equally astounding as these wildly distinctive tree formations was the vast array of boulders blasting from the earth in the most spectacular crushing formations. We parked Wanda at the opening to Hidden Valley, a legendary bit of the park for the cattle rustlers that would hide out there between the massive rocks and inside the caves. Keeping an eye out for rattlesnakes, the slight breeze lifted our capes and the magnetic energy of the rocks pulled us in. Old energy, magic, lore, ancient creatures, and resilient greenery encompassed us in Joshua Tree. A hawk circling overhead, the rustling of a yucca plant, a Joshua Tree split in half from its long existence… Amazing Capes hopes to channel all this ancient energy into frontier-forward designs in the future... As the elevation dropped when we exited the park and the Joshua Trees were suddenly no longer in view, the brightness of the afternoon sun made it all suddenly feel like a hazy dream.

AC Truth 11: In the same way the Joshua Tree only grows when surrounded by a very unique set of elements… pay attention to what set of elements channel your own personal growth and consciously surround yourself in them. 

 




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Episode 10: Stolen Surprises in the Land of San Francisco

Posted on May 02, 2013 by Amazing Capes

Dear the city of Saint Francis, perhaps a bit of your holiness has fled these fog bleached row houses, late night eateries and crusty fire escapes? In the likeness of the novel On the Road where Dean drops Marylou and Sal on the streets of San Francisco, Anna and Rox were also left without wheels when sun warrior Wanda was abducted on Saturday night. Stolen! Straight up thievery! Oh woe it’s true. The girl was hot wired, lifted, purloined by stranger’s hands in the dark night… But what is a journey without a twist of events… a bit of adventure? 

So?! Rox and Anna put on their Amazing Capes and emblazoned the Mission District in the dead of night on a hunt for Wanda’s captors; we raced motorcycles across the city, leaped tall buildings and stealthily followed the clues of her disappearance until hands were tied and justice was served. But alas… That is not how the story goes! For our suitcase chock full of powerful capes was lifted with Wanda! Poof! Our backs were bare. It was Superman stranded as Clark Kent. Batman without his Batmobile. Wonder Woman left grounded in a storm.

Meanwhile, the hired guns of the city took up the hunt, which brings forth a good moment to illuminate the positive qualities bestowed on this land in honor of Saint Francis. On the afternoon prior to the disappearance of our Amazing Capes, we trooped out to Land’s End to catch the first winds to hit the earth from their Pacific journey. The Heroes: Alexa (a magical Reiki healer), Seth (saving the world through solar energy), and Rox (superhero facilitator) got a blast of fresh energy at the mouth of the Golden Gates as we felt the air charter past our fingertips and billow our capes in the wind. What a beautiful place!

There’s a whole lot of magical goodness in this city—super kind people, amazing food, totally bomb bubble tea, terrific parks, a current of happening energy, amazing views, and a sense of resilience to keep it all moving forward. 

As we let the universe do its work, the positive energy forces of Wanda brought her back to the light! 4 days later, in the vacuum of night, Anna’s phone rang with the recovery of the 78’ Toyota Corolla.  Just 10 blocks away, Wanda was marooned by an ocean of crack perfume. A hot mess! But as always, Onwards and Upwards my friends.

AC Truth 10: Having an Amazing Cape makes for good karma and stealing is just wrong.







Scene of the crime... The blue truck is parked where Wanda was!


Gorgeous Delores Park... totally bumpin with rad humans!


 

 

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Episode 8: Brite Lite LA

Posted on April 26, 2013 by Amazing Capes

We snuck into the sprawling city of Los Angeles around 3:30 in the morning last Friday. After fueling up at a diner in the neighborhood of Los Feliz, we soon awoke to the sunlit glory land of American film and media. The city hums with possibility and the excitement of whoknowswhatcouldhappentoday – and for this reason, along with beloved Carolina friends & the weather it happens to be one of my/Rox’s favorites. It was a balmy 75 degrees outside as we took to the streets. Wanda got fixed (again!) and cruised around the town- Sunset Boulevard, Griffin Park, Beverly Hills, Hollywood… scouting for anythingandeveryone. Lemon Yellow Sun Warrior she is. 

A little flashback- 3 years ago, I flew from Southeast Asia into LAX and had the time of my life not knowing what I was doing. However, if you check out this Hollywood pic, you’ll notice one thing… I’m rocking a cape I had made while finding my way through Vietnam. So to come full circle, it was a joy to approach the city fresh from the east this time, and to reflect on how following dreams and having persistence can truly take effect. Who knows what can happen in another 3 years... I imagine there will be a lot more Amazing Capes... with superheros rocking all kinds of future styles to boot! Another joy was seeing my friend Katie McNeill who is helping produce the most beautiful movies... go see her latest: The Place Beyond the Pines. (!!)

Stay tuned for our first commercial too… directed by Ernie Gilbert on a carwash on Santa Monica Blvd, it should be a fun one :) 

AC Truth 8: Those ideas you have, the ones that appear in your mind with a fury and a glimmer of light? Strap them to your watch. Tattoo them to your mind. Time can be an elusive little devil, don't let it get the best of your brightest brain waves. 


Rox in LA: 2010 • Pre-Amazing Capes


Rox in LA: 2013 • With The Elizabeth Amazing Cape! 


Anna • LACMA museum

 

Anna • Troop Beverly Hills


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Episode 7: Las Vegas in 22 Hours

Posted on April 24, 2013 by Amazing Capes

The road glimmers with heat waves as cacti-palms scatter the arid landscape crossing from Arizona to Nevada. The sun projects a halo around itself in the blue sky field and as it beams down upon this desert earth, the outline of a city appears on the horizon. Out of place, unsustainable, and massively absurd in scope, we wove through traffic and pulled off onto the strip. Las Vegas lay before us like a Hollywood movie set- to our left were the towering pyramids of Egypt, New York’s statue of liberty and the fountains of Bellagio… to our right the Eiffel Tower of France; pillars of glass and steel in a re-imagined world anchoring the set. 

With a swoop of yellow satin, Rox donned her cape and assumed her new role as an actor in this multifaceted over-indulgent escapade. What fun! How normal it felt to fly across this city!  To ride the escalators, float through the heavily chandeliered hotel lobbies, listen to the hungry tune of slot machines, view the wildly elaborate costumes… a city with a deep belly and a lot of flash. There is something to the power of playing a part that is liberating for a time- a freedom of anonymity while riding in waves of millions. 

$12 was gambled into rows of mis-matched cards, stickers were handed out, clubs were danced in, fountains splashed, Purity Ring sang awesomely from old Downtown, light shows covered the skies and everyone stared into the lights. With the whole world as your stage, Vegas is a perfect place to test run alternative identities or super identities…  What more could you expect, from a founder by the name of Bugsy? As the city was wiped clean before dawn, the sun came out as expected, and after 4 hours of sleep we revved up Wanda to hit the streets. 22 hours in this hungry furnace fed by dollars and dreams was just enough for Anna & Rox.  

AC Truth 7: To win big in Vegas, wear an Amazing Cape. *Returns may appear in the form of fun and smiles.  




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AC Episode 3: Cadillac Ranch

Posted on April 09, 2013 by Amazing Capes

Episode 3: Cadillac Ranch, several miles west of Amarillo Texas. An eccentric millionaire by the name of Stanley Marsh once hired a group of hippies to bury ten Cadillacs in the earth. To date, it is one of the finest pieces of art I have ever had the pleasure of both seeing and experiencing. Left open to the wiles of curious visitors, the cars  emulate a link between the nostalgic era of the beat driven 60’s and the future forward earthlings of today. They wear an armor of spray paint decades deep. Planted between the east and the west, the old and the new, the Cadillacs have become statues of their time, testimonials that challenge where we have come from and where we are going. 

3rd in line for the windiest region of the USA, Cadillac Ranch beckoned to Amazing Capes- HERE- it said- TAKE THIS WIND! Make your mark. Be bold. Take flight. Propel the journey forward!

AC Truth 3: By following your own eccentricities you will give others the courage to follow their own. 





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Cherokee Nation Makes History: Reaches the Edge of Space!

Posted on March 28, 2013 by Amazing Capes

On March 8th 2013 students of Cherokee High School in North Carolina reached new heights that reflected the strength and sovereignty of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. As far as we know, this was the first day Native Americans have ever reached the edge of space by means of launching a massive weather balloon. The balloon was attached with a special box, parachute and Go Pro cameras that rose up up and away and captured footage from the air. 

When Amazing Capes was asked to sponsor the 5 High School students who were chosen as “Cherokee Space Ambassadors" we were totally on board! Meet Gabby Thompson, Tagan Crowe, Bradley Welch, Cecilia Magana and Ryanne Oocumma- all students of Nicole Jackson’s 11th/12th grade advanced biology class with unique roles in the launch.  To reflect their school colors, the Space Ambassadors were given red Super Mandela capes prior to the launch. They calculated distances & estimated projections, readied gear and held down the corner ropes keeping the balloon steady until lift off. 

The entire school came out on the lawn and spelled their letters on the playing field- in this video link you can see dizzying footage of the ground as the balloon rises up! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8x1Ww2y1nRY 

After the weather balloon popped at the top of the stratosphere, the go pro cameras and box (that included Gabby's tribal earrings...now having reached space!) were picked up on the border of South Carolina a couple hundred miles away... at the top of a tree. The tracking team managed to climb it and footage was retrieved.

The tribe partnered with Element Advertising, featuring Art Director Christopher Sams of Asheville, to take another step forward in history & in doing so, reflect the strength of the Cherokee community, their pride in education and the new heights the nation is reaching. We are so thankful to have been able to participate in this event. Onwards and Upwards! 






See more photos on our facebook album: Cherokee Space Ambassadors  

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