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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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A Mountain Oasis Pop Up & Sample Sale!

Posted on October 23, 2013 by Amazing Capes

Hey chickies & electro-lovers! This weekend we will have a Pop Up Store & Sample Sale during Mountain Oasis music festival at 5 Woodfin St. Downtown Asheville. Along with our classic collection we will also be selling unique sample prototypes, seconds and random artifacts. Come find us! Our photo booth will be waiting for you...

October 25-27th 2013

Est. hours: Friday 4pm-12am, Sat 2pm-12am, Sun 2pm-8pm

 

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Trick or Treat in Style this HALLOWEEN

Posted on October 03, 2013 by Amazing Capes

Hey hey kiddos! Now is the time of year where anything goes. Literally. ANYTHING. Cover yourself in TP and roll around in fake blood? That's cool. Want to unleash your psycho spirit shadow animal on the streets? EMBRACE IT. Are those children dressed like bumblebees? Yes. Yes they are.

Halloween is coming and this year we've got your back like never before. Every Amazing Cape can help create an immediate costume that can transform every year to infinity and beyond.  

Our Superhero Lair has come up with some smashing ideas...

Costume Ideas for Halloween 2013 Feat. Amazing Capes

The Wallenberg: Vampire, wicked witch, Time Traveler, black hole, George Washington, member of Kiss band, Dr Jekyll, Che Guevara, Jedi Knight, Darth Vader, Pirate

The Admiral: Sea Captain, Fremen of Dune, Oriental mobster, planet earth, Brave (bow & arrow), boxer, Picasso, Queen or King, Emperor, Rocket Wizard, Salvador Dali (add mustache, paint brush)
The Magellan: Superstar- use yellow felt to cut out a sun with a hole for the face, sunflower, good witch, fairy, Rapunzel, Hufflepuff wizard, yellow submarine, Sundance Kid, bumblebees
Super Mandela: Superman, Saturn, ZomBabe, Snow White, Where's Waldo
Noble Rainbow: Rainbow, Supernova, Willy Wonka, Electromagnetic Spectrum, Cupcake doll w sprinkles, Skittles, Unicorn 
Carolina Blue: Sky w/ white felt clouds, Brave, Katniss, Joan of Arc, little prince, Cleopatra
The Elizabeth: Pink Power Ranger, Princess, The 3 little pigs, Space Ninja, Good Witch, Cinderella 
The Rowling: Gryffindor wizard- Harry Potter, Ron or Hermione, Puss N Boots, Bene Gesserit 
The Carson: Robin Hood, Rachel Carson
The Houdini: Magician, Space Galaxy, Super Nova, Wizard

PUT A CAPE ON IT: These ideas below will work with just about any cape!

* Explorer- telescope, map, rope (Lois/Clark)
* Alien- wear spandex, cover yourself in tin-foil
* Super Pac- wear name-tags of large corporations
* Banksy- wear a hoodie, sweats & hold a can of spray paint
* Space Ninja- tight black pleather, black boots
* Superstar- bedazzle + hold mic or instrument of choice
* Time Traveler- attach random artifacts to leather belt + goggles
* Quidditch Star- wooden broom + spray paint a ping-pong ball gold & glue feathers 
* Boxer- gym shorts, gloves & kicks
* Vampire- tux shirt (pop collar under neck band), white face paint, blood
* Revolutionary- boots, weapon/non-weapon of choice, flag
* Mime- white face paint, suspenders, black leggings
* Fortune Teller- dress, scarves, crystal ball/ tarot cards
* Super X- AKA: -Hero -MOM -DAD -Sister -Ping-pong champion...(dress the part/wear a name-tag)
* Supernova- explosion of makeup and colored powder

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Big Love

Posted on September 16, 2013 by Amazing Capes

Celebrating the independent small businesses in Asheville, NC we were pumped to join the Big Love festivities and empower more superheroes on the streets of downtown! It was awesome getting to meet all the genuine, rad & beautiful people who came by our booth. Such as this gem below- totally ready to take on Project Runway, she knew the Noble Rainbow was HER cape. As for the boys below in the Rowling capes, they'll make a smashing Gryffindor duo for Halloween.

 

 

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Get Freaked!

Posted on August 31, 2013 by Amazing Capes

"Are you a superhero? Irrelevant question. Of course you're a superhero. Do you want to form a superhero alliance? ALSO IRRELEVANT. We're forming a super hero alliance to fight against the evils of bottle sweat. Now the only question that remains is how flashy will our flash be?" - Freakerteam

We were terrifically stoked to join forces with the folks at Freaker USA for a giveaway. Several pairs of this dynamic duo are now out there in the world & though the contest is over, it's never too late to combine the two into a super task force. If you haven't yet heard of Freaker USA then do yourself a life-long favor and check them out! Dynamic knit coozies forever. You can also put em' on your arms for some sweet sleeves when paired with a cape. Rox met them in Wilmington, NC a couple years back while they were pursuing a successful kickstarter campaign and was immediately wooed by their heartfelt freaky pazzazzz. We invite you to be as well.

Above- Beth Peddle in Wilmington feat. an Amazing Cape prototype & her fave Freaker

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Taking Flight in the Windy City

Posted on August 28, 2013 by Amazing Capes

So pumped to see the beginning of Route 66 after flying along its cruisy sunbeat roads in the southwest this spring. Rox w/ a Carolina Blue Amazing Cape (& gold sample) took an inaugural dive into Chicago and was immediately impressed. Pics below feat. Cloud Gate 'the Bean' - definitely a spaceship, in the incredible Chicago Art Institute, & Agora- a sculptural installation of large headless bodies in Grant Park. Kudos on a great city all you Chicagoians! 

 

 

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A Pop Up Success :)

Posted on August 08, 2013 by Amazing Capes

What a treat it was to knight so many superheroes in person! We had a magical time in our 3 day pop-up store on the corner of downtown Asheville over Bele Chere weekend. And most of all we were able to support so many of the causes we <3 ! The Houdini Amazing Cape that benefits Arts for Life in Asheville stole the show as our most popular cape for the weekend- it must have been all the magic in the air!

Check out all these beautiful heroes below:

 

A big thank you to Chris, Nathan and Ryan for all your help! 

See the full album on our facebook page here

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A Bele Chere Pop Up Store!

Posted on July 25, 2013 by Amazing Capes

 

Woohoo! It's Bele Chere weekend in Asheville, NC and we want to see your beautiful faces! Come try on a cape in our 1st Ever Pop-Up store... And of course, $2 from every cape sold benefits an amazing cause. 

There will be bubbles, floating satin, possibly some hand-made masks... and a superhero photo booth! We will be there for the majority of festival hours starting noon on Friday and will be posted up through Sunday afternoon.

Our google address is 4 Woodfin St. Asheville 

We'd love to see you there!

 

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AC Road Trip Scrapbook :)

Posted on May 22, 2013 by Amazing Capes

 

Dear America, 

We love you!

Sincerely, 

Amazing Capes


 

We had a fantastic journey, and are so glad to be able to share it with you.

This springtime use promo code MERICA to save 10% of all the capes you need! 

HURRAY!



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Episode 9: Riding the Cliffs of Big Sur

Posted on May 02, 2013 by Amazing Capes

It’s a wonder we didn’t fall off. That the car didn’t take a turn, distracted by a flying Condor, and begin its descent into the great ocean abyss. The Pacific Highway is just as the name says… more ocean than land, seemingly separated by steep cliffs crashing down hundreds of feet into the sea. But after awhile the road will turn and it will become comfortable- a gorgeous meadow, a row of redwoods, or the wide expanse of a beach with an infinite fishing pier will come to view. 

The drama of the elements bode well for the imaginations of Amazing Capes. It's the natural playground of superheroes, full of jaw breaking intensity and natural wonder. We evaded the mountain lions on a hike out to sea, paraded waving floral meadows, stormed driftwood castles and flew to the beat of the sea outside our doors. On your next drive, may the wind be at your back and may a cape help steer the way to adventure.

AC Truth 9: By Jack Kerouac, Big Sur: “On soft Spring nights I'll stand in the yard under the stars - Something good will come out of all things yet - And it will be golden and eternal just like that - There's no need to say another word."





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