Nashville-based jewelry and fashion brand ABLE began as an experiment. In the late 2000s, company founder and CEO Barrett Ward, who was then director of the Mocha Club, a nonprofit that fundraises to help local African leaders develop stronger communities, met women in Ethiopia who needed help finding a job.
Barrett found the resources to train the women to make scarves, then sold over 4,000 of them in two months. A philanthropic brand was born.
Since then, the company’s grown into a jewelry and fashion imprint and retailer, with one store in Nashville and a bustling e-comm business, that employs and empowers women as a solution to help end poverty. ABLE invests in, trains and educates women “so they can earn a living, break the cycle of poverty and thrive,” according to its website. “People understood that if you’re committed to ending poverty, you must create jobs, and do so for women.”
The brand has branched out from scarves into leather bags, clothing, shoes, and a popular jewelry collection that’s start-to-finish made by hand in the company’s Nashville jewelry workshop by women being paid a fair wage (ABLE publishes its wages). Its leather goods, clothes and shoes are made by manufacturers in Ethiopia, Mexico, Brazil, India, Portugal, and China.
Those manufacturers are carefully vetted through an evaluation system the company developed called Accountable which grades potential partners in the areas of safety, equity and wages “in order to give us better insight into the impact of our supply chain on the women making our products,” according to company literature.
Most of the jewelry is demi-fine—either vermeil or gold-fill—which renders ABLE’s prices low; metal rings hover around the $50 mark. Those low prices, coupled with the brand’s admirable raison d’entre positions ABLE to deftly capture the young, female self-purchasing consumer who’s seeking out responsible and accountable companies to patronize.
And ABLE’s jewelry is right on trend, existing in a similar cute-but-tame aesthetic vein as fellow southern brand Kendra Scott. And even though it’s affordable, ABLE’s products are crafted to last. “We’re deeply devoted to quality,” reads the company’s website. “both in the products we make and the quality of life we aim to provide.”
All photos courtesy of ABLE