Specialty Fabrics Review June 2019 - 54

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CapeAble founders Marna
Pacheco and Susan
Hickok became friends
when their families
adopted daughters from
the same orphanage who
both experienced severe
early childhood trauma.
They became official
business owners in 2016.
Photo: CapeAble.

Worth the weight
An invention designed to help one child transformed
into a company primed to help everyone.
BY HOLLY EAMON

U.S.-made, women-owned
All CapeAble products are made in a
5,000-square-foot facility in Fort Wayne,
Ind. They're sold online as well as in
a retail store attached to the facility.
Co-owners Marna Pacheco and Susan
Hickok employ just under 10 people and
prioritize flexibility in their schedules
to allow employees to work around
their family commitments. "We feel so
fortunate to be able to make this product
here and have full quality control to
make sure our customers are getting
the best product available," Pacheco
says. "We want to continue to grow and
develop more products to help those
who are so in need of it."

W

hether they're being touted by a celebrity, promoted by major retailers or
recommended by a friend, weighted blankets are the latest must-have household
item. But as their transformative capabilities are increasingly introduced to and
embraced by medical patients and professionals, their relevance is poised to long outlive
similar fads-thanks to the determination of two moms in Indiana.
Armed with preliminary research proving the benefits of their groundbreaking, patentpending SmartWeight® technology, CapeAble founders Marna Pacheco and Susan Hickok
are looking to expand use of their weighted products throughout sectors within the medical
industry and beyond. Setting sights high is nothing new for the duo, whose journey to this
point has been anything but predictable.
ACCIDENTAL SOLUTIONS
Pacheco and Hickok became official business owners in 2016 but still refer to themselves
as accidental entrepreneurs. "We did not set out to start a company," Pacheco says. They
were instead seeking better stress-relieving options for their adopted daughters, who both
experienced severe early childhood trauma. While searching for weighted products at the
suggestion of her daughter's occupational therapist, Pacheco recalls being appalled at what
was available. "My daughter deserved better," she says.
Pacheco made a weighted cape that was not only more visually appealing than the products
she found but also allowed her daughter to move freely while experiencing its calming effects.
Families in relatable situations took notice, and when she couldn't keep up with their requests
for similar products, Pacheco enlisted Hickok's help.
Hickok's fashion design experience and Pacheco's education and sales background didn't
easily align with the demands of starting a business. "I can't think of any challenges we didn't
have to overcome," Pacheco says. "If we knew then what we know now, I'm not sure if we
would have done it, but moms don't give up; they find solutions."
A LESSON IN SCIENCE
Their first step was to better understand the problem they had unintentionally begun to
unravel. Conclusive research on weighted blankets didn't exist and they were determined
to change that.

54 REVIEW JUNE 2019



Specialty Fabrics Review June 2019

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