The inspiration for CapeAble came from Marna Pacheco and Susan Hickok’s children, both adopted after experiencing early childhood trauma. “As parents in the trenches with our children — and their extreme behaviors — we quickly realized the effects of abuse and neglect on the brain,” Pacheco and Hickok explain. “Everything that we learned about neuroscience inspired us to seek tools that would assist in regulating their central nervous systems. When we could not find adequate solutions, we created our own.”
Together, the adoptive mothers created weighted blankets, weighted wearables, and sensory enrichment tools that provide comfort and hope while allowing users to relax and experience less anxiety. CapeAble Sensory Products had a market, but needed to figure out manufacturing challenges first.
"Bill Causey has also provided us with countless business resources, connections, and webinars. He comes from a big corporation background but his heart is genuinely to help our small business to succeed,” the pair says. “Causey encourages Pacheco and Hickok to find time to work on their business, not simply in it.
CapeAble was named Outstanding Innovative Small Business Award at the 2017 SCORE Awards.
Weighted products have traditionally been made by hand, and sewn weighted products didn’t fit standard manufacturing techniques. CapeAble was forced to modify its product designs, re-engineer the manufacturing process, obtain an SBA-backed loan, and become its own manufacturer. Not only are CapeAble’s designs patent-pending; the machine that facilitates manufacturing them is, too.
Volunteer mentor Bill Causey met with Pacheco and Hickok in CapeAble’s early days. “He worked with us through a significant shift in our business model and he helped us revise our business plan to communicate this change to the bank,” Pacheco and Hickok say.