Barrett Ward is the founder and CEO of ABLE, a lifestyle brand focused on ending generational poverty by working with women who have often overcome extraordinary circumstances. We manufacture directly in the communities we wish to impact, both locally and globally, creating jobs and ending the cycle of charity dependency.
Behind His Brilliance: Surrounding himself with strong mentors
Say hi to Barrett on Instagram: @barrettward
BARRETT WARD | Leading a fashion lifestyle brand might be an unlikely role for someone self-described as “not a fashion guy,” but that’s exactly where ABLE founder and CEO Barrett Ward finds himself. As the visionary behind the rapidly growing Nashville-based company disrupting the fashion industry with a social conscience, Ward was inspired to start ABLE with the mission of creating sustainable business opportunities for women. While living in Ethiopia, Ward and wife Rachel saw firsthand how extreme poverty forced many young women to make difficult choices for money. They wanted to give women the chance to earn a living with dignity. In 2010, they began ABLE by employing women who had overcome the sex industry to make handmade scarves. ABLE has since grown into a lifestyle brand carrying beautiful leather bags, jewelry, denim, apparel, and shoes with a primary focus on empowering disadvantaged women. Now, the company employs more than 300 women in Ethiopia, Peru, Mexico, and Nashville – home of ABLE’s Headquarters and Flagship store. As fans of ABLE’s classic styles grow, Ward ensures he and his team always remember why ABLE was founded: to provide opportunities to women who have overcome some of life’s most challenging obstacles.
The origin story of ABLE in Ethiopia
The problems with poverty tourism
How Barrett is reimagining social entrepreneurship
How ABLE measures its impact around the world
Fast fashion and why you should be more mindful about what you buy
What Barrett has learned about leadership
STUFF MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
ABLE (use code BEHINDTHEBRILLIANCE for 20% off)
The True Cost (fast fashion documentary)
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (Barrett’s book pick)
Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (Barrett’s book pick)
Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (Barrett’s book pick)