Women's Journal

Championing Style and Social Change: Inside the Inspirational Journey of Suzanne Mckenzie, CEO of ABLE MADE

Suzanne Mckenzie's ABLE MADE: Championing Style
Photo: Unsplash.com

By: Molly Evarts

In the bustling heart of the fashion industry, Suzanne Mckenzie stands out not just as a visionary CEO but as a beacon of purpose-driven entrepreneurship. As the founder of ABLE MADE, a soccer-inspired lifestyle brand, Mckenzie’s mission extends far beyond the realms of couture and commerce.

For Mckenzie, the genesis of ABLE MADE is deeply intertwined with her life’s purpose. “My life purpose is making social change through my work in design and soccer,” she reveals. Following the sudden loss of her husband, Ucal, to cardiac arrest during a soccer game, Mckenzie channeled her grief into action. ABLE MADE became not just a fashion label but a platform to fund the Ucal McKenzie Breakaway Foundation (UMBF), honoring her late husband’s memory and supporting inner-city youth through soccer.

“The impetus for the foundation and ABLE MADE was Ucal’s untimely passing,” Mckenzie shares. “It’s about turning tragedy into transformative impact.”

Suzanne Mckenzie's ABLE MADE: Championing Style

Photo Courtesy: Christopher Schoonover

Yet, Mckenzie’s journey hasn’t been without its challenges. In navigating the fast-paced world of fashion entrepreneurship, she encountered the formidable obstacle of securing adequate capital. “The greatest challenge we’ve had has been matching the working capital to ABLE MADE’s fast-growing momentum,” she acknowledges. Compounded by the stark gender disparities in venture capital funding, Mckenzie faced an uphill battle.

“Women entrepreneurs receive much lower access to capital,” Mckenzie notes, citing statistics that paint a sobering picture of the industry. Undeterred, she remains resolute in her ambition to defy the odds and pave the way for future generations of female founders. “I want to show that we can continue to rise despite the odds,” she asserts, with a gaze fixed firmly on the horizon. “Later, I have the ambition to become part of the access solution as an investor.”

Suzanne Mckenzie's ABLE MADE: Championing Style

Photo Courtesy: Amy Lombard

For aspiring entrepreneurs, Mckenzie offers sage advice gleaned from her own journey. “You have to be passionate about what you do,” she advises, emphasizing the importance of a profound connection to one’s purpose. “That passion and commitment will help give you fuel to get through the business challenges that arise.”

Moreover, Mckenzie advocates for fearlessness in pursuit of one’s goals. “You can’t be afraid to ask for something or introduce yourself to someone who you’d like to partner with,” she insists. “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. Be fearless!”

In an era of heightened eco-consciousness, ABLE MADE distinguishes itself through its commitment to sustainability. Mckenzie elucidates the brand’s approach, emphasizing the primacy of quality and design. “We lead with great quality, fit, fabrics, and attention to design,” she affirms. Only by delivering exceptional products can a brand capture consumers’ attention, she contends, before addressing broader sustainability concerns.

“Our design approach is thoughtful and diligent,” Mckenzie explains. “We’re transparent with customers about our responsibility and sustainability practices, from sourcing materials to manufacturing.” By fostering transparency and accountability, ABLE MADE not only creates stylish garments but cultivates a community of conscientious consumers.

As Suzanne Mckenzie continues to chart new frontiers in the fashion industry, her legacy extends far beyond the confines of the runway. With ABLE MADE as her canvas, she paints a portrait of resilience, purpose, and social change. In honoring her late husband’s memory, Mckenzie exemplifies the transformative power of fashion as a force for good.

In the words of Mckenzie herself, “It’s about turning tragedy into transformative impact.” And with each stitch, each design, ABLE MADE weaves a tapestry of hope, empowerment, and lasting change.


Published By: Aize Perez

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