Aille Design opens doors to new facility in East Buffalo
Thursday, November 16, 2023
Aille Design opens doors to new facility in East Buffalo
Buffalo, N.Y. (November 16, 2023) — Aille Design (pronounced eye), an emerging designer brand that works alongside the blind and visually impaired community to create fully legible braille beaded clothing, is reaching new levels of success thanks to a recent boost from a recent grant through Inglis’ Pitch Your Niche ideas showcase, funded by Highmark.
Founded in 2020, Aille Design is a Buffalo-based fashion brand whose designs can be used for the functionality of the legible braille, can be dressed up as a unique fashion piece, or can be worn to initiate conversation about blindness, braille, and the importance of accessibility. The braille on each original piece describes the physical garment or includes empowering statements, such as “diversity includes disability.”
Over the past several months, Aille Design has grown its operations, including relocating into a larger space at 298 Northampton Street, Suite 120, Buffalo, NY 14208. To support increasing demand and growth, the organization has also been able to purchase new equipment and hire its first employee with a background in accessible clothing. This is due in part to a $10,000 grant from Highmark that was awarded at the Inglis showcase in May 2023 to braille fashion designer and founder of Aille Design, Alexa Jovanovic, to advance their inclusive business.
The showcase, part of Inglis’ Impact Accelerator program, supported by Highmark, fosters innovation and entrepreneurship in the disability community empowering passionate, driven teams with the support they need to turn their accessibility-centric concepts into thriving businesses.
“Winning Pitch Your Niche was invaluable and perfectly timed,” said Jovanovic. “The new equipment and staff we were able to onboard due to this grant has enabled us not only to meet the demand of our current customers but has also prepared us to take on bigger projects and corporate clients that are bringing attention to Aille Design on a national level. One of my core objectives with Aille Design is to increase disability representation while working with like-minded organizations, such as Highmark.”
Highmark is a Best Place to Work for individuals with disabilities in the Disability Equality Index, a national benchmarking survey administered jointly by the American Association of People with Disabilities and Disability:IN. Highmark is committed to supporting efforts that promote inclusiveness within the organization and in the communities it serves.
Aille Design’s growth in operations was the springboard for additional successes over the previous several months, including completing a large custom braille clothing order for the Amazon Corporate Accessibility team, and being accepted in the UB Cultivator Program, which comes with professional mentorship and potential financial support. Their success continues as Aille Design was even featured as a clue on a recent episode of Celebrity Jeopardy! (Season 2, Episode 3 aired on Oct. 11, 2023).
Founded in 1877, Inglis enables people with disabilities, and those who care for them, to achieve their goals and live life to the fullest. Inglis serves more than 2500 people daily throughout the Commonwealth including a longstanding focus in the Greater Philadelphia Region with independent, community living through accessible, and affordable housing, assistive technology, home modifications, supported employment services, innovative day programming, certified peer support, and more. In addition, Inglis provides long-term, residential living at Inglis House for adults with significant physical disabilities and complex healthcare needs.
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