Photo by Erik Voss
Elena Carné founder of Tepuy Active Wear LLC.
Elena Carné is the owner and the heart of Tepuy Activewear, a sportswear brand handcrafting leggings, tank tops, and other sportswear in Americus GA. She is an energetic and vibrant presence much like the clothing she passionately designs. Tepuy Activewear’s roots can be traced back to mid-nineties when Elena, at the age of 15 growing up in a beach town started designing her own bathing suites in her bedroom using her neighbor’s sewing machine. As she began wearing her own creations, her friend’s requests began, then the friends of her friends. Soon she was getting orders from people unrelated to her, and a couple of years later she had become known in her beach town for her bathing suit designs. After high school, she had amassed a decent clientele, so she decided to open a small sewing shop to continue production and sell them in boutiques.
At 21 she had an established business, but the political atmosphere of her country made her leave her home and her business, and it took her 12 years to get back to her passion and designs. Relocated to Americus, Ga, a town about 150 miles south of Atlanta and with the support of her local chamber she formally stablished Tepuy Activewear in 2015.
It was her local chamber that first connected her with ACE Women’s Business Center. On that first meeting, she was encouraged to participate at the Atlanta Apparel Market, the largest apparel show in town. It took her five months to get ready for that show, where she won a recognition as voted Favorite Emerging Designer 2016. She also attended a WBC workshop for Amazon buyers at the Atlanta SBA location, where she first learned about opportunities to sell for private label, which is selling her manufacturing goods under the label of another brand. She has a prospect with different brands to do private labeling for them, one manufacturing leggings, and the other one manufacturing underwear.
Tepuy is growing organically, her business has gone from one part-time employee working along Elena, to two full-time plus one part-time employee, extra helpers for when she has a special project like the Atlanta Apparel Market. She also employs an intern from her local university per needed in a way to give back to her community and teach her passion.
About her experience with the help ACE Women’s Business Center she says “The WBC provides all essential tools to make a business successful, and alerts us of the opportunities, but it’s up to the business owners to apply them and move forward with those tools. I will always be grateful to the WBC, I feel I can call them whenever I need help or to share an accomplishment”