NM: Share about yourself, family and your role at Red Land Cotton
AB: My name is Anna Brakefield, and I’m the co-founder of Red Land Cotton. I grew up quite literally in the middle of a cotton field and it was one of the best child-hoods you could ask for. I started this business with my father, Mark Yeager, in order to further diversify our family farm and to create a business that uniquely connects the customer with the behind the scenes story of how their cotton linens are made.
TNM: What is the history behind the Red Land Cotton brand?
AB: My Dad approached me with the idea of taking our cotton and making a textile during Christmas of 2015. I had recently moved to Nashville from NYC after getting married to my husband. I was not happy with the work I was doing and it seemed like an appropriate time to make the leap, quit my job, and start something new. (I say this with some sarcasm as this was my first year of marriage and my husband was going through pharmacy residency at the time.) We began by creating a 100% American made supply chain to manufacture our first product: bed sheets. This proved to be very challenging as most wide, good manufacturing left the US back in the 80s and early 90s. We traveled all across South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia meeting with mills and getting their buy in to help us make our first 20k yards of fabric. In October of 2016, we had our first production run of bed sheets ready to be sent out to our customers who had pre-ordered!
TNM: What does it mean to be a southern grown and American made company?
AB: The South has such a rich textile history. For better or for worse, many small towns grew up and survived around textile mills. When those mills left, it left so many towns depressed and down on their luck. Similarly, farmers producing cotton fibers are growing fewer and fewer because the profit just isn’t there AND there are little to no domestic spinners or weavers to consume the cotton the American farmers are producing. Therefore, the American farmer is FORCED to take a lesser price for their cotton just to see it shipped overseas and come back as a high priced end product likely made by less than ethical practices. The process is maddening for people like my family who are literally on the ground level of this cycle. THAT is why it was SO important for us to tell this story of being Southern grown and American made. So many of us have forgotten where our fibers come from, how they are manufactured, and the work that goes into the whole process. While being so transparent about our process does invite questions and criticism, we feel it’s exceptionally important to have these conversations and talk about the manufacturing and process behind our product.
TNM: Share with us about your quality products?
AB: Since our launch of bed sheets in 2016, we’ve grown to offer bath towels, quilts, baby bedding, duvets, shams, and loungewear. This year, we are excited to launch a new line of blankets, bathrobes, and a new stone grey color! Every new product requires a new supply chain and we are proud that every piece of Red Land Cotton is made right HERE in the USA. The quality of our products starts at the ground level. We grow all the fibers ourselves on our family farm. We also gin all of our cotton ourselves. This allows us quality control over the heat and moisture applied to the cotton at the start. We select only our best fibers each year to go into our bedding. We have traveled to each manufacturer and have 100% confidence in their manufacturing and treatment of their employees. That means a lot to us! When a manufacturer takes care of their environment and their employees, they are going to produce a great product because that level of pride is there from the start.
TNM: What is your favorite Red Land Cotton product?
AB: I LOVE our quilts! They almost always sell out within 2-3 weeks of receiving a shipment so sometimes they are hard to get but we’re working on that ;). They are the perfect winter layer when paired with a duvet and they are the perfect cover during the summer. They are 100% Red Land Cotton inside and out! The batting is made from our cotton in Waco, Texas, and it’s quilted in Kansas City, MO. You can wash and dry them in your home laundry and they are just so snuggly! Can you tell I love our quilts?! I worked on these while I was pregnant with my daughter, and we also offer them in baby sizes. She takes one with her to daycare every day and it’s washed every week with hot water… all I can say is… it’s holding up beautifully to toddler abuses, sanitize cycles in the wash and she loves it… which is a WIN WIN WIN!
TNM: What would surprise readers to know about Red Land Cotton?
AB: It might surprise readers to know that while our farm is in Alabama and that’s where cut and sew, shipping, and fulfillment is located, I live in Spring Hill, TN, with my husband and my daughter running the marketing, supply chain management, and website. My husband works at Vanderbilt and we have always supported each other in our career goals. He supported my dreams of moving to NYC and working in advertising while he finished pharmacy school. He also fully supported me when I decided to quit my job and start Red Land Cotton. I supported him through residency and through the less than desirable years working 3rd shift so he could get his foot in the door at Vanderbilt. It’s important to me that both of us feel fulfilled in our careers… so if that means that I work from home and drive to Alabama a lot… that’s what it will mean for us! It’s all about compromise, love, and support and we make it work! :) Plus, we love the Nashville area! :)
**Head over to my Instagram to enter to win a quilt!