Red Land Cotton: A Success Story
It all started on Instagram.
In 2015, Mark Yeager posted a video of his cotton gin that he had built in 1994, and he saw comments requesting sheets made from his cotton. This sparked an idea. A big one.
Between his agricultural prowess and his daughter’s marketing skills, the two could create cotton sheets: authentic, pure and of superiority quality.
Four months later he took a leap of faith alongside his daughter Anna Brakefield, who quit her job and joined her father in an exciting adventure: Red Land Cotton. They were beyond excited, but equally nervous for this new adventure. Mark’s passion was farming, but he had the mind of a business owner. At the time, Anna worked in advertising and had no experience in the textile industry.
“Both my dad and I knew this wasn't a project we could do part time,” says Anna. “If we decided to do this, it would be a large financial investment, time commitment and leap of faith!”
But their passion overpowered their fears, and the next stop was Cotton Incorporated's headquarters in Cary, North Carolina, where they traveled to and from for months, analyzing the quality of their product, selecting yarns, weaving samples, and learning about how to put together a supply chain. The team at Cotton shared a number of resources that gave Anna and Mark the reassurance they needed to know they could do this, and would ultimately help them transform their inspiration into the purest, most decadent sheets. It was an amazing and invigorating time for the two, and it was comforting to know Cotton was dedicated to helping make their dreams come true.
“I know I left with my head hurting. It was so much information so quickly!” Anna remarks, remembering when she and her father headed back to the Nashville airport after their first visit. “We had a couple of drinks and did some figuring on cocktail napkins. . .We would commit to the project of launching our own textile line made completely from our cotton and manufactured exclusively in the United States.”
They were inspired to create a product reminiscent of home, the kind of bedding that allowed for good airflow on a hot southern night, yet substantial enough to keep warm during the winter. Mark and Anna were both passionate about creating cotton sheets that were purely Alabama-grown and American-made, while remaining visually unique from other products.
“We needed to be able to say ‘This is 100% cotton grown on our land by our hands’,” explain Mark and Anna. “Without that, we weren’t different from anyone else.”
More than anything, they wanted to create a pure and authentic product.
“I knew people would be interested in seeing flecks of leaf and knowing this was as close to the cotton plant as they could get in a usable textile,” Anna explains.
Once the vision was solidified, the duo was excited to roll up their sleeves and revitalize the cotton industry. She and her father went to great lengths to ensure every thread was accounted for in America. From growing the cotton in Alabama, to securing a weaver in South Carolina, hiring a finisher in Georgia, searching for a sewer in New Jersey, they embarked on a journey to deliver quality cotton sheets that are all too rare today.
“There is great work and great reward in building something from the ground up and I wouldn't trade this past year for the world.”
We couldn’t agree more, Anna.