Alabama People – Anna Brakefield
In 2012, Anna Yeager Brakefield took her graphic design degree from Auburn University and headed off to New York to work with high-end clients in the advertising industry. A couple years later, she returned to the South, moving to Nashville to continue her career path.
But in 2016, she brought her skills and experience back home to Lawrence County, Ala., and partnered with her dad, longtime cotton farmer and innovator Mark Yeager, to create Red Land Cotton, a farm-to-home textile company. RLC creates heirloom inspired bedding, bath and loungewear made from cotton grown on their family farm. The company’s luxury linens are made in the U.S. and made exclusively with cotton sourced directly from the family’s north Alabama farm.
The company made headlines after the COVID-19 pandemic, when it partnered with other Alabama businesses to create masks for communities as far away as Alaska and Hawaii. The effort was never for profit, Anna says, but was just one small way they could help. Now, she’s eager to talk about what’s next for the Moulton-based company. – Allison Law
From field to fabric
Talk about RLC’s new collection.
This fall, we will be launching a new line of blankets. It’s a completely new production line that we’ve put together. The blankets are woven in Maine; they’re 100 percent cotton from our farm. The yarn is being spun in North Carolina, then it’s all going to Maine where they’re finishing, cutting and sewing it. Our blankets will range from baby size to king size for the bed, in white and natural. I hope they’ll launch around September. We’re also going to be launching a bathrobe, made from the same terry cloth as our towel.
We started 2020 with some good vision about these new things that we wanted to bring to market. A lot of that was put on hold earlier this year, but fortunately factories have gotten back to work, and we’re really hopeful we can get these new products out in time for Christmas.
And you’re also working on a new facility in Moulton.
We’re super excited. Over the past two years, we’ve really grown, which has been a huge blessing. We’ve outgrown our little storefront/fulfillment facility in downtown Moulton. We’re building a massive distribution facility as well as a cut and sew facility right next to our cotton gin in Moulton.
We’re hopeful we’ll get in there by September, before that Christmas rush, and this will allow us to hire more people. Maybe 30-35 people to work in the cut and sew or in our distribution facility.
I know you started this venture with your dad – is he still involved in the business?
Oh, yes. His focus is still primarily on the farm. When we’re starting up a new supply chain, he is very, very involved in that. He’s extremely involved in this new building and how that is structurally going to look, how it’s going to function. He’s not as much into the day-to-day weeds as I am. He’s quite literally in the weeds, on the farm, when it comes to the day-to-day. We speak at least 10 times a day on the phone. It’s a good partnership. Even though sometimes working with family can definitely be challenging, overall it’s a good thing.
Both of my younger brothers, they farm with my dad. My sister-in-law works with me. She’s my go-to person as far as managing inventory at the store or at the distribution facility, making sure orders get out the door. It’s a big family involved venture.
And I’ve read that Red Land takes its name from the north Alabama soil?
Yes, ma’am. It has no political affiliation whatsoever! My dad named his farm Red Land Farms I think in 1983. That was really important to him that we named this business to be very close to the farm in that regard. Not everything is political!
Talk about your company’s commitment to manufacturing in the U.S.
That is essential to who we feel like we are. Hopefully it will never come to this, but I can’t see us going outside of the U.S. to source any of our products. If there is a way to make it here, we’re going to make it here.