4 years ago, Dean Wegner started Authentically American from an idea on a blank sheet of paper. Since that time, he has grown his apparel brand to set sights on some lofty sales goals: to hit 1 billion in sales. With passion and experience, Dean has the forward-looking vision to propel toward that goal.
God, family, and country are at the top of Dean’s list of things that matter most. Authentically American is a Veteran-owned, American-made premium clothing brand that doesn’t make exceptions to their mission.
If you know anything about manufacturing and the fashion industry, you’ll know that it is incredibly challenging to find distributors and vendors in the US. When Dean graduated from WestPoint in 1993, over 50% of the apparel in the US was made in the US – today only about 3% of clothing is made in the USA. With the tagline is “Where is Yours Made?”, the brand is intentionally evocative and aims to raise the standard for supporting products designed and made in America. Dean’s first exposure in the apparel industry was the first business he bought in 2012. Apparel for Authentically American is produced across 4 different US states. Their inventory offerings include items for individual consumers as well as corporate and organizational clients. They specialize in uniform items made in the USA.
How did the pandemic affect your business?
Dean states that their first “uh-oh” moment was wondering if their manufacturers would be able to produce. Many of them were considered essential and continued to produce. One issue was in the widespread cancellation of trade shows. This year they plan to double their business and continue to grow moving forward over the next 5 years.
Authentically American advertises to 2 target audiences: individual consumers and larger clients like corporations. Dean is passionate about giving back, donating 10% of his company’s profits to veteran and first responder charities. When partnering with a charity, they provide services and items at cost, without any up charge. This not only raises brand awareness and visibility, but is doing great good in the US.
Their marketing strategy has seen success in using Klaviyo for email marketing, and Hubspot to head marketing efforts. Following up after conferences with email has proven a great way to expand their customer contact pool. Dean has found that Klaviyo has more capabilities than other email platforms. He also identifies Shopify as central to their efforts; leveraging technology to become a billion-dollar brand is the larger goal. Klaviyo integrates great with Shopify and these tools have scaled well with the business as Dean’s company has grown.
We don’t have to be all things to all people. Dean points out that their company mission doesn’t appeal to everyone, and it doesn’t have to. Increasing their focus and targeted advertising has resulted in greater success. Your passion is contagious, so those who share that passion are who you appeal to.
Dean points out that every single day, you can vote with your wallet. Purchasing things that align with your values matters.
Dean’s Top Advice:
- When you carry your passion, belief and story out there across social media, you can accomplish so much.
- Don’t be all things to all people. Understand your target audience and pursue that audience with a laser-like focus.
Visit the Authentically American website to shop American made products and learn more about Dean’s mission. *Discount Code: FOUNDER = 25% off total purchase