We sat down with Dean Wegner, Founder & CEO of Authentically American a growing iconic American brand that is truly American made. His hopes for his organization is to set the standard for all high-quality ‘Made in the USA’ merchandise. See how they are able to make quality clothing while also giving back in our latest Member Spotligt!
Tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? How long have you lived in the area?
After graduating from West Point, I served our nation as an officer, helicopter pilot, and US Army Ranger. I also earned an MBA in Finance from Cal State. My seven-year career in the military taught me a lot: character, integrity, commitment and patriotism. These are values I’ve carried with me and are interwoven into the culture of Authentically American.
After completing my 7-year commitment with the Army, I started my business career with former big five firm KPMG Consulting as a project manager. For more than a decade, I worked in the consumer-packaged goods (CPG) industry at Procter & Gamble and Mars, Inc. in business development, sales, marketing, and strategy. I also served for five years as the president and CEO/Owner of Omega Apparel, a leading supplier of dress uniforms for the US military, which gave me valuable hands-on experience prior to launching Authentically American. My family and I have lived in Williamson Country for 8-years.
What is Authentically American? Where did the idea come from and why did you decide to get into this business?
When I was growing up, ~75% of apparel worn in America was made in America. Today, it is tragically less than 3%. I started Authentically American to help reverse that trend by building an iconic American brand that is truly American made and brings manufacturing jobs back to the USA. When people ask, “What is Authentically American?” I explain we are a brand that celebrates patriotism, believes in the American worker, and honors our American heroes by donating 10% of our topline revenue to charities that support veterans, first responders, and their families. That is the essence of who we are and what we do. Video is such a powerful platform to tell a story, watch our VIDEO to learn more.
Tell us about the events that led up to where your company is now.
Founded in 2017, Authentically American served more than 100 customers in its first year, ranging from Fortune 500 companies and schools, to nonprofits and small but patriotic businesses. The common thread with our customers is their support for “Made in USA” merchandise and American manufacturing. In July, TV broadcaster and NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip joined our investment team and in September, Darrell and I were invited to tell the Authentically American story on Fox & Friends (SEGMENT). We received a tremendous response to the Fox & Friends interview, which greatly increased awareness of our brand among a national audience and has given us strong momentum going into our second year.
What is unique about your business (what sets you apart from the rest)?
Everything we do at Authentically American is “Made in USA,” NO exceptions. We will continue to reinforce this key point of differentiation and appeal to companies, schools and organizations that celebrate patriotism, believe in the American worker and want to give back to our American heroes. We aim to set the standard for “Made in USA” merchandise and offer a positive way for people to show their patriotism and support for our workers and our American heroes.
Not only do we deliver consistent, high-quality products at competitive prices, we also stay current with fashion, color, and design trends. Each item is fully guaranteed and features Authentically American’s vintage US flag logo. We pride ourselves on superior customer service through turnkey programs and timely delivery of merchandise.
The market potential is huge: Each year organizations spend $8 billion on branded apparel. Since US job creation is our mission, we’re focused on partnering with companies that want to encourage American workers by purchasing high quality, organizationally branded merchandise which is exclusively made in America. Of course, we’re also pleased to sell merchandise to individuals at our ONLINE STORE.
Why did you choose Williamson County to open your business?
Williamson County is one of the best places in the country to do business. It has a very business-friendly environment with a diversified workforce and robust economy. The country is the perfect place to launch a startup company.
In your own words, why is it great to do business in Williamson County, TN? How has being a part of the overall business community in Williamson County helped you?
Williamson County is home to a thriving business community and this did not happen by accident. Civic and business leaders over the years have made intentional decisions to ensure we are business friendly community. Many of my early customers at Authentically American are Williamson County based businesses.
Why did you choose to become a Williamson, Inc. Member?
I believe in “giving back” and supporting the community in which you live and work. I am proud to call Williamson county home and I want to be an active member of the business community.
Given your business expertise and the nature of what you do, what advice (general or specific) can you offer to the readers?
Find your passion, pursue what you love to do! When you are pursuing your passion and doing what you love, it won’t feel like work and you will be successful!
How can readers take advantage of your products and services?
Organizationally branded merchandise for businesses, schools, nonprofits, sports teams and associations, political campaigns, etc., comprises the largest part of Authentically American’s sales. For more details call (800) 372-5119 or visit our website to GET STARTED. Individuals also can make purchases of American-branded apparel at our ONLINE STORE.
Business contact information (phone, address, website, email, etc.):
5543 Edmondson Pike, #34
Nashville, TN 37211
M: (615) 499-1510