by Jimmy MacDonald October 29, 2019 8 min read 6 Comments

We’re back at it for our annual State of A50, the 3rd one since 2017. We know you appreciate receiving these updates, and the transparency that we’ve shared in building this business, so let’s dive right in and let you know what’s been happening.

2019 has been both the most exciting year here at Authenticity50 - and the most challenging. We have many reasons to be optimistic - 3 amazing new products will be launching in November and December; a brand refresh has just rolled out that shares our values; and a growing customer base that is more in line with our Seed-to-Stitch® cause than ever before.

But life never moves in a perfectly straight line and we’ve had serious challenges to overcome - many of you know our mill that weaves our fabric closed last year leaving a gaping hole in our manufacturing partner chain (and in our hearts), one that we are still working to fill; a serious shortage of Sheet Sets going into the holidays (about 15% of what we’d like to have) means we’re going to run out of product; and most importantly, our sewing shop needs more volume to sustain their business and we need to grow to keep their lights on.

Community First.

Authenticity50 has always been about community - Goods for your home, made close to home. Earlier this year we traveled to 6 states in the MidWest and Northeast visiting 6 textile mills in 8 days. On the weaving floor of one of the mills an employee sauntered by with a big smile on his face, fit as a fiddle despite gray hairs. The plant manager watched him go by then told me he fought in the Korean War, joined the mill after he got home and worked there for more than 40 years. He eventually retired… for 2 years! Then asked for his job back because he was bored and wanted to get back to work. We love this because it speaks to everything right with what we’re doing. People and community is what it’s all about for us.

In the same way we need farmers because we can’t eat the output from the ‘service economy’; we need domestic manufacturing and textiles because they provide the foundation for a solid middle class. These jobs give people upward mobility - allowing them to learn a trade, improve and move on up. Taking care of themselves, their families and their communities. Like the employee above, these are skilled workers with important knowledge - not numbers on a ledger.

The textile mill at the center of town didn’t just supply the 1,000 jobs to the direct employees - but the teachers at the local schools, friendly librarians, and brave firefighters at the local fire station were all kept going through the people earning money from the mill. For every manufacturing job we create 1.4 jobs in the surrounding economy - ways for people to take care of their families and move forward. We at Authenticity50 are working hard to support this economy and by ‘we’ I mean you. You are the ones who keep us going - and we are very grateful for your support.

You've asked - we're about to deliver!

New products - we’ve been asked hundreds of times when are we getting new products on our shelves. By far and away the most requested product is an amazing Supima cotton towel.. We’re excited to announce the wait is nearly over!

Essential Cotton Towels

We started working on this project in March of this year. With dozens of samples filling our hampers, and numerous exchanges with our manufacturers we’re proud to finally be making our first run! We designed this towel with our own comfort in mind - one we’d love to use everyday. It’s the spa towel you always lusted after but never could find - now you can have them at home 365 days a year. We use Supima cotton in the loops for a super soft hand, high absorbency and two-ply construction for extra durability.

We also oversized our towels significantly - so you’ll always be covered up. The average bath towel is 27” x 52” - ours are 30” x 62”. We’re SO EXCITED with how these have turned out. And just as importantly, they’re continuing our Seed-to-Stitch® philosophy - utilizing cotton grown in California as well as upland cotton, yarn spun in Georgia and South Carolina, with weaving and finishing also done in Georgia and South Carolina. Shipping late November or early December. (We’ll be offering up a Pre-Order discount soon for those who don’t mind waiting a few weeks for inventory to arrive. See more below.)

Comfort Temp Duvet

wool duvet made in usa
duvet corner ties

When most people think of comforters and duvets they think either of down or synthetic fiber fill. Guess what, neither of those materials are great insulators. We went with climabeneficial wool from sheep raised in California as the insulation for our Comfort Temp Duvet. Why wool? Wool is better at temperature regulation - keeping you cool when it’s warm and warm when it’s cool - perfect if your partner sleeps hotter or colder than you. Wool wicks moisture away keeping you dry and comfortable at night - so you don’t wake up sweaty. And it’s naturally antimicrobial, resists mites, is environmentally friendly and will literally last a lifetime.

Our Comfort Temp Duvets are heritage quality products that are produced, by hand, for us at a small mill in Michigan. We utilize a custom, 100% cotton ticking fabric as the shell for breathability. The wool batting is produced by a machine still working from the 1920’s. And the laying up of the comforter is done by hand, along with hand knotting to keep the wool in place. And we have corner ties too - so you can tie it into your duvet cover and keep everything where it should be. Truly a year-round duvet that will probably never leave your bed after you’ve put it on the first time. Shipping late November or early December. (We’ll offer a Pre-Order discount in the coming weeks, read more below.)

Custom Comfort Pillows

shredded memory foam pillow
cool sleeping pillow

We started our quest to create the perfect pillow a year ago. Finding a great pillow is kind of like finding the holy grail - ever elusive. Something that should be easy is complicated - am I a back or side sleeper; should I get down or synthetic; will it be flat in 6 months. We worked with a manufacturer in California to develop our Custom Comfort Pillows - and we love them! They have adjustable filling so you can remove or add filling to get the perfect fill level for YOU. Now you can have your pillow extra fluffy and your partner can take out the fill for the flat feel they love. And the outer cover is washable so you can refresh it when you want. A great pillow is truly a game changer and you can experiment with the filling so you never wake up with a sore neck again. Shipping late November or early December. (Read about our pre-order below.)

The Challenges.
Weaving fine, wide fabric in the States.

Many of you know that our weaving mill closed it’s doors last year. We owe a massive debt of gratitude to Alice Mills - they wove our Supima cotton fabric which allowed us to launch our business. Unfortunately market forces acted against them and they had to close their plant which was heart-breaking as it went against exactly what we were trying to prevent. They did us a final solid by weaving several tens of thousands of yards of fabric that we purchased before they closed - enough to keep us going for about a year. And now that year is up and here’s where we’re at.

We’ve been working with an amazing mill on getting our Supima cotton fabric woven. Unlike most companies they’re INVESTING in their domestic business and people. We’re really excited for what the future holds. That said, getting fabric woven has proven to take longer than expected. Our custom specs are unique and there’s a learning curve to get it up to speed. We even brought in the old plant manager at Alice Manufacturing to gain his insights. You’ve probably noticed we’re sold out of nearly all our sheeting products on our website. We’re going into the holidays with almost no sheeting inventory and it will take time to replenish that inventory. So if you’re interested in our inventory on Black Friday or the Holidays there’s more on that below.

Sewing.

We’ve been lucky to have a small team of dedicated operators working hard to cut and sew our sheeting sets. They’re currently being hit by a perfect storm of several of their clients closing down and our lack of fabric which is putting a strain on their business. It’s extremely frustrating and makes us think of the famous Mike Tyson quote, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” We’re stuck between a rock and a hard place with new fabric right around the corner - we just hope that corner is close enough. And, we need to grow significantly to sustain their cut and sew business as other clients have closed down. So as we get new product in stock you will, literally, be helping to keep them going.

Pre-Orders, Black Friday and Holiday sales.

Here’s what we will be doing. We WILL be offering Pre-Orders for the new products we listed above. As many of you know pre-orders are the largest discount we EVER offer. They are better than any Black Friday deal that we offer because you’re helping us put good people to work and entrusting us with your money on a product that’s not yet on our shelves. We appreciate that and when you take care of us, we take care of you. So there will be Pre-Order deals in November and we hope you grab them.

Black Friday - What good is a sale if you have little inventory? We should have our new products in stock… BUT… we may sell out during the pre-orders; or the full shipments may not reach our warehouse leaving our shelves empty after the pre-orders are fulfilled. Suffice it to say we’ll be playing this by ear. If you want a set of sheets - we recommend you purchase now if they’re in stock. If you want a great deal this holiday season - get in on the Pre-Orders - they’re the best deal we offer.

YOU keep us going.

We’re eternally grateful for your support! We provide the vessel but you are the ones who keep the American-made dream alive for so many. You share us with your friends, come back for second, third, fourth purchases, and take the time and effort to find our locally made goods. Our manufacturing partners support their communities and YOU support our community of people who purchase products based on quality, price, and most importantly, values.

We’re not backed by venture capital and are totally, 100% bootstrapped. So you won’t see our ads on TV or in Times Square - yet we’re able to do the impossible and run a profitable business because of your efforts. And we don’t say it enough - THANK YOU for your support. Without you, we wouldn’t be able to do any of this - Goods for your home, Made close to home.

Sincerely,

Jimmy, Steph, and Team A50

"If you want to go fast, go alone - if you want to go far, go together."


6 Responses

Authenticity50
Authenticity50

October 30, 2019

Hi Adam, great to hear from you and thank you for the support! We appreciate it very much!
John, Jill, Robin, Nice to e-meet you and we appreciate your words of encouragement as well. It’s really people like you who made Authenticity50 special – there’s no ‘us’ without ‘you’.
Stu, I’m sorry to hear about your frustration with the Navy sheets. We’ve had a small number of complaints on the Navy and have dealt with them as fairly as possible – in all cases a complete refund or replacement in the same or different color. This is the nature of pushing the envelope and doing something that no one’s doing – making quality bedding products in America isn’t easy. But that’s not your problem – that’s our problem. And ultimately we work for you all – you’re our bosses and our most important stakeholders. We do our best to be communicative and transparent but clearly we can do better. And we will. And let’s be frank, how many other companies can you leave a negative comment on their blog and get a response from one of the Founders. :) Thank you for your support thus far and we hope you’ll try out the new products – they are great.

Stu Seader
Stu Seader

October 30, 2019

We were happily introduced to your line of sheets last year, purchasing split king sets in two different colors—gray and light blue. The fit and feel was so great that we eagerly purchased another set in dark blue when those came out. Our experience was disappointing. The new sheets were much too small—much smaller than the other two sets, also split king. The fitted X-twins had to be stretched tightly to fit the mattresses, and the flat king was much too small. (It had to be turned sideways to be able to span the bed.) We contacted you, and you kindly sent us out replacements. Unfortunately the replacements were the same—also too small. Ultimately, we donated both sets to charity. Although you were pleasant and responsive, I’m sure we were not the only ones to experience the severe difference in size of the dark blue linens, and was disappointed that there was no explanation forthcoming. This experience would certainly restrict our desire to try out any of your products in the future.

John Ciambrano
John Ciambrano

October 29, 2019

I am very pleased with what I’ve purchased already from Authenticity50. Steph and Jimmy, very excited about an expanded product line. Keep up the good work! We look forward to it!

Jill Mueller
Jill Mueller

October 29, 2019

I am so happy you are still growing and riding the waves of what life brings you. I have some of your sheets and totally love them. My body breathes in them. Yeah for the towels! I’m in! And pillows too. I know you will succeed in A50!

Robin Neuman
Robin Neuman

October 29, 2019

You are strong! You can do this!
I’m very excited about pillows and duvets.
I’m already sold on towels !
Cannot wait to preorder.

Adam Rubin
Adam Rubin

October 29, 2019

Hi Jimmy and Steph,

Thank you for sharing this update. I’m sorry that you and your colleagues have had such a rough year but am impressed with your dedication to your community and your customers. Since I first met the two of you many years ago, I’ve always appreciated your energy, kindness, and sense of commitment to the people around you.

Good luck with the challenges ahead. I’m confident that you and A50 will survive and continue to succeed.

Adam

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