The Story | About Us
I founded Southland Cotton while I was in college in 2013. I felt that a lot of "southern" brands pushed the look to the extreme, and I wanted something a little more down to earth.
Modest simplicity—classic feel, subtle style, and quality—is what I look for in clothing, and Southland Cotton strives to reflect that. We're not about being flashy or overstated, we're about looking good and producing a stand-up product without coming across too loudly.
Southland Cotton is still a small company, but we're moving forward. A huge part of our future success is customer satisfaction. Feel free to contact us with any issues or questions you may have about an order, or with us in general. For order issues, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and for non-fulfillment inquires email email@example.com. We're not perfect, but we'll do everything we can to make sure you're happy.
More of the StoryI had the idea for Southland Cotton over Christmas break in 2013 somewhere around three days before I had to move back across Tennessee to begin the Spring semester at The University of Tennessee. Over those next three days, I spent every waking moment working on designs for t-shirts and stickers, building a website, and lining up suppliers for wholesale materials. Originally planned as just a design for a one-off t-shirt, I liked one doodle I did so much that I decided to make it the logo, and thus the Southland Cotton tree logo was born.
A few years before Southland Cotton, I had built some screenprinting equipment and opened up a screenprinting shop out of my parents' garage. I hadn't screenprinted for years though when I came up for the idea of Southland Cotton, but my equipment was still sitting in the garage. I didn't have a chance to make any shirts before I had to go back to school after Christmas Break 2013, but first chance I got I hitched a ride back across state back to Memphis with a friend to print a very small first batch. I took that handful back to school and convinced friends there to buy them from me. I used the proceeds from that run to pay for the first semi-large run of shirts a few weekends later. If you ordered anything before 2015, chances are I made it in my parents' garage.
When everything started, I was shipping orders out of a fraternity house. Fraternity houses aren't known for their spacious bedrooms. I had boxes of inventory packed up with no place to put them other than directly in front of the door... so much so that it honestly wouldn't open up without a rousing push on the tower of boxes (shout out to my roommate for putting up with all that). I'd pack individual orders into shipping containers hunched over in the bottom bunk of our bunk bed. Everything was very cramped.
In addition to screenprinted shirts, I put out some sewn items. Popular in the beginning were "pocket shirts" as I called them—t-shirts with a pocket sewn on of a different fabric. Eventually, I phased these out to make way for new styles of screenprinted shirts, but they were a mainstay in the beginning.
Over time, stuff evolved. My marketing strategy though has remained constant; it has always been an essentially free model. I basically just interact with as many people on social media from Southland Cotton's accounts as I can and people are drawn in that way. Anyways, naturally, as stuff picked up, less and less of the business was done in the both the literal and proverbial garage. I still run some new stuff through that old screenprinting equipment I made in high school to this day though, primarily to see how designs actually look in the real world before they're made on a larger scale.
How everything works behind the scenes at Southland Cotton today is much less interesting and like uncharted territory than it was in the beginning, so I won't bore you with it. Hopefully there's more of the story to come. Stay tuned.