Waltrip Invests in Authentically American
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — (Nashville Post) — Local NASCAR legend and television broadcaster Darrell Waltrip has become an investor in Nashville-based apparel startup Authentically American.
Created in July 2017 by U.S. Army veteran Dean Wegner, Authentically American bills itself as a vendor of consumer and organization-branded apparel made exclusively in the United States. In a release, Waltrip cited the company’s emphasis on creating and preserving American jobs for his choice to invest.
“After hearing Dean’s passion for supporting U.S. workers by selling top quality merchandise that is made in America — and nowhere else — I was hooked,” Waltrip said. “The product and story are so compelling that I decided to invest in Authentically American.” The dollar amount of Waltrip’s investment has not been disclosed.
Waltrip joins other notable equity-holders such as Franklin American Mortgage Company CEO Dan Crockett, Tennessee State Senator Mark Green and David Sadler, senior vice president of international communication company Geodis’ Nashville branch.
Authentically American — which reportedly raised more than $600,000 from investors during a two-month span last year — is not Wegner’s first foray into the clothing world. In 2012, Wegner acquired Smithville-based military uniform manufacturer Omega Apparel with plans to expand its reach to consumer markets. Over the next several years, however, the company saw slumping military contracts and Wegner departed in 2016.
Since 2015, he also has been an investor and board member of Franklin-based wellness company Ignite Health Group. Before launching his business career, Wegner served seven years of active duty as an Army Ranger and helicopter pilot. Now, he notes that 10 percent of Authentically American’s revenue is donated to veteran-focused charities.
“We are honored that Darrell Waltrip, who embodies Authentically American’s spirit and values, has joined our team of investors,” Wegner said in the release.