Breathing New Life in to Flannel Shirts
Dominic creates the first flannel for Cindy. Sell 25 flannels to City Farmhouse.
Begin selling nationally
Launch of e-commerce website
Featured on Tennessee Crossroads
Ship more than 10,000 Franklin Flannels a year
Release of Franklin Flannels Linen Spray
Franklin Flannels is a family-owned business creating upcycled vintage shirts that bring happiness and comfort. Dominic Laverty has the gift of innovation, wife Cindy Laverty manages the business, and their daughter keeps them up with the latest fashion trends.
The Lavertys had recently moved to Franklin from California, without knowing anyone in the area, in search for new beginnings. The business idea sprouted unexpectedly when they saw a man wearing an interesting flannel, reportedly altered by his wife, at Franklin’s Mellow Mushroom. Dominic, an artist and hairstylist, promised Cindy that he could make her a similar flannel. And two days later, she was sporting a one-of-a-kind flannel that caught the eye of the owner of City Farmhouse at the Franklin Factory. She requested Dominic to make 25 shirts, and that’s where Franklin Flannels made their first sales. In less than a year, their business grew nationwide only from word of mouth.
Cindy stresses the importance of sustainability. It doesn’t matter if the flannel had lost a button, the abandoned flannel will turn into an artistic piece full of character. Whenever they get a shipment of 1,000 vintage flannels sent from their wholesaler, Dominic and Cindy sort through the boxes and wonder where the flannels have been and what time period they came from. They ask, “Who wore this? Did it keep someone warm at night or sit around a campfire?” Once Dominic transforms the flannels, they have a new purpose full of exciting opportunities.
Dominic “reads” or studies every flannel to determine what it is meant to look like.
“He looks at a red shirt and says he can pull out orange, pink and coral colors and has all different formulas to do that,” Cindy says.
It’s not simply a bucket of bleach that gives the faded effect. It could take him 30 minutes or four days to complete this country staple. To stand out even more, they’ll embellish some of the flannels with suede pockets or rhinestones.
Cindy is trying to erase the idea that flannels are strictly for fall and winter. They sell lightweight flannels in pastel and summer colors that you can pair with denim shorts, cowboy boots at a concert or throw over your bathing suit.
Once the shirt is designed, it goes through a special softening process that gives it its famous scent. They’re looking forward to attending the Vintage Market Days in Charleston in September.
Franklin gave Cindy and Dominic Laverty a second chance at happiness and success. Now a portion of their earnings goes to charities that give others second chances, such as Snooty Giggles, Second Harvest Food Bank and Hope for Domestic Violence.
“We’re in the happiness business,” Cindy says.