An Entrepreneur's Passion for Textiles
Anthony "Tony" McBryan '82
Anthony “Tony” McBryan ’82 is a textile engineer and CEO and co-founder of Custom Made Comfort L.L.C., a niche company specializing in knit cotton blankets proudly made in the United States. McBryan’s interest for textiles began in 1979. He wanted to learn about textiles and realized Philadelphia University was the best place to gain the knowledge he desired. McBryan had a great interest in learning how materials developed into products.
At PhilaU, McBryan was able to see the process of how textiles were made in the labs. He saw how a fiber was turned into a yarn, and the yarn into a fabric, and finally a fabric into a product. PhilaU was the right place for McBryan because textiles was, and continues to be, such a specialized field of study. “With the in-depth knowledge that I gained at Philadelphia University, I knew that I would be employed in some aspect of textiles and I would be employed quickly upon graduation,” noted McBryan.
In 2008, McBryan and his wife of 30 years, Janis, started Custom Made Comfort. The company knits or prints their client’s logo onto a cotton blanket designed by the couple. Recently, Custom Made Comfort expanded their product to include pillows, scarves and totes. McBryan’s market has grown from private golf clubs to academic institutions, including his alma mater, PhilaU, corporations and most recently, retail. It has been a great time for McBryan as he acquired new clients and continues to do business with existing customers. He enjoys interacting with customers, manufacturers and suppliers to create designs unique to his client base. However, like many business owners, McBryan has faced challenges in expanding the market share while maintaining quality and customer service.
This past spring, McBryan had the opportunity to be a part of the U.S. Open, which returned to Merion, McBryan’s neighborhood. He felt like history was repeating itself as he attended the 1981 Open at Merion. In 2009, the U.S. Open’s pro shop operators took McBryan’s sales pitch and allowed him to incorporate the club’s logo on the blankets designed by Custom Made Comfort. Merion was the first client of Custom Made Comfort. The blankets with the U.S. Open logo at Merion are available on the U.S. Golf Association's website. McBryan had the opportunity to volunteer for the 2013 Open and was featured in a story in the Philadelphia Inquirer, giving Custom Made Comfort great exposure.
McBryan is fully emerged in the field and is most excited about the advanced technologies that help to create new products. What he finds most challenging is changing the mind set of many accounts that currently purchase overseas, where larger quantities are required.
McBryan admits that being an entrepreneur involves many hours, while also allowing for some flexibility. He and his wife do extensive traveling in efforts to expand their client base. In their travels, they visit many great cities, wonderful resort areas and a few nice hotels and restaurants along the way. On these trips, they visit family and friends as they pick up new clients in the area. It’s a win-win situation.
McBryan’s advice to others is not to look back. “Always look ahead with enthusiasm and passion! There is always an opportunity that will present itself, if you can think outside of what is expected.”