Reese Witherspoon Talks About Her Southern Lifestyle Site Draper James
Reese Witherspoon may dazzle the general populace–People Magazine recently named her the Best Dressed Person of 2015–but venture investors weren’t star-struck when the actress first pitched them on her idea for Southern-lifestyle startup Draper James.
In fact, Forerunner Ventures founder Kirsten Green–an investor in Bonobos Inc., Birchbox Inc. and Dollar Shave Club Inc.–said she initially put Ms. Witherspoon’s celebrity status in the “con category.”
“Founding a company is the hardest thing you can possibly do. It takes an enormous amount of sheer will, and with celebrities who have so many things they could spend their time doing, you question whether you can count on them being there,” Ms. Green said.
After a series of meetings with the star of “Walk the Line” and the “Legally Blonde” movies and questioning a handful of Hollywood executives who knew her well, Ms. Green said she was convinced Ms. Witherspoon would be deeply involved for the duration. Ms. Green quickly decided to lead a $10 million round to bankroll the startup’s expansion.
The infusion comes a few months after Draper James launched its e-commerce site and marks the latest in a series of celebrity led consumer Internet startups to capture venture cash and confidence.
The Wall Street Journal spoke with the actress-turned-startup founder about her responsibilities as creative director and what it means to dress Southern. The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What prompted you to launch Draper James?
About three years ago when I was traveling between Atlanta and Nashville, I started noticing how much was happening culturally in the South with museums, music venues and restaurants. At that same time I was approached by two Northeast brands to represent them. I don’t know the Hamptons, but I do know the South and I realized there was a white space to tell that story.
October 9, 2015 • Category: Charity, Draper James •
Comments Off on Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James partnering with local nonprofit
Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James partnering with local nonprofit
Reese Witherspoon’s new lifestyle company, Draper James, is partnering with YWCA of Nashville & Middle Tennessee’s Girls Inc. program to bring economic literacy to at-risk Nashville girls, according to a news release.
The partnership will kick off Oct. 27 with a free conference — Girls Just Wanna Have Funds — for teenage girls and their mothers/mentors. Witherspoon will appear at the event, as well as Mayor Megan Barry and recording artist CeCe Winans.
As part of the partnership, Draper James will offer an internship program at its Nashville store on 12th Avenue South.
“As the largest provider of domestic violence services in Tennessee, we see too often how financial dependence and insecurity can trap women, preventing them from being safe and reaching their full potential,” YWCA CEO Patricia Glaser Shea said in the news release. “Teaching and reaching girls at an early age that they are responsible for their own finances is the best form of prevention. Financial independence will allow our girls to follow their dreams and become the best she can be.”
Space for the conference is limited, and priority is given for girls enrolled in the Girls Inc. program. More information can be found here.
September 10, 2015 • Category: Draper James •
Comments Off on Reese Witherspoon to open 12South store
Reese Witherspoon to open 12South store
It’s official: Actress turned entrepreneur Reese Witherspoon is opening the first brick-and-mortar store for her new lifestyle brand Draper James in Nashville’s 12South neighborhood.
The store will be located on the first floor of the under construction Becker’s Corner development on 12th Avenue South between Summer Classics and 12 South Dental Studio, the building’s developers confirmed Thursday.
The Nashville location will be the first Draper James store in the country, which launched online in May.
Witherspoon’s brand is meant to honor her grandparents, Dorothea Draper and William James Witherspoon, and also to put the spotlight on Southern style. It pays homage to her Music City upbringing with products such as the “Vanderbilt tote,” the “Nashville shirt” and the “Belle Meade dress.”
“I created Draper James to honor my past and allow others to embrace the beauty, style and excitement that embodies what is happening in the South today,” Witherspoon said in a statement in May.
According to the Draper James website, the Nashville store is aiming for a fall opening.
The Becker’s Corner development includes 4,500 square feet of retail space and four apartments. The developer is The Shop Trust, a partnership between Andy Howell of C.A. Howell and Company and his brothers.
Just last month, Reese and the Draper James team took a field trip down to Blue Ridge to meet the talented craftspeople who make each and every pair of our jeans. We watched the workers cut, stitch, and sew (42 steps in all!) and left incredibly impressed by their artistry and dedication. We are proud that these workers are continuing the rich history of Southern denim making and even prouder to say that they are making jeans for Draper James!
Scans from Reese’s recent cover for In Style US have now been added to our Gallery. In the magazine she discusses her Southern roots, fame, female influences and role models, Draper James, and her recent film roles.
Reese Witherspoon Calls ‘Cruel Intentions’ Reunion ‘So Much Fun’
Reese Witherspoon joined “Extra” at this weekend’s Produced By Conference in Los Angeles, where she talked about how much fun she had reuniting with her “Cruel Intentions” co-stars Sarah Michelle Gellar and Selma Blair.
They were all at Rockwell Table & Stage’s “The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Cruel Intentions” in Los Angeles last week. Reese said, “Sarah, Selma and I, we knew all the lines.”
A photo posted by Reese Witherspoon (@reesewitherspoon) on
The trio documented their girls’ night on social media, with Sarah and Selma even reenacting their famous onscreen kiss in a pic that went viral. Reese revealed she didn’t realize what Sarah and Selma were doing. “I didn’t even know they were doing it. They’re cute, they’re such nice girls, and we had so much fun sort of reliving the old days.”
Reese has starred in countless movies since the 1999 release of “Cruel Intentions,” and recently took on the role of producer with such films as “Gone Girl” and “Wild.”
Up next for the Oscar winner is working with producing partner Bruna Papandrea on the live-action film “Tink,” based on the beloved Disney character, Tinkerbell.
“We’re excited,” Reese said about the film that she will also star in as the title character. “It’s our biggest family film we’ve thought up.”
Untitled TV Project with Jennifer Aniston
Little Fires Everywhere
Untitled Producing Project with Kristin Wiig
Are You Sleeping
Luckiest Girl Alive
Tiny Beautiful Things
Barbie origins project
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