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.Continue reading this entry »
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.
Reese Witherspoon Developing ‘In a Dark, Dark Wood’ Movie
Reese Witherspoon is developing a movie based on Ruth Ware’s mystery novel “In a Dark, Dark Wood.”
New Line Cinema has acquired the film rights from the Gotham Group, which will produce with Witherspoon’s Pacific Standard banner. Witherspoon will team with partner Bruna Papandrea. The duo produced “Wild,” “Gone Girl” and “Hot Pursuit,” and has a dozen projects in the works.
Ellen Goldsmith-Vein (“Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials”) will produce for The Gotham Group. Gotham’s Lindsay Williams and Shari Smiley will serve in producorial roles.
“In a Dark, Dark Wood” is the second book-to-film collaboration between Pacific Standard and New Line, which teamed up on Garth Callaghan’s “Napkin Notes” earlier this year. The book was on the New York Times, USA Today and Los Angeles Times bestseller lists when it debuted in August.
The story centers on a reclusive writer who receives an invitation to a bachelorette party of her best friend from high school, who she hasn’t seen in 10 years.
Richard Brener, Andrea Johnston and Walter Hamada are overseeing the project for New Line. CAA brokered the deal on behalf of Gotham Group and Pacific Standard.
Witherspoon and Papandea formed Pacific Standard in 2012 in order to remedy the absence of movies with female protagonists. They are currently developing Gayle Tzemach Lemmon’s “Ashley’s War” at Fox 2000, “Big Little Lies,” “The Engagements,” “Pennyroyal’s Princess Boot Camp,” “The Outliers” and Wendy Walker’s “All Is Not Forgotten.”
Witherspoon is handled by CAA, LBI Entertainment, and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush and Kaller. Ware is repped by literary agent Eve White and Gotham Group.
Matthew McConaughey To Present Reese Witherspoon With American Cinematheque Honor
Matthew McConaughey will present Reese Witherspoon with the midcareer American Cinematheque Award during the organization’s annual gala October 30 at the Hyatt Regency in Century City. Kenny Chesney will perform at the event, which also will honor DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffery Katzenberg with the first-ever Sid Grauman Award.
McConaughey was the recipient of the 2014 American Cinematheque Award so he knows the drill; Witherspoon in fact was one of his co-stars who offered up tributes to him. The award is given to filmmakers “who [are] fully engaged in his or her work,” and “committed to making a significant contribution to the art of the motion picture.” The Cinematheque said her selection was unanimous, citing her work as both an actress and producer.
Katzenberg’s inaugural award is for an individual who has made a significant contribution to the Hollywood film industry in the continuing advancement of theatrical exhibition.
Paul Flattery and Barbara Smith are executive producing this year’s show, Irene Crinita will produce, and Corrine Mann is the event producer.
Paramount Pulls In Alexander Payne’s ‘Downsizing’ With Matt Damon, Reese Witherspoon
Alexander Payne is heading back to Nebraska and to Paramount for his next film, Downsizing. The project was previously set up at Fox and the project (and trio) was reported exclusively by Deadline several months ago here. In what marks the third collaboration with the studio, Payne, Matt Damon and Reese Witherspoon will pull together to do the story about an Omaha man who joins the throngs of people undergoing a new process that reduces them to a tiny fraction of their size. What? Yeah, that’s the logline. The guy then moves to one of the many communities of small people that are sprouting up around the world. Social satire.
The film will be produced by Payne and Mark Johnson and will begin production in the spring of 2016. The studio is looking for a fourth quarter, 2017 release.
The project was scripted by Payne with Jim Taylor, with whom Payne shared the Adapted Screenplay Oscar with for Sideways and collaborated on About Schmidt. This repairs Payne with Witherspoon’ who starred as a prissy but ferociously ambitious student set on winning a high school office to the dismay of teacher Matthew Broderick in the satire Election.
Payne and Witherspoon are represented by CAA. Damon is represented by WME.
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.Continue reading this entry »
Reese covers the latest issue of US Women’s Health magazine to promote Draper James:
— Women's Health (@WomensHealthMag) September 9, 2015
Reese Witherspoon named People magazine’s ‘best-dressed’ of 2015
Actress Reese Witherspoon was named People magazine’s best-dressed person of 2015 on Wednesday.
Witherspoon, the Oscar-winning star of Johnny Cash movie “Walk the Line,” headed a list that includes Hollywood stars Julianne Moore, Kate Hudson, and 15-year-old “Mad Men” actress Kiernan Shipka.
Witherspoon, 39, has clear ideas about what she likes (bright hues and clean lines) and what she doesn’t (crop tops and puffy dresses).
“I’d look like a mushroom,” she told People magazine of such styles, saying her height, at 5 ft 2 in (1.58 meters), is a fashion liability. “I always tell my stylist that it’s hard to dress short girls.”
Witherspoon ironically was one of the women leading an #AskHerMore campaign at the 2015 Oscars ceremony in which reporters were encouraged to ask actresses on the red carpet more about their work in movies than their style choices.
The actress is often a fashion favorite on red carpets, opting for a pale blue fitted off-the-shoulder Tom Ford gown to this year’s Oscars, a silver beaded strapless Calvin Klein dress for the Golden Globes and a one-shouldered Giorgio Armani gown for the SAG awards.
People magazine also named some of their best-dressed couples, including actress Gabrielle Union and Miami Heat basketball player husband Dwayne Wade, singer John Legend and his model wife Chrissy Teigen, and “Magic Mike” actor Channing Tatum and his actress and dancer wife Jenna Dewan Tatum.
People magazine’s 30-page PeopleStyle special can be found in the issue on newsstands on Sept. 11, or online at www.people.com/bestdressed.