Reese opened the first Draper James store in Nashville a couple of weeks ago. She was supported at the event by her mum and husband, and looked super-pretty in a little dress from her line. We have HQ photos for you in our Gallery, and more information on the opening within this post…
Draper James Nashville: Reese Witherspoon Opens Her First Store
Reese Witherspoon is many things: actress, wife, mom. And now we can add shop girl to her resume. The Nashville native, who launched her fashion line, Draper James, online six months ago, opened her first brick-and-mortar store with a celeb-filled, Southern soiree.
Ever the charming hostess, Reese greeted her guests (roughly 500 of her nearest and dearest, not to mention Reba McEntire, Faith Hill and Sheryl Crowe), telling them, “This is such a dream come true!”
Witherspoon, the company’s co-founder and creative director—who has been photographed in her designs many times this year—explained why she decided to open the first Draper James store in Nashville rather than Los Angeles or New York.
“Nashville is an amazing city that is full of music, great food and and amazing artists,” she told the crowd. “About three years ago I said, ‘I have got to do something here because, first of all, I’ve gotta move back to the South. It’s just where it’s at!’”
Draper James CEO Andrea Hyde echoed those sentiments.
“It was important for us to be in Nashville,” she said. “Nashville has always been a big influence on our brand: Reese was born here. Our brand is based on her Southern background, so it seemed very natural to be here.”
The shop, which is filled with the line’s signature sweet and sassy designs (think floral dresses, mixed with tongue-in-cheek graphic bags with sayings like, “Totes Y’all”), gives off a homey vibe, complete with a cash wrap designed to feel like a kitchen-style gathering space and a mud room in the back.
Hyde says the decor is all part of the Draper James Southern spirit. “We want to make people happy,” she said. “We want people to come in and feel at home.”
As for future stores, Hyde says they are in the works, with an eye on Southern locations. First up: A Dallas locale in 2016.
And before introducing her musical guests, Ruby Amanfu and Lee Ann Womack, whose performance of “A Little Past Little Rock” had Witherspoon in fangirl-style tears, she shared the reason behind her personal (and familial) passion for fashion.
Of her grandmother, Dorthea Draper—one half of the store’s namesake—she said, “She didn’t have a lot of money, but whatever dresses she had, she made sure her belt matched her shoes, matched her purse and that she pulled herself together and presented herself to the world,” she explained. “It’s her spirit that’s here tonight, and I could not have done it without the support of this amazing community, Nashville, Tennessee. I’ve known so many of you since I was a little girl, so it’s amazing to see all of you here to support us.”
Reese Witherspoon opens Draper James flagship store in Nashville
On an inviting corner of Nashville’s trendy 12 South Neighborhood, Draper James welcomes you in with pleasantries, southern charm and warm hospitality.
“It’s sort of surreal being back in Nashville and having this amazing space that looks like my own home,” says Reese Witherspoon.
Draper James owner, actor and producer Reese Witherspoon wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Being Southern is a huge part of who I am. I grew up in Nashville, Tennessee.”
Her love of fashion and family is reflected throughout the clothing, jewelry and home goods store.
“My grandmother just had a great sense of style. She didn’t have a lot of money, but every dress she had she dressed it up and put her best face forward. She showed me what it’s like to be a lady and a true Southern lady… and a lot of people out there know what that means.”
Reese named her fashion company Draper James after her grandmother, Dorothea Draper, a Cookeville native, and her grandfather, James Witherspoon.
“They just shaped my idea of who I was. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents because my parents were working.”
Their influence and her Southern heritage were reoccurring themes when she began dreaming up her Draper James line.
“When I started thinking about fashion, and I’ve always loved fashion, I kept going back to the ideas of being a Southern woman who loves color and happy clothes.”
And, you’ll find that here along with your favorite accessory! For Reese, the storefront and retail space bring back a lot of memories.
“I can’t believe I’m standing at where Becker’s Bakery used to be. Every birthday cake I had was bought here at Becker’s Bakery. They used to have little squares with rose on top.”
It was the obvious location when Reese decided to open her fashion company’s flagship store.
“Well, I was approached by a couple of companies to do brands that would primarily exist in New York and Los Angeles. And, I thought that’s just not who I am and not where I’m from, you know.”
So, Reese picked home for her showroom and draped it with elegance and grace at every turn. But Draper James Southern commitment goes beyond the cute sayings.
“One component of this company that’s so important is that we are manufacturing in the South- our blue jeans, our candles and our stationary. Bringing production back to the South is one of the great exciting parts of our company.”
Reese hopes you’ll stroll in, shop a while and relax with a glass of sweet tea as you soak up her Southern style.
The Draper James brand is also focused on giving back. Reese has created a Nashville program called “Girls Just Want to Have Funds.” It’s a financial education course for girls.
Reese Witherspoon makes her mark on 12South neighborhood
Nashville native Reese Witherspoon is making her mark on the growing 12South neighborhood as she celebrates her venture into the fashion world with the opening of Draper James.
“This is actually on the same footprint as the Becker’s Bakery which people who grew up here would know it’s where we all got our birthday cakes and it was the most delicious place. It’s a special place in Nashville hearts,” said Witherspoon.
She describes the store as a mix of effortless style, inspired by her grandmother, Dorothea Draper.
“She just loved to get dressed up. She didn’t have a lot of money but whatever she had on she always accessorized it with her bag and her shoes,” said Witherspoon. “She was just a really beautiful, intellectual women but she also believed you put your best face to the world.”
She also spoke about giving back to the Nashville community that raised her, inspired by her Grandfather James Witherspoon’s giving heart.
“He sort of instilled in me a sense of giving back,” said Witherspoon. “He was either working with Big Brothers Big Sisters or March of Dimes he was always doing things for other people in the Nashville community.”
Together they are Draper James, her footprint on an ever-changing city.
“It’s just exciting to be a part of that growth and as tourists come they get to have a little bit of that southern life that they can take home with them,” she said.
Witherspoon’s fashion line, which includes clothing, bags, jewelry, home, and gift items ranging from $15 to $400, has been selling online since May.
The 12South storefront will be the brand’s flagship store.
Inside Draper James, Reese Witherspoon’s Nashville store
That’s how Draper James CEO Andrea Hyde described the price point of Reese Witherspoon’s Southern-inspired lifestyle brand, which opened its first brick-and-mortar store this month in Nashville’s 12South neighborhood.
What affordable luxury looks like at Draper James: $30 for a set of 12 thank you cards, $14 for a set of No. 2 pencils each printed with a “Southern saying,” $125 for a tank top, $300 for a dress and $165 for a “Totes Y’all” bag.
Touring the store Wednesday morning, I left with a better understanding of Draper James’ niche in the retail market — it’s preppy, it’s pretty and it’s all things stereotypically Southern.
Sweatshirts emblazoned with “It’s Fall Y’all,” magnolia printed clothing and accessories, strategically placed cowboy boots throughout the store and bowls filled to the brim with apples show Witherspoon is embracing the “Southern Belle” archetype.
The store opened quietly last week at 2608 12th Ave. S., about five and a half months after Draper James launched online. But an organized media event Wednesday morning was anything but quiet.
Witherspoon’s team of employees and media relations representatives — decked in Draper James’ colorful printed clothing — buzzed around the store. Jenna Bush Hager walked into the store shortly before Witherspoon in preparation for a “Today” show interview.
Witherspoon, who was guided from one television interview to another, talked about her Nashville roots, the city’s growth and her love of fashion. Witherspoon’s team kept a lockdown on photos of the actress turned entrepreneur.
The Draper James brand is meant to honor Witherspoon’s grandparents Dorothea Draper and William James Witherspoon, and also to put the spotlight on Southern style. Many of the items are named after Southern cities or neighborhoods.
The store is bright and colorful and full of printed clothing. It reminds me of a cross between Kate Spade and J.Crew.
Hyde said the store’s design is modeled in part after Witherspoon’s home that she’s building in Nashville. The cash register area resembles a kitchen, and there’s a mudroom in the back of the store.
Hyde said the brand — which has exceeded sales expectations since its online launch — has a wide range of clientele and is “multigenerational.” She said people have made purchases in 25 countries and 50 states, but 30 percent of online sales have been to the South.
Witherspoon is manufacturing about 40 percent of the products in the South and more than 50 percent in the U.S., Hyde said.
“We wanted to make it tangible price points. You can buy pencils for $14, and then there are more expensive dresses. It was really important for us to produce things in the South — that becomes a little bit more expensive — but that was something that was important to us,” Hyde said.
Draper James is headquartered in New York but has a team working in Nashville. There are plans to open a store in Dallas in 2016.
Witherspoon is also using the Draper James brand to empower at-risk Nashville girls with economic literacy skills in a partnership with the YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee.
The partnership kicked off at the “Girls Just Want to Have Funds” conference Tuesday night at Music City Center, where Witherspoon encouraged girls to take risks in following their dreams and to not be held back by fear.
Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James Maps Out Southern Plan
Draper James has opened its first store, a 3,000-square-foot flagship in Nashville, designed to resemble a Southern home.
The fashion and home brand that Reese Witherspoon launched online in May has a south-of-the-Mason-Dixon-line aesthetic, paying tribute to the bright colors and floral prints favored by Southern women.
The store, whose windows are meant to look like a front porch, was designed to feel like a “Southern home, rooted in tradition,” said interior designer Mark Sikes, who is also working on Witherspoon’s private home.
“There’s a lot of shared references,” said Draper James chief executive officer Andrea Hyde, referring to the actress’ house and the store.
“We have a genuine story and such a large megaphone,” Hyde said. “Reese is a world-class storyteller. To bring this all to one place and tell the story in one building is wonderful.”
“I grew up in Nashville and it’s been such a direct inspiration for the brand,” said Witherspoon. “It just felt like the right place for our flagship.”
While the paint is hardly dry on the brand’s first unit, Hyde said the company wants to dot the South with stores. Draper James has said it will open a store in Dallas. Hyde said the brand is targeting Charleston and Atlanta after that.
“We’ve sold in 22 different countries and 50 states,” she said. “We have a lot of international interest from consumers. About 30 percent of our sales are coming from the South.
“We want to be very disciplined in our approach to a retail rollout,” said Hyde. “We’ll open one to two stores a year for the next five years. The growth is strategically well-planned. As we introduce product extensions, we’ll choose brand partners. Reese has such a wide reach. Customers have asked for bridal, shoes and swimwear. We’re only 21 weeks old. It will all come in time.”
Hyde said other channels of distribution such as wholesale and licensing will be added. “We’ve been approached already about wholesaling and we’ll start in the next two or three years.”
Launching online has given the brand an edge. “It’s given us real-time insight into understanding the fundamentals of customers’ decisions. We’ve learned a lot about what consumers like and it’s allowed us to test, reorder and react quickly.”
It’s one thing to try to convey a sense of Southern hospitality through an e-commerce site and quite another to do so in a store. At Draper James, sales associates will offer customers glasses of sweet tea and proffer cupcakes.
Architect Benjamin Sohr designed the entrance to open on to an expansive living room. A long marble cash wrap with stools on one side is meant to evoke a kitchen island, while the accessories area with wicker chairs resembles a family room. “We wanted the back entrance to feel like a mud room,” said Sikes. “There’s a white bench with pillows and hooks for coats.”
Throughout the store there’s art by Southern artists and photographers, such as images of horseshoes, emerald lawns and magnolias.
Draper James has identified brand ambassadors, a group of “social, smart and dynamic women in Nashville who embody the brand,” Hyde said. “We want them to feel that the store is their place where they can have events and do outreach to the community. They’ll be wearing the clothes.”
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