Reese Witherspoon has certainly found success in Hollywood, winning an Academy Award and appearing in movies that have grossed more than $1.25 billion. But, can she achieve similar success in the retail world? Kirsten Green, founder and managing director of Forerunner Ventures, certainly thinks so. Forerunner led the $10-million Series B funding round for the Southern-inspired retail brand founded by Reese: Draper James. Stone Canyon Industries and existing investor JH Partners also participated.
In announcing the financing, Reese, who serves as Draper James’ creative director, said, having been born and raised in the South, she takes “great pride in the brand story,” and is “thrilled by the overwhelming response to the brand,” which is sold in all 50 states and in more than 15 countries. Reese founded the company with Seth Rodsky of Strand Equity Partners. Andrea Hyde, who previously held executive roles with Kenneth Cole Productions and French Connection USA, is the CEO.
Draper James launched its website in May, and will open its first retail store later this month in Nashville, Tenn. Initially, the company plans on adding other stores in Southern markets, with a wholesale and licensing roll-out starting in 2016. Designed in-house, the collection consists of ready-to-wear, accessories and home décor.
Kirsten, also in a prepared statement, said Draper James “stands out” in its ability to reach consumers.
“It’s about so much more than stylish product. It embodies a real sensibility and lifestyle and is rich with storytelling potential,” she said.
Calling Reese a “visionary founder,” Kirsten said the company “has the key ingredients to become an iconic brand.”
With the financing, Kirsten joined Draper James’ board. She is also on the boards of portfolio companies: Bonobos, Dollar Shave Club, Retention Science, Serena & Lily and Into the Gloss.
This year, Forerunner has backed INTURN; Cricket’s Circle, whose founder is Rachel Blumenthal;Away, which was founded by Stephanie Korey and Jen Rubio; M.Gemi, an online company selling affordable, Italian handcrafted footwear named after chief merchant Maria Gangemi; and, most recently, Curology, an online dermatology service
This article was provided by Beth Falk of the Falk Marques Group. It was originally published in the insider newsletter, Women’s PE Briefs.