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Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James is changing hands.

Consortium Brand Partners, a fund manager, has acquired a majority ownership stake in Draper James, the eight-year-old fashion and lifestyle brand founded by Witherspoon, the actress, producer and entrepreneur. Draper James had been owned by a group of investors, and Witherspoon had a minority stake, which she will continue to own. At the outset in 2015, Draper James raised $10 million in series B funding from Forerunner Ventures, the lead investor, JH Partners and Stone Canyon Industries.

Draper James offers a Southern-inspired range of clothing, accessories, and home decor items. The brand is headquartered in New York with the flagship and retail team based in Nashville, Tennessee.

Consortium Brand Partners will now hold about 70 percent of the company while maintaining a collaborative partnership with existing Draper James management, led by chief executive officer Erin Moennich, chief financial officer and chief operating officer Sarah Foley, and head of design Kathryn Sukey. Witherspoon will remain a partner and board member in the business, working closely with Consortium Brand Partners to guide its strategic direction and growth.

“Draper James was inspired by a deep personal connection to my roots, my family and the women who shaped me,” said Reese Witherspoon. “It’s been so amazing to see so many women connect with this brand, our products, and our mission to bring a little Southern joy into everyone’s homes and wardrobes. We are excited to join forces with the team at Consortium, who understand our vision as a company and the importance of our community. They are the perfect partners partners for Draper James as we continue to grow and build this brand and I’m looking forward to this next phase in our journey,” she said.

Cory M. Baker, managing partner of Consortium Brand Partners, said, “Draper James is a beloved American brand with a thoughtful aesthetic that has resonated with women across the country. We are excited to collaborate with Reese, tapping into the ethos of her brand and reaching even greater heights, as we expand the brand with new offerings, across retail, domestically and internationally.”

Draper James, which was named after Witherspoon’s grandparents, will continue to be available for purchase at and its three retail stores, including the 3,000-square-foot flagship in Nashville; a store in Lexington, Kentucky, and one at the Nashville airport, which opened nearly a year ago.

With this new financing, the brand intends to extend its presence in premium department and specialty stores, along with expanding its exclusive RSVP collection with Kohl’s, which was launched in February 2022. The deal with Kohl’s includes feminine dresses, structured blazers, bodysuits, blouses and button-down cardigans, along with skirts, rompers and seasonal capris, as well as home.

The acquisition of Draper James marks a significant milestone as the inaugural addition to Consortium Brand Partners’ portfolio of consumer brands. Begun last March, the firm is headed by industry veterans Baker, Michael De Virgilio and Jonathan Greller.

Greller most recently was president of Digital Ventures at Marquee Brands and before that was the head of strategy and corporate development for Marquee. Earlier he was president of Saks Off 5th and Gilt Groupe at Hudson’s Bay Co. Baker most recently partnered with Neuberger Berman to develop, launch and manage Marquee Brands, and DeVirgilio also recently partnered with Neuberger Berman to develop, launch and manage Marquee Brands and earlier was president of licensing and international at Kenneth Cole Productions.

In an interview Friday, Moennich explained the rationale in finding new investors.

“We’ve spent the past eight years really growing the business, expanding our offering, and along with Reese, we really felt that it was the right time to enter the next phase,” she said. “The brand will really remain the same, you’ll see increased offerings in some of our categories, expanded offerings in home and children’s, and we’re also looking toward international expansion.”

Erin Moennich

Erin Moennich

She said for all those reasons, she felt Baker and the Consortium team “were the right partners to really help us accelerate the growth.”

Baker said he and his team have always focused on brands that have a genuine relationship with the consumer. “That always has to be the first litmus test to an investment criteria. You would be very hard-pressed to find a brand that is more genuine and more authentic and more a part of women’s lives than Draper James. That was very compelling to us. It is a brand that is created by women, run by women, for women. That story is very compelling and you can’t create that. You either find it and it’s special… that really was very attractive to us,” said Baker.

Baker said Moennich will remain as CEO and the people will remain in place. “It’s really nice when you find a business like this that’s far from broken. Everything is really going great. It’s a strong team, it’s a strong founder message. Reese’s message continues to flow through everything the company does. We’re just looking to help it grow faster, stronger, bigger, better,” he said. “There isn’t anything to fix. That’s really exciting.”

He said Witherspoon is expected to stay very active, as she always has been. “Really nothing’s changing with her role and activity in the company,” he said.

Some looks from Draper James.

Some fall looks from Draper James. Courtesy of Draper James

Moennich added that Witherspoon “will continue to really be a source of inspiration to the team and all the products that we create; she’s very involved with the products that we create and the marketing messages, of course, and that’s going to remain consistent.”

With this new investment, Moennich anticipates expansion within their core categories, such as ready-to-wear, swim, footwear and fashion jewelry, an expanded offering in home and pets, and more children’s and mommy-and-me. “We’ve always dabbled in that category, but we really see a lot of potential,” she said.

Some Draper James styles for fall.

Some styles from Draper James. Courtesy of Draper James

Asked if opening more freestanding stores is on the agenda, Moennich said, “I think so. We’re still working through the retail piece of our strategy. But our Nashville store is really our flagship and where so many people find us and first interact with us. We would love to replicate that magic in additional locations. When Cory and his team first visited the store, they could really feel the energy of the brand.”

Baker concurred, praising the Nashville store and its staff. “When you walk into that space, it is bright, it is joyful, it is happiness in a retail execution. In my career, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a better retail execution. That is definitely something we are going to look to replicate. It’s not every day that you can walk up to a cash wrap in a brick-and-mortar location, and see a line 10-people deep at 12 o’clock on a Tuesday,” he said.

Darcy Miller, Author of Celebrate Everything and Editor-at-Large of Martha Stewart Weddings. Photography by Morgan Lindsay Photography.

The Draper James store at 2608 12th Avenue South in Nashville. Morgan Lindsay Photography

Another area of opportunity is e-commerce. While the overall sector is plagued by high return rates, “the return rate for Draper James is among the lowest I’ve seen in the entire industry,” Baker said. “It is such a testament to how women know the brand, how well the creative and design team does, the fit and design, and the customer service that’s there as well,” he said, adding they also plan to raise the brand’s profile through marketing.

As for their relationship with Kohl’s, Moennich said the retailer remains an important part of their ongoing strategy and they’re expanding their offering there. Kohl’s recently launched Draper James RSVP home product “which is going very well,” she said.

Draper James’ primary distribution is Kohl’s, but Moennich said they’re going back into their specialty store distribution with Draper James, which they had stopped during COVID-19. Baker added that there’s a strong direct business with the brand, but some of the new lifestyle categories, such as home and gardening, pet, and holiday and decor, will be going into wholesale.

“Erin and the team came on and brought a ton of success in terms of profitability and in terms of growth and really focused on getting the house in order. And that’s really been over the last few years the focus, and now it’s time to lean back into a lot wider distribution,” he said.

Baker also sees international opportunity. “Draper James is known worldwide, even though it’s not sold worldwide. Reese’s reach is planetary, and that combined with the message and the feminine aesthetic of this brand, allows us to have a lot of opportunity moving forward,” said Baker.

Moennich said they were in discussions with Consortium for about six months and began working with their team formulating a strategy during that time and exploring new opportunities. “As we came to the end of the process we’re just excited and looking forward to now putting these things into place and seeing those results over the next 12 to 18 months,” said Moennich.

“We’ve been acting as partners for months and working together in growing this business well in anticipation of the deal closing,” Baker said. The deal closed in late August. Consortium was advised by Winston & Strawn, LLP, while Draper James was advised by Solomon Partners and Arent Fox, LLP throughout the transaction.

Baker said Consortium looks to do maybe one or two deals a year “which allows us to be really focused and working with the teams, and giving it the time it deserves.”