Men of Richmond, Virginia who have been less-than-satisfied with the variety of sportswear, especially denim, available to them have a new destination to check out: Jackson & James, which was opened this week by brother-and-sister team Mark and Rachel Anderson.
This 1,800 square-foot emporium carries a carefully curated selection of brands such as Raleigh Denim Workshop, Tellason, Kato, Grayers and Ebbets Field Flannels. (Prices range from $30 to $275 for most goods). “We definitely focus on heritage brands,” says Rachel. “Our motto is buy better, but less often. We want men to purchase pieces that they can take out of their closets in five years and still want.”
The shop is the first retail venture for the Andersons: Mark spent 20 years in banking, primarily in Charlotte, North Carolina, while Rachel worked in marketing and PR in Richmond. “In both of our previous jobs, we had like hour-long commutes and we’d talk on the phone about how we were sick of it,” says Rachel. “Neither of us was that happy with our jobs, and Mike really wanted to come back to Richmond, so we kept throwing out ideas for new careers. But nothing really stuck until we went to Boston one day and Mark found this great pair of boots at Barneys. And we realized that even though Richmond is a cool city, it’s not a cool city for men to shop in.”
The creation of the store, including finding a location in an up-and-coming area of the city dominated by breweries and new residential construction, took the pair about two years. “It definitely took a while for us to find what we wanted, but it was worth it,” says Rachel. “It was important to create the right vibe for our customers. Our store is really laid-back – there’s even a lounge where you can have a beer or a bourbon.”
The other big challenge for the pair was choosing brands. “We did everything from going to trade shows to checking out other stores to looking on social media,” says Rachel. “But once we had our eye on somebody, we made sure we met them face to face. It didn’t matter how much we liked the product, we had to like the people behind the product.”
As for aiming for a specific demographic, Rachel says that wasn’t a factor. “We did some pop-ups around town as a test, and we found men from their 20s to their 50s bought our offerings,” she says. “We also found that a lot of women came by to shop for the men in their lives. We’ll see if that continues.”
Right now, the store is a true family business; there are only two part-time employees besides Mark and Rachel, who work in the store seven days a week. The name, however, isn’t a family one, per se. “James is a river in Richmond, where I was born and bred, and Jackson is a river in Covington, Virginia, where Mark grew up before we all moved here,” says Rachel. “Plus, it’s really masculine-sounding, and that seemed like a good thing.”