It’s getting down to business at Jackson & James, a new menswear store coming to Scott’s Addition. After months of waiting on construction to be completed and permits to be approved at the Symbol building on Rockbridge Road, the grand opening is finally right around the corner.
I met up with Rachel and Mike Anderson, the brother and sister team behind the retailer, who were still hard at work; Rachel in cleaning mode and Mike armed with a paintbrush touching up dressing rooms. Both looking excited, yet anxious and a little exhausted from the process of opening up your own small business.
“Yeah, we’re pretty much here every day now,” Rachel testified.
She showed me around the space that is a beautiful mix of sleek modern meets vintage eclectic. And, I’m just talking about the lighting and furniture; Not even talking about the cool carefully folded tops or, the button-down shirts and crisp denim hanging from the custom designed wood and metal racks or, the barware, belts, bags and apothecary purposefully placed on the antique tables and finds they hunted for at spots like Caravati’s or Class and Trash.
Shoppers at Jackson & James will soon be able to purchase hard-to-find, handcrafted men’s clothes from the east and west coast, along with unique items made just for the store via Virginia collaborations. Like denim spray made with maker Maven Made and custom belts from Lineage Goods. All of it is showcased alongside two dressing areas, a small den equipped with a flat-screen, a cash wrap as cool as a cash wrap can be, and a pair of laid-back siblings ready to get to know you, your personal style and your budget.
And speaking of budget… Jackson & James tees range from $30-$40, button-downs $68-$150 and denim $160-$280. Perhaps the jeans may seem like a splurge, but the Andersons are steadfast in the belief that a pair of well-made, handcrafted jeans that fit amazing and that you love to wear, will be worth every penny when you also realize you can dress them up or down, as often as you like.
Before going into retail, the Andersons were each commuting an hour to work and they knew they needed to make a change. Rachel had a career in marketing, Mike in banking. Their combination creates balance in business, their wellbeing, and their family dynamic. I asked Rachel how they decided on a men’s store. Her answer was simple, “It was a need not being met in Richmond”.
Like the resurgence of men’s barbershops, so comes the rebirth of men’s boutiques. In Richmond, men can find high-end custom clothing at spots like Ledbury, Alton Lane and Peter-Blair, to name a few, but when it comes to weekend wear – specifically makers denim, the pickings are slim with Shockoe Atelier and Need Supply Co. at top of mind.
Rachel tells me Mike really noticed the difference after relocating to Richmond from Charlotte. He was looking for a pair of shoes and couldn’t find an appropriate store, let alone the shoes themselves.
“Mike says he used to go into this store in North Carolina and the owner knew him so well, one time he called Mike and said, ‘I saw this jacket and bought it in your size, because I think you’re going to love it.’ And it’s that kind of customer service that we want to recreate here at Jackson & James.”
As for the name, Jackson & James, it is chosen from the two rivers where the Andersons each grew up. The siblings are 12-years apart so their childhoods were spent in different Virginia cities, Covington and Richmond. Rachel says she can’t think of a better person to open a business with or a better place in Richmond to launch their entrepreneurial endeavors.
“There’s a definite buzz going on in Scott’s Addition and we wanted to be part of that. We also felt the laid back atmosphere and the many locally owned businesses and breweries fit in well with us.”
Even though Jackson & James is a men’s store – the siblings have kept women in mind. “We recognize that women do a lot of the shopping for their partners, or simply point them in the right direction and there are a lot of items here that women will want to purchase for themselves as well.”
You can start shopping at Jackson & James this Saturday, May 20, or just drop in to say hello. It’s been the highlight of the Anderson’s small business story.
“We’re really lucky to meet so many wonderful, supportive, creative people who are super enthusiastic about what we’re doing,” said Rachel.
Jackson & James is located at 3200 Rockbridge St. Suite 102. Or, if you identify with landmarks – look for the large blue building at the back edge of the north end of the neighborhood. Store hours will be Monday-Saturday 10am-8pm and Sunday 12pm-6pm. Follow the Jackson & James Instagram and Facebook pages to keep up with their upcoming events and seasonal inventory.