Mike Anderson’s search for a pair of boots led him to Scott’s Addition, but not at the time, he couldn’t find any here and instead found a decent pair on a trip to Boston. But that pursuit left him wondering what he could do to fill the gap. From there, Jackson and James was born.
As one of Scott’s Addition’s newest retailers, Jackson & James’, hopes to connect Richmond to heritage brands that focus on a handmade, crafted approach for creating lasting styles. The store sells men’s jeans, clothes, cologne, jackets and more.
Founded by Anderson and his sister Rachel, the company’s name stems from their individual history with different parts of the Commonwealth. Mike was raised in Covington, a town located in western Virginia where the Jackson River flows, while Rachel was raised predominantly in Richmond, where the James River is an integral part of the city.
“The Jackson actually flows into the James at some point,” said Rachel. “It’s the truer version of where we grew up.”
About three years ago, Mike set out to find a pair of kicks that fit the style and quality he wanted, but met a dead-end in Richmond and his old residence in Charlotte, NC. On a trip to Boston, Mike and Rachel walked around an upper end and found the pair he was looking for.
“That was the first time he had seen anything remotely close to what he was looking for,” said Rachel. “Guys shouldn’t have to travel to a New York, or a Boston, to get quality. That was our “aha” moment, that this is definitely something we can do.”
After hours of phone conversations during their daily commutes to work, Mike and Rachel kept the recurring idea of starting a clothing business together. Rachel graduated from VCU with a degree in public relations and furthered her marketing experience through sports marketing and sports public relations.
Mike spent 18 years working as a banker, and decided to leave his fortune 500 company for the pursuit of his own business. With Rachel’s marketing experience and Mike’s financial expertise, the sister and brother duo set out to leave their mark on Richmond.
The store itself, located at 3200 Rockbridge St, forms a comfortable space when you enter it for the first time. Light grays and earth-toned colors give calming aesthetics to the walls and floor which both houses some variety of industrial work; rustic window frames and furniture appeal to a more classic, vintage look.
The bar encircling the register invites people to take a seat and chat, while a sitting area in the back projects the latest sports coverage on a widescreen TV so guests can hang out in the store and spend time with friends.
“We want you to come in and spend some time,” Rachel said. “Not just pop in and out.”
It’s a new space in an up-and-coming area for RVA, and as construction around Jackson & James nears completion, other businesses are planning to follow suit.
“Metzger’s, and a couple others, are putting together Brenner Pass, a new restaurant,” said Rachel. “And they are doing a grab and go market, kind of like a Saison Market where you can get coffee, pastries, beer, wine, and sandwiches next to Brenner pass.”
It took time to find a location that fit the aim Jackson & James had in mind for Richmond, but as pieces fell into place, and the space took shape, Mike and Rachel found what they were looking for.
“The more we looked, the more we thought we would be in Scott’s Addition,” said Rachel. “We were put in-touch with Spy Rock, the developer for this project, from a mutual friend, and the building just lent itself. We could put the exact footprint we wanted.”
Rachel and Mike wanted to develop an atmosphere that combines quality conversation with quality clothing, and their first week matches those aspirations as local clients share their first impressions.
“Guys in Richmond are pretty avid about this,” Mike said. “They come in, and they know some of the brands we have, or are excited about the brands, and I think Richmond is ready for it.”
“In general, anytime we talk about it everyone’s been enthusiastic and supportive,” Rachel said.
According to the siblings, Jackson & James has a back-to-roots, hand-crafted approach that many mass-produced clothing stores have lost.
“Our flagship brands are Raleigh Denim out of Raleigh, NC, Tellason out of California, and Kato’, a Japanese denim brand,” Rachel said. “We’ve tried to find brands that aren’t being carried in Richmond, so we have quite a few West Coast brands represented: Bridge and Burn out of Portland, Grayers out of California, and Ebbets Field. It’s a lot of heritage brands making things the way they used to be made.”
Join Jackson & James this Sunday, 5/28, at their location, 3200 Rockbridge St. Suite 102, as they celebrate their first week in business with refreshments, giveaways, and music from DJ Ant Boogie.
Photos via Jackson & James