For one year, Blake Lively wore a hell of a lot of clothing from her curated retail website named Preserve. So many, in fact, that she became little other than a walking advertisement for the site. On her press tour for The Age of Adaline earlier this year, Blake’s outfits were dominated by Preserve, and while the outfits were gorgeous, the price tags were not.
The site, located at Preserve.us, boasts artisan-made clothing and home decor, all meant to encourage the making of quality products. And while that’s all well and good, celebrity-curated products often mean one thing only: staggering prices. These prices made it near-impossible for Blake’s website to gain popularity, especially with little exposure beyond Blake’s own person.
In an essay written by Blake posted to the site, the actress says:
So here at Preserve there are people, stories, essays, videos and goods which hopefully inspire your home, your style and your tongue. There’s expensive stuff. Inexpensive stuff. And everything in between. But their value, is up to you. We may romanticize it, calling it treasure. What we’re really saying is, we see worth on every level.
The function of Preserve is part magazine, part e-commerce hub, part philanthropic endeavor and above all, a place to showcase the power of imagination, ingenuity, quality, and people.
Preserve is a creative space. A space which honors both tradition and innovation — a space which honors the future, while having a love affair with the past…
But despite the obvious sincerity of this post, and the relative “inexpense” that Blake sees (she is a millionaire, after all), the site is going dark. Blake has cited several reasons for this business decision, the most emphatic of which is that it “never caught up to its original mission: It’s not making a difference in people’s lives, whether superficially or in a meaningful way.”
But she’s determined not to give up on the Preserve brand entirely: “I never thought I would have the bravery to actually do that, to take the site dark and to say, ‘You know what? I haven’t created something that is as true and impactful as I know it can and will be. And I’m not going to continue to chase my tail and continue to put a product out there that we, as a team, are not proud of.’”
She wants to rework the site into something that will dovetail more closely with the vision she described in that earlier post above, a brand that will celebrate artisans in the United States, a place to honor the past and look toward the future, and a place to share written, human stories.
So the site will close on Oct. 9, and when it comes back, it may be under an entirely different name. Why? Because according to Lively, “I love the name Preserve. But then, I never thought people would think Preserve had something to do with jam! … These are all of the things you don’t think of when you’re too intimate with something.”
In the meantime, Preserve will be featuring discounts site-wide, but taking a look at the sale section of the site, the true problem becomes more evident. Pillows, necklaces, skirts, dresses, candles and other such items are discounted, sure—but they will still cost over $150 each. There is a section for “Under $50” items, but it’s a lot of children’s clothes—for $49.90.
In order for Preserve, or its future reincarnation, to work, it has to be less retail-based and more community-based. Dare I say more like Goop? I think the potential is there, but the interest is not.
As for now? Blake said she’s just trying to get through this difficult business decision by doing one thing: “I’ve asked my assistant to just play ‘Shake It Off’ on a loop — it feels really good!”
It truly does, Blake.