Drew Barrymore has embarked on several business ventures over the years — production, wine and fashion to name a few — and along the way she’s learned some lessons.
Perhaps the most important lesson she’s learned is to keep things streamlined. “If you stay in one lane and associate with one word — a tentpole, a nucleus, a root — you can grow in [several] categories. Just do it under the same umbrella,” said Barrymore.
She’s applying this ethos to her latest venture, Flower Home, an affordable luxury home decor and furniture line she’s partnered on with Walmart. The eclectic assortment of nearly 220 items, inspired by Barrymore’s travels as well as her own homes she’s decorated over the years, is set to roll out today across Walmart’s portfolio of sites, including walmart.com, Jet.com and Hayneedle.com.
Barrymore told WWD in an interview early last year that she might like to try her hand at a home line. The decision to follow through on that and do it under the Flower umbrella goes back to that important lesson on streamlining. Preceding the Flower Home launch, Barrymore has folded her business ventures that do not share the Flower name — that includes her wine brand, Barrymore Wines, and her Dear Drew fashion line done in partnership with Amazon. Going forward, she’ll focus on everything Flower — for now, that’s Flower Home, Flower Beauty and Flower Eyewear, and her production company Flower Films. If Barrymore decides to enter another category — say, fashion again — she’ll do that under the Flower brand, too.
“It’s fun to dabble in different businesses, but eventually you have pick a lane and have real direction. You have to do what actually motivates you,” said Barrymore. “I’ve cut all my other businesses because I felt spread too thin, as fun as they were. Flower is really my driving force and what makes sense to me.”
The Flower Home launch is coming at the same time as the ramping up of Flower Beauty’s international expansion. The brand, which debuted exclusively at Walmart in 2013, is no longer available only at the retailer, and is solidifying its masstige positioning by entering mid-to-high-end retailers in new international markets this year, including the U.K., Ireland, Canada, Australia and India. Previously, Flower has only been available outside the U.S. in Mexico, where it debuted in 300 Walmart stores in 2017. Late last year, the brand’s distribution there grew to include 80 doors of department store chain Liverpool, as well as its web site. The brand, which sells makeup, fragrance, and makeup brushes, also launched in Ulta Beauty last year — it is currently in about 550 doors. Industry sources project the brand does about $50 million per year in retail sales, and including eyewear and the addition of home, could reach $75 million in retail sales in 2019.
The opportunity for Flower Home is big, especially as the online home market continues to heat up. Online home retailer Wayfair’s sales jumped 32 percent in 2018, to $6.2 billion. Walmart acquired Hayneedle as part of its 2016 acquisition of Jet.com, and late last year acquired Art.com, an e-commerce platform for art and wall decor. Retailers such as Urban Outfitters Inc. have cited home as a key growth category at a time when apparel sales have been shaky.
For Walmart, Flower Home is part of the retailer’s larger plan to premium-ize its digital shopping experience in the home category across all of its platforms. In February, Walmart debuted an exclusive modern home collection on Walmart.com called MoDRN, with furniture and home decor falling into three trend-driven categories: Scandinavian Minimal, Retro Glam and Refined Industrial. Last year, the retailer unveiled on Walmart.com a new landing page for the home category, along with curated collections, new shop-by-style options, editorial-style imagery and design tips. The company is also said to be piloting a white-glove delivery service option across its online platforms.
“We’re very bullish on the home opportunity in general,” said Anthony Soohoo, senior vice president and group general manager, home division, Walmart U.S. e-commerce, who cited industry data that online sales will grow to comprise 40 percent of the total home market in the next five years. “Drew’s brand and style really…fits in perfectly with the new elevated customer experience against this canvas we’ve developed.”
Flower Home fills a gap in Walmart’s portfolio, “in terms of hitting an eclectic, bohemian and modern style” of home products, according to Soohoo.
Barrymore’s concept of affordable yet stylish and on-trend home products also aligns with Walmart’s larger strategic plan for its home category.
“Our long-term vision is to be the most inspiring and accessible place to shop online and offline,” said Soohoo. “It’s so difficult to furnish your home — when the consumer is going through the process, it’s ‘How do all the pieces fit together? How do I get the style I want? How do I afford that?’”
The resulting collection is akin to an affordable Anthropologie. The retailer is curating the Flower Home collection, priced from $18 for a ceramic vase to $899 for a midcentury modern sofa, in different ways across its various platforms. Household items like dinnerware will be displayed more prominently on Walmart.com, smaller home decor items are meant to appeal to urban Millennials on Jet.com, and Hayneedle.com will provide inspiration for styling the collection’s larger furniture pieces.
Barrymore was deeply involved in the process of designing the collection, which was inspired by her own interior design aesthetic. Flower Home’s nearly 220 items consists of everything from framed prints to macramé baskets, velvet sofas, a wood coffee table emblazoned with a checkers board, printed dinnerware sets, quilts and bed linens.
“I’m a total maximalist, but I want [my home] to feel very cozy,” said Barrymore. “I love art everywhere, art on top of books and bookshelves with picture lights, and pillows and pops of color everywhere.”
Just don’t mistake Barrymore’s brand of eclectic maximalism for chaotic clutter.
“I didn’t want you to feel like you could be in England one minute and Palm Springs the next,” said Barrymore. “I wanted to create rooms that were very easy to understand, and things are going to go together, but it’s not all one note. I hate one note. I’ve always been turned off by the designer-y look.”
She was deeply involved in the design process, insisting on creating original patterns from scratch instead of going to a supplier. “I felt it was important that you didn’t see it anywhere else,” said Barrymore.
With her Flower Beauty brand, Barrymore is known for employing a philosophy of affordable luxury — she doesn’t cheap out on materials, opting for the best possible quality for the lowest possible price. She’s hyper-aware of making things look expensive, even when they aren’t — for instance, her 16-piece floral pattern dinnerware set, priced at $60. “I always say florals go so cheap and awful one minute and so luxury and cool the next,” said Barrymore. “I’m really proud of all the florals.”
Barrymore’s love of interior design dates back to 2005, when she picked up the inaugural issue of Domino magazine. “[Interior designer] Ruthie Sommers was on the cover, and I liked her vibe,” said Barrymore, who had purchased a house in Los Angeles in 2002 but had neglected the decorating process during a busy work period. She hired Sommers, and she fell in love with the decorating process. “We did it one room at a time and it took 10 years, then I spent time doing the children’s room — we’d pick furniture up on the side of the road. I made it my personal project.”
Now Barrymore feels most at home with a glass of wine and interior design magazines. “This is my happy space — picking out textiles, sitting and building out mood boards,” said Barrymore.
As she looks to evolve the Flower brand, Barrymore is only interested in entering categories she feels as passionate about as she does design. “I think there are things that get me out bed every day — girls need makeup and we’re all trying to live somewhere,” said Barrymore. “I don’t think I’ll become the next wellness guru anytime soon. I hope to get back into apparel one day — it’s a wonderful category, and I think [Dear Drew] was wrong timing and not the right partners. I’d love to do apparel in the Flower world one day, if it’s a fit.”
In the immediate future, she’s planning on extending the Flower Home range into items for children — Flower Kids — sometime later this year. Outdoor home items are planned for fall. She’s also in the midst of starting her own YouTube channel. The content will center on “me and all my interests, but there’s a theme and it’s going to be fun,” said Barrymore.
She’s optimistic about the future of her business ventures, streamlined as one portfolio of brands under Flower. “I feel like this is the best year for the whole Flower enterprise — I finally got my s–t together and am having [everything] under one umbrella,” said Barrymore. “I’m super behind it, invested and involved in creating and making things myself in categories that I’m highly interested in.”