How the Design Business of Beloved Writer Julia Reed Is Carrying On After Her Death

Keith Smythe Meacham sets a table with Ginori 1735 plates and a Cabana table linen. She cofounded her business with Julia Reed.
Image: Courtesy of Reed Symthe” The origin story of Reed Smythe is extremely sweet because it was founded in friendship,” Keith Smythe Meacham describes to ADVERTISEMENT PRO. Reed Smythe & & Company, founded in 2018, is an online shop trading in artisanal home goods produced by craftspeople and artists scattered across the United States. It was founded by Meacham, an entrepreneur with a background in education innovation, and commemorated journalist Julia Reed. “Julia and I grew up in the very same town in the Mississippi Delta but 10 years apart, so we occupied the same world,” adds Meacham. Reed died last month after a long fight with cancer, leaving a tradition as an “irreverent, expansive chronicler of politics, food, and Southern life,” as the New York Times put it.Though both securely rooted in the South, Reed and Meacham ultimately ended up in New York– where their friendship totally bloomed. “Julia and I invested all these years in New York City together, entertaining, decorating, cooking, and simply having such a good time doing it,” continues Meacham. “About six years ago, Julia developed the idea of taking some of the gorgeous things that we enjoyed but could not discover in stores and [getting] artisans to remake them.” Reed had actually previously commissioned distinct pieces as styling props for the decadent spreads featured in her books on food and Southern culture– everything from handblown glasses to cast-iron ornaments– so the set carried their knowledge and connections into designing similar collections for the market. Become an AD PRO MemberBuy now for unlimited access and all of the benefits that only members get to experience.ArrowNow, with the loss of Reed, Meacham prepares to advance in broadening the shop even without the outsize presence of her longtime pal. “Julia fought cancer for three-and-a-half years,” states Meacham. “And in that time, we had a lot of actually thoughtful discussions about what Reed Smythe would appear like. She desired the company to bring on doing the type of work we were already doing, however she desired it to be new and fresh– to always be looking for new artisans to champion and support.” Moving forward, Meacham has Reed Smythes next couple of seasons drawn up, with strategies for brand-new collections sourced from craftsmens throughout the South and more afield. “The company is going to continue as it remained in her life as a representation of her point of view and her point of view, my viewpoint, and those two things coming together,” says Meacham. A woodworker in Charleston, South Carolina, is hectic developing unique cutting boards from Magnolia wood, while Meacham and her team have likewise commissioned a series of woven river walking cane baskets from Choctaw craftsmens working in Mississippi.If COVID-19 guidelines permit, she wants to hold pop-ups in Nashville closer to Christmas, as well as throughout the citys Antiques and Garden Show. “Were a hybrid online business; we love doing these happenings since its just so fun to let people touch and see these amazing pieces,” continues Meacham, who prepares to grow Reed Smythes reach with Julia Reeds notorious contralto voice always in the back of her head. “I simply want to honor my pal and her incredible skill, and feel there is a sense of moving on– and not always just looking back.”

Picture: Courtesy of Reed Symthe” The origin story of Reed Smythe is extremely sweet due to the fact that it was established in friendship,” Keith Smythe Meacham discusses to AD PRO. Reed passed away last month after a long battle with cancer, leaving a legacy as an “profane, expansive chronicler of politics, food, and Southern life,” as the New York Times put it.Though both firmly rooted in the South, Reed and Meacham ultimately ended up in New York– where their friendship fully flowered.” Moving forward, Meacham has Reed Smythes next few seasons mapped out, with plans for new collections sourced from craftsmens throughout the South and further afield. “Were a hybrid online service; we enjoy doing these happenings due to the fact that its simply so enjoyable to let people touch and see these amazing pieces,” continues Meacham, who plans to grow Reed Smythes reach with Julia Reeds infamous contralto voice always in the back of her head.