Vogue‘s latest profile of Reese Witherspoon sheds light on her impressive rise as a businesswoman. In addition to acting, she also owns a production company (Hello Sunshine), a lifestyle brand (Draper James), and is heavily involved with Times Up. What the story makes clear is that not only is Witherspoon supernaturally great at juggling multiple projects, it’s that ambition has long been one of her defining traits. The opening anecdote of the story reveals that she had entrepreneurial tendencies as early as elementary school — and that they actually got her in a bit of trouble.
It was in the third grade that Witherspoon started her first fashion business out of her desk. She would buy barrettes, paint them herself, and then resell them to her classmates at a profit. Everything was going smoothly until her paint pens leaked. Her clandestine business venture was revealed and she was subsequently suspended.
For what it’s worth, that seems like a pretty harsh punishment. Nothing in the story implies that she was forcing her classmates into buying anything. She had a hot product, and an interested customer base — that’s honest business, baby. Really, her only crime was not investing in higher quality paint pens that wouldn’t make a mess. Anyway, congrats to those few kids who got their hands on a Witherspoon original. The limited-edition accessories are probably worth a fortune now.