The 28-year-actress admits the site hasn't become what she originally intended it to be, and that she doesn't want to continue to put a product out that both her and her team "are not proud of."
"We have an incredible team of people who do beautiful work, but we launched the site before it was ready, and it never caught up to its original mission," Lively bluntly tells Vogue. "It's not making a difference in people's lives, whether superficially or in a meaningful way."
"And that's the whole reason I started this company, not just to fluff myself, like, 'I'm a celebrity! People will care what I have to say!'" she adds. "It was so never meant to be that, and that kind of became the crutch because it was already up and already running, and it's hard to build a brand when you're running full steam ahead -- how do you catch up?"
Lively says she has another business in the works. However, she's well aware of her critics.
"I know what it'll look like, what I'm facing publicly, that people are just going to have a heyday with this," she says. "But it's so much worse to continue to put something out there -- to ask my team to put something out there -- that isn't the best we can do. I'm going to take this hit, and the only way I can prove all the negative reactions wrong is to come back with a plan that will rock people."
"I'm so excited about it, and that's what gave me the courage to do this, to say, 'You know what, I'm going to give myself one more shot at this, and I really have to do it as well as I can do it this time,’” Lively says, adding that she’s “totally terrified out of my mind!"
Preserve launched last July, focusing on handcrafted, artisanal items made in small-batch. Common critiques of the site was that it was too dark, and that the items -- like the $495 hand-painted Rialto Cherry Blossoms Boyfriend jeans, which Lively was sporting herself in April -- were just not practical given her audience.
Preserve was also not as successful at generating buzz as other celebrity lifestyle businesses like Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop, and Jessica Alba's Honest Company. Specifically, the Honest Company, which emphasizes non-toxic household products, is now valued at $1.7 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported last month.
"I'm not trying to show you the perfect life or the aspirational life. It's real life," Lively told Vogue about Preserve last July. "It's the thing that blindsides you on an idle Tuesday that's tragic but that also makes you who you are. It's not about me. And it's not about watching my journey of learning how-to, it’s about me sharing that with you so we all sort of learn together."
Items are still available on Preserve at full-price, though there is a sale section as well.