Craig Talks 'Southern Charm,' His Status With Jules, And The Latest With His Sewing Company

- Southern Charm -
Craig Talks 'Southern Charm,' His Status With Jules, And The Latest With His Sewing Company

"Craig," as I'm sure you know (because who wouldn't know such an obscure fact), is derived from the Scottish Gaelic word "creag," which translates to "rock." "Rock," or the plural "rocks," has several colloquial meanings in modern American English. "I'll take a bourbon on the rocks," is something you might say to a friendly Charlestonian bartender. "I'd like to get my rocks off tonight," is another something you might say to a friendly Charlestonian bartender. "Craig," therefore, is synonymous with solidity, foundational strength, and a really good time: Southern Charm star Craig Conover wears his name well.

Sure, stability might not be the first word to come to mind when thinking about Craig, but every rock takes time to form. They need to meltdown (obscure the truth about graduating law school and passing the bar, live in a house made of empty beer cans and flake on nearly every responsibility); cool down (sojourn to the Bahamas for some soul-searching, heavy tanning, and some heavy drinking); weather erosion (that break up with Naomi, though, woof); and then slowly, overtime, compress and solidify into a hardened piece of the Earth's crust.

Did it take Craig longer than other rocks to fully form? Maybe. But is Craig having the last laugh? Yes. He's in Charleston right now, he tells me over email, and is happy "spending a lot of time taking care of myself and perfecting my hobbies," which include sewing, cooking, and, I can surmise, not watching re-runs of Southern Charm. (He does, however, occasionally watch Vanderpump Rules for "a good laugh," he says.)

"I used to watch the [Southern Charm] episodes during Season 1 but it would be so stressful that over the years, I stopped watching, especially when in a relationship," he says. "I still don’t watch every week, but last season, I would dabble and text Austen [Kroll] during it."

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Craig and Austen have reconciled after the Season 6 finale, in which — and I am loathe to even mention this since it was so eye-rolley and cringy — Craig and Shep Rose brought two "controversial" women to Patricia Altschul's Stag Party (née: end of Season 6 party).

Shep and Craig's dates were the two women who Madison LeCroy — Austen's girlfriend at the time — caught at Austen's house the morning after a night out. You remember the cellphone video (how could you not, it was played almost every episode last season): Austen screams "Madison! Madison!" while Madison confronts the women about whether or not they had sex with her boyfriend, Austen. Austen denied any wrongdoing, Madison retaliated by cheating on Austen, and then they reconciled and got back together.

At the Season 6 reunion, most of the cast (except Austen and Madison, naturally) thought it was funny that Shep and Craig brought the women from the infamous cellphone video to Patricia's party. Shep told Andy Cohen that it was a great joke, even if it made him look ill-mannered.

Anyway, these days you can see Craig and Austen on Instagram Live pretty frequently, chugging beers, having a laugh, and casually reminding us what experiencing joy with a friend looks like. (They even patched in Below Deck star Kate Chastain a couple of weeks ago.)

And if you haven't seen Craig and Austen on Instagram, maybe you caught them on Bravo's Summer House. Along with Shep, they visited the crew in the Hampton's for Kyle Cooke's birthday party (the episode aired three weeks ago).

When I asked which cast parties harder, Craig admits: "Tough question, but I think Kyle said Southern Charm does, so I’ll agree with him."

And where do Craig and Jules stand now? "We are friends and still text. I’m sure we’d see each other when I’m in NYC again."

It's like comparing Michael Jordan and LeBron James, though, when it comes to which cast can better handle a handle of liquor with their cereal. The Summer House crew loves getting blackout drunk (during the day) dressed in togas for a 37-year-old's frat-themed birthday party (heroes!), and the Southern Charm cast loves to ...

Shep at his home away from home: a countertop with a million Solo cups.
Austen "flirting" with Hannah (She just wanted to talk about her cat, Butter).
The all important question Craig (red shorts) asked of Jules moments after Jules was just "kicked out of the house" by Carl.
Craig, making vodka lemonade out of "Oh shit, Jules was just exiled" lemons.

... also get shit-faced, in the funnest way possible: Shep wore a beer bong hat and sprayed whipped cream all over his face; Austen "flirted" with Hannah Berner; and Craig? Our rock made an imprint on Summer House star Jules Daoud, who ended up staying the night in Craig's hotel room after the party.

And where do Craig and Jules stand now? "We are friends and still text. I’m sure we’d see each other when I’m in NYC again."

On April 7, Jules posted an Instagram wearing a Sewing Down South hat, and Craig commented, "I love this #nicehat." And when I spoke to Jules on Thursday, April 30, she had only great things to say about Craig.

"Craig and I are still really close" she told me. "Every time he comes to New York we hang out and yeah, we're still close." Before quarantine, they'd go out together in the city and she met a lot of his friends, which she enjoyed. "And I would stay with him, wherever he was staying," she continued.

Maybe the Craig and Jules thing could play out in Southern Charm Season 7, but, so far, there's been no confirmation on when it's hitting the airwaves. We know that the season started filming in February (cast member Danni Baird confirmed) but they had to stop due to the stay-at-home order for non-essential workers. Rumor has it it will air in February 2021, but take that with an extra grain of salt on the rim of your tequila shot.

Craig told Us Weekly on April 9 that he's disappointed that filming for Season 7 was suspended.

“It’s a bummer with this unprecedented situation but it really felt like we got back to our roots. It’s very organic and transparent. [After] having such a long break, everyone kinda came in full steam ahead, so it was pretty wild and a lot of drama," he told the magazine.

"I didn’t want people to think they’d order a pillow from me and get a 'gag gift.'"

Instead of filming, Craig is focused on his business. "We have a lot going on right now with Sewing Down South, so my time is spent either working through designs or new products," he tells me.

Sewing Down South is Craig's company that sells pillows, nursery items (not fit for crib use, newly launched), t-shirts, hats, and totes (one tote says, "Not today, B*tch, I'm stitching.") He established Sewing Down South in 2018, a move that came after a calamitous attempt at making one pillow for Southern Charm matriarch Patricia Altschul. Ms. Altschul's feedback at the time (Season 5, Episode 12) was that the designs "need to be better, so it doesn't look like clip-art."

The new Sewing Down South face masks. Image courtesy of Craig

He's come a long way since those clip-art days: Craig tours the country (or, used to, before Coronavirus) visiting fabric and craft stores to host Pillow Parties that promote and sell his designs, which, for what it's worth, retail for $58. The price point is serious, and maybe for a reason.

"I didn’t want people to think they’d order a pillow from me and get a 'gag gift,'" he explains. "The number one comment we get [is] how high quality our pillows are from the fabric to the construction to hiding the zipper. It’s the little details that count."

The Pillow Parties were a great way to meet "thousands of new people," Craig says. "Their support means everything to me ... It was such a fun atmosphere and seeing everyone with a constant smile on their face, enjoying themselves, and making friends with the people in line is what it's all about."

In the future, fans will be able to purchase oven mitts, aprons, and corresponding matching pillows, which of course, are a prelude to the inevitable launch of Craig’s cookbook, his agent and business partner says.

But, it's not all about the profits. The current focus of Sewing Down South is helping others. They're selling face masks that are functional but "also a little trendier," Craig says. For each 3-pack of masks sold ($24.99, ships in late May), the company will donate a mask to a local facility in need (like a nursing home).

Craig at home in his yet-to-be released new apron and oven mitt line.

Plus, he's working on expanding the business. COVID-19 has delayed the launch of Sewing Down South's new kitchenware line, but it's on the way. In the future, shoppers will be able to purchase oven mitts, aprons, and corresponding matching pillows, which, of course, are a prelude to the eventual launch of Craig's cookbook, his agent and business partner tells me in an email.

The cookbook should have a recipe for rock shrimp hushpuppies, or maybe one for stone soup. Craig, our Rock That Could, has found his foundation and it's time to dig in.

Feature Image: Courtesy of Craig

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