Meet John Petersen and Riley, designers of Gunner & Lux and Little Lux

The father-daughter duo on inspirations, sources, and fashion sense
John Peterson
Photograph by Ben Rollins

When his daughter Riley was born, artist John Petersen began collecting vintage gems and baubles, thinking she might like them for dress-up one day. Petersen couldn’t resist assembling the pieces into original statement necklaces, which grew into his own line, Gunner & Lux. Soon Riley wanted to help—but she had her own designs in mind. Today, at age five and a half, she’s the creative director of Little Lux, a collection of kids jewelry made from neon strings, wooden beads, and little totems and toy animals. (Dad helps with production.) We spoke with the pair in the upstairs studio of their Sandy Springs home.

Riley
Hails from California
When you grow up, you want to be A mom, a doctor, and a jewelry designer
Favorite necklace The unicorns—I like the pink ones. I’m just dazzled with those.
You love to wear Any dress
You’d never wear Pants
Inspiration Animals and colors and people. Like, that [points to a paper jellyfish hanging from the ceiling] gave me the idea for a jellyfish necklace.
Listening to Taylor Swift
Who you’d like to see wearing Little Lux Pocahontas, because she’s an Indian princess
When not designing, you Play softball. We are working on elephant necklaces for my team.
What it’s like working with your dad He barely even has to help me.
Least fun part about being a designer Going to the post office. I’m tired of it.
Business is My line is going crazy. It’s global.

John
Hails from Omaha, Nebraska
Day job Personal assistant at Pierce Consulting Partners
Top antiques sources Estate sales, Scott’s, Kudzu, little markets and shops back in Nebraska and in New York
What it’s like working with Riley I love spending time with her one-on-one, watching her try new things, hearing what she thinks about color combinations.
Where you shop for furniture
Brick + Mortar has some of the best vintage pieces out there. And Restoration Hardware—Riley says she would like to live on the kids floor of their new digs.
. . . and For clothes J.Crew and Crewcuts can outfit the whole family. Madewell has zero clothes for kids, but Riley says it’s her favorite store. She has belts, scarves, and buttons, and has even asked if she could work there.

For Big, for Small

Gunner & Lux
Caroline by Gunner & Lux, $270

Photograph by Ben Rollins

Little Lux
Jim the Giraffe by Little Lux, $24

Photograph by Ben Rollins

Where to buy
Find Gunner & Lux at shops including Sugarboo & Co. and Tulipano; Little Lux is available locally at Kayce Hughes and Seed Factory.

This article originally appeared in our June 2015 issue.

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