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After developing a serious girl crush on Christy Dawn Petersen back in 2013, we've been following the organic rise of her charming dress label, Christy Dawn. In just two years, the model-designer-mama has turned her passion project into a full-fledged business, creating a cult following of style stars who flock to her recently-opened brick and mortar store in Venice to shop the latest release of bestsellers. "It's like a fashion show every day there," Petersen tells us. "I get so inspired by our shoppers."
Speaking of inspiring, Petersen has a gift for manifesting greatness through her own energetic power. Case in point: the story behind her store. "It was a super spontaneous process," she reveals. "Before we had a store, we would have girls come over and shop our studio inside our garage. It was fun, but we needed our personal space. I knew it wasn't ideal so I told my husband and business partner Aras: 'Lets put our energy out there to finding a space, but let's have it come to us naturally and organically.' After that, we noticed a space open on Ocean Park, but it was a little too sleepy there and wasn't wowing us. Then two days later, our friend Matthew opened a store on Lincoln and texted us saying that a three-month pop-up space was available next door. We immediately called and met the landlords, then a day later we shook their hands and gave them the check. It was amazing!"
After completely renovating the Lincoln space in just nine days, the landlords were so impressed that they invited Christy Dawn to sign a three-year lease. The rest is history. Here, the multi-talented local joined us at Beaming to talk more about her growing business while revealing what she does for fun and how she keeps it all together.
What are you drinking?
Ginger Lemon by Health-Ade Kombucha.
What's your all-time favorite Christy Dawn dress?
It would have to be the Dawn dress, which happens to be the first dress I ever made. It's our most popular style and is super comfortable. The drawstring at the waist makes it one size fits all; mamas can wear it when they breastfeed, and it looks great on pregnant women. It sells out fast, but we replenish it often and alert fans via email.
What's your next big goal for Christy Dawn?
I'd love to build a production space at our store so that everything is under one roof. Also, it would be great to create a custom dress section in the store so shoppers can work directly with me to create their perfect dress. Back in the day, you would go to the store and get a dress tailored and it was this intimate experience with the dressmaker. That custom experience is lacking in our industry; there's so much fast-fashion going on. This dream is for long term though, so we'll see what happens!
What three things (no people) would you bring on a deserted island?
Well, given that my husband [Aras Baskauskas] won Survivor, I should probably refer to what he tells me: fire, a pot to boil water, and fishing gear. Very practical and logical.
Where do you go to unwind in LA?
My husband and I love miniature golfing at Castle Park in the Valley, that's our kind of date night. It's how we relax and let go. So fun!
Favorite beauty product?
I love my La Mer eye cream. I've been using it for five years, and I take it everywhere. I'm not much of a makeup person, but this product is my go-to, definitely.
Do you have any mind, body, and spirit tips?
It always starts with diet. I'm a huge believer that food can be such an irritant to the body. The better you eat, the better you feel. Also, meditate every day, even for five minutes. Even for one minute. I do it while I'm driving in traffic, so at least there's a peace of mind inside of me. Also, get your body moving through hiking, yoga, and any other outdoor activities.
What would be your last meal on earth?
Probably a bean and cheese burrito! [Laughs] I could eat Mexican food every day. I love it so much. I also love pizza, but I don't eat it as much.
What inspired your son's name, River?
Funny thing: without knowing it, my husband and I both wanted our first boy or girl to be named River. So, when he arrived, it was a super easy decision!
Song you can't get out of your head?
"Graceland" by Paul Simon, always. It's like my theme song.
On that note, what's your go-to karaoke song?
That's another activity we love doing for fun, but in a private booth because I'm so insecure about singing in public. Recently it was "Ignition (Remix)" by R Kelly. Also, anything by TLC.
If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?
I'd want to live on an island, like Hawaii. I'd love to eventually live there part time and have a garden filled with everything I need.
One-piece or bikini?
Bikini on me, but I like the idea of a one-piece. I don't have many curves, so I feel like I gotta show something!
Comedy or horror film?
Scorching hot or freezing cold?
Scorching hot. If its tropical weather, I'm obsessed.
Shop Christy Dawn online here and visit the store at 1930 Lincoln Boulevard in Venice. Hours are Monday through Friday from 11am to 7pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm.