One day when I was lost in Instagram world, I came across the profile of these two — John + Riley, a father-daughter jewelry making team.
My heart instantly melted upon discovering the brand and I couldn't wait to hear their dynamic duo story.
How was Gunner & Lux + Little Lux born?
John: I started collecting vintage jewelry for Riley when she was born. Riley has two dads, and there’s not much jewelry in the house. I figured at some point as she grew older she would want to play "dress up" …dancing her way to an imaginary costume ball. We searched thrift stores, antique stores, and asked friends and family for jewelry that they didn’t use. Within just a few short months we had collected a treasure chest of amazing jewels.
As Riley grew, she picked out the jewels she wanted to keep, and I decided to craft a one-of-a-kind adult necklace. I remember Riley sitting next to me, watching me and adding her input, and before I knew it, she was helping him create my first Gunner & Lux necklace.
My first necklace was a success, and I quickly started selling necklaces online and in local boutiques. Riley continued to show a knack for making jewelry, so after dinner she and I worked on necklaces together. Using her fine motor skills, she learned how to tie knots, use pliers, and tweezers as she developed her own line of necklaces for little fashionistas! Riley sold her necklaces over the summer at her Lemonade stand until we decided to add her line LITTLE LUX to the website!
....and that is how Gunner & Lux and LITTLE LUX was born!
How do you collaborate together?
John: We do everything together. We make the necklaces together. We come up with the ideas of the necklaces together, we pack orders together... At this point, Riley really is the Creative Director, she has her hand in everything. She has interviewed employees, she continues to hand write "Thank You" notes to our retailers and for all the online orders that come through each night. (though she does write these in advance.. in bulk now!...her idea!) She goes to her retail stores and teaches kids how make necklaces at what she calls #LITTLELUXWORKSHOPS... its just an amazing time for her, and as her dad and business partner I could not be more proud of her.
Why did you decide to do what you do as a duo versus going solo?
John: I have my own line of Adult necklaces Gunner & Lux, and with Riley at the time being only 5, she needed the help navigating the transition from selling her necklaces at her Lemonade Stand to on-line retail and then to wholesale. So together we worked through everything from the name, packaging, prices, and everything in between. Now, she is seven years old and she charts each day her growing numbers of her jewelry business.
What's one challenge you have faced in collaborating?
John: Riley is very opinionated and knows what she likes. Sometimes she wants to go ahead with a necklace idea that costs too much...and so we have to talk through how we can make slight changes to bring the cost down, or re-work parts of it so that it can stay in a certain price point. That being said, as long as there is PINK in the necklace she usually is pretty happy!
What's surprised you the most about your collaboration?
John: We bring out the best in each other! Riley can make me laugh like no other person... So if we are working hard she might stop and come over and make a face at me that cracks me up. I can't imagine having a better partner to keep me smiling and enjoying my days.