I don’t do many interviews on ABM, but when I met Riley Kinnane-Peterson (an 8-year-old fashionista) and her father, John Peterson, who co-own Little Lux, a one-of-a-kind jewelry business together, I KNEW I had to share their story here on the blog. They are living my lifelong dream of starting a business with one of my children and I wanted to know EVERYTHING about how it all works.
At just 8 years old, Riley owns a business with her father that sells jewelry in over 400 stores worldwide! I know what you’re thinking … “HOW??” That’s what I thought too.
Here’s how it all began!
John: I started collecting vintage jewelry for Riley when she was born, (she just turned 8!) knowing there would be a time when she would want to play “dress up” while she danced in an imaginary costume ball. Since neither of her dads wear jewelry, I searched thrift stores, antique stores, and asked friends and family for jewelry that they didn’t use. Within just a few short months, I had collected a treasure chest of amazing jewels.
As Riley grew, she picked out the jewels she wanted to keep, and I decided to try my hand at crafting a one-of-a-kind women’s necklace. Riley wanted to watch, and before I knew it, she was helping me create the 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!
Elsie: You two are truly living my dream!!! I hope someday that my little girl will want to start her own business. Can you tell me a little bit about what inspired the idea and what it’s like to run a business together?
John: After her Lemonade Stands would get sold out of the necklaces, and I posted a few of them on Instagram, we were shipping them out to Instagram fans through the mail. This was getting crazy as each time we posted, they would all sell out. So I asked her if she wanted to have her own section on the website—she would be in charge of writing the “Thank You” notes (she still handwrites every single one!), and she just got so excited! I knew I could teach her some things about running a small biz, and I knew she would teach me a lot of things along the way.
Elsie: John, how do you balance supporting Riley without taking over? Is that a tricky role to play? What are your individual roles?
John: Riley is a very strong headed kid, and she would never let me take over anything. LOL. She really likes to come up with the ideas, colors, and sometimes she goes a little overboard, which I love. But we have to bring it to a level that we can make/sell. At this point in the business, Riley is our Creative Director. While she still helps with making and designing the necklaces, does inventory for both wholesale orders and online orders, packing and shipping, she loves her workshops—where she goes and teaches kids how to make necklaces. So far she has taught 30+ workshops for 10-36 kids at one time. They are so much fun to watch. She is also loving scouting locations for photoshoots and learning how to use the Like To Know It app, as she was just approved as an influencer.
Elsie: John, what is your business background? How has your daily life changed since starting Little Lux?
John: I have done a little bit of everything, from working with Target, working with a few startup companies, being a personal assistant. But, being a dad, getting to be creative and spend time with my daughter is the best job I have ever had. I have never worked harder and crazier hours, but I have never laughed and been inspired more than working side by side with Riley. Though I am often fired and rehired on a regular basis.
Elsie: Riley, do you have advice for other children interested in starting their first business?
Riley: If you have a unique idea, ask your parents for any help, and see if it’s something that you would enjoy and not get bored doing a lot of the same things. It should be something you love and that can turn into something amazing.
Elsie: John, I’d love to hear your tips for supporting a tiny business owner!!!
John: We have actually said this a lot. We try and say “YES” to as many things that come our way. As long as they fit into our “Brand,” then we just go for it. I also don’t think there is just one way to go about your business. Everyone said trade shows are where we would have to go to find our success. We only did one trade show two years ago. If Riley had her way, she would be selling at all of them. But we found other ways to get your name out there and into the stores that we really love, and we are in over 400+ stores all over the world. Do what works best for you. There are always other ways to do things.
Elsie: Both of you—which necklace is your favorite?
Riley: I love our Beach Life Necklace! It has a Pink Seahorse, a Pink Tassel, a neon palm leaf and a gold anchor charm! It’s my absolute favorite! Well, except for all of our new Holiday Necklaces!
John: I personally love our Wild and Free Horse Necklace. I think the leather, the beads, the wood, and the size just makes an amazing statement piece. I mean, I wear it!
Elsie: Thanks so much for reading! Be sure to follow Riley and John on Instagram—it is pure gold!
Credits//Authors: Elsie Larson, John Peterson, and Riley Kinnane-Peterson. Photography: Laura Barnes.