The Rambler: Father's Day

Jun 05 2016

What better way to celebrate Father’s Day than to profile John Petersen and his husband William Kinnane – dads to Riley Kinnane Petersen, Creative Director of the wildly successful Little Lux. John, who hails from Omaha, Nebraska, is the owner and founder of Gunner & Lux and LITTLE LUX. William, originally from the mid-coast of Maine, has been working in the banking industry for over 15 years. And when Riley is not busy running her jewelry line, she attends 1st grade. This dynamic trio currently reside in Atlanta, Georgia with their Basenji, Emerson.
Covet and Lou—The Rambler: Father's Day—Mr. and Mr.

How do you typically celebrate Father's Day?  Are there any traditions you incorporate into this holiday?

As a two dad household, Father’s Day is really more of a “family day” for us. We don’t have any specific traditions, except that it’s a day that we spend together, celebrating our special little family…And we usually find a way to have cake!

What are the most important things that you learned from your own fathers that you want to pass onto Riley?

William’s father was often heard saying, “If you’re going to do something, do it right!” We hope that Riley will choose her actions and efforts carefully, and be passionate about what she does. If you care and are thoughtful about what you’re doing - whether it be making a bed or trying to save the world – than the outcome will almost certainly be positive.
John’s father was “present” in the times that they were together. If it was throwing the baseball around in the back yard, or when John came into his father’s office as his high school principal, his dad seemed to drop everything and was always available to talk, or to just being there together in the moment. We certainly try our best with Riley to make sure that even if it’s a simple exploring expedition outside, that we are all hers.

What personality traits has Riley inherited from each of you?

Riley has inherited stubbornness from both of us. As a big family of “only children” there is a lot of personality in our house, and Riley is no exception. She feels strongly that her voice deserves to be heard and respected. And while we agree, we hope we’ll be able to teach her the nuances of how to share her opinion and navigate the best ways to do so with her peers, her parents, and other adults.
Covet and Lou—The Rambler: Father's Day—Little Lux, Riley
Covet and Lou—The Rambler: Father's Day— Little Lux

How do you balance raising a family while striving to meet your professional career goals?

We’re fairly lucky as far as work life balance is concerned. John has recently started to devote himself full time to growing Gunner & Lux and LITTLE LUX. This means that he gets to make his own hours, and even when working, Riley is often involved.

William is lucky to work for a company that really understands the importance of balancing work and family responsibilities. When needed he’s able to take time away to help out with school activities, and he never missed a performance or game!

How did the idea of Little Lux begin?  What are some of the key lessons Riley is learning as a young entrepreneur?

John started collecting vintage jewelry for Riley when she was born, knowing there would be a time when she would want to play "dress up" while she danced her way to an imaginary costume ball. Since neither of her dads wear jewelry, 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 John decided to try his hand at crafting a one-of- a-kind adult necklace in early 2013. Riley wanted to watch, and before John knew it, Riley was helping him create the first Gunner & Lux necklace.

John’s first necklace was a success, and quickly afterward his necklaces began selling on-line and in local boutiques. Riley continued to show a knack for making jewelry, so after dinner she and John worked on the necklaces together. Using her fine motor skills, she learned how to tie knots, use pliers, and tweezers and she developed her own line of necklaces for little fashionistas!

....and that is how Gunner & Lux and LITTLE LUX were born!

Covet and Lou—The Rambler: Father's Day—Little Lux, Riley

What advice do you have for those of us raising daughters in this day and age?

I’m not sure we really have any advice; every parent can only do their best. Raising a young woman is hard when you consider how much is stacked against women. Yes, it’s better than it has been in many ways – but we still live in a world where many people think that only girls can wear pink, and only boys can wear blue. There is a still a wage gap for women and the word FEMINIST still bothers some people. So, every day we try to give Riley experiences and tools to help her be her own, confident, well rounded person. Riley has been very lucky to have been able to meet so many amazing women since starting LITTLE LUX. Having these strong, successful women that Riley sees as mentors, friends, and women she looks up to is monumental in letting her know what she is capable of. Some days we’re successful at all of this… and some days she just watches a lot of Wild Kratts.

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