Designer and model Christy Dawn Petersen describes her approach to business as spontaneous.
The founder of her namesake dress brand, made from deadstock fabric sourced in downtown Los Angeles, just happened to come across deadstock leather one day. That led her down the path of wanting to make a backpack, and then the idea for four other shapes came: bucket, canteen, cross-body and tote. The company today launches into handbags for the first time and will test consumer appetite for the new category.
The collection, priced from $359 to $599, will be sold on the Christy Dawn web site and are handmade in downtown Los Angeles.
“Before, I had an interest in doing swimwear, which was just kind of an idea,” Dawn Petersen said. “I also, at one time, really wanted to focus on one-pieces and jumpsuits. I feel like the bags really complement the dresses, but there was really no desire [at the start of the company] to do anything other than the dresses. Doing the bags, it’s opened the floodgates, so it’s been cool to see what this process opens up for us.”
She’s sticking with a focus on bags for now, which are a onetime offering. “But if it goes well, then why not make more?” she said.
She also wouldn’t rule out eventually moving into other categories. “Who knows? We could have a shoe line next week,” she said.
Dawn Petersen started her dress line two years ago and has created a loyal following for her vintage-inspired designs. Last year, she opened her first store — 800 square feet on Lincoln Boulevard in Venice — and said the shop continues to drive traffic, especially with summer now here.
She’s also poised to open a two-month pop-up in Nolita, and is awaiting final approvals for the space the company’s already found.
“We feel like we have a good base here, on this side of the U.S., so why not go there?” she said. “It’s the second-most-popular city for [us] so it makes sense for us to go there.”