Inside Model-Mama Christy Dawn's Inspiring Venice Shop

Welcome to Mama Shops, a new FM Journal series that highlights beautiful stores owned by mothers. 

Photos: Ruby Nichols

“Everything that I do in my life, I make a conscious effort to do it from a space of beauty and love.” — Christy Dawn

Stylish. Sustainable. Local. Christy Dawn’s eponymous line of vintage-inspired dresses is the future, ladies. The model-mama designs everything herself, which now includes outerwear and accessories. Each piece is made by local artisans in Downtown LA, using only deadstock fabric to minimize the environmental footprint. This also means there’s a limited quantity of each design, making each one as special as your grandmama’s wedding gown. Speaking of which, this Fitzgerald bridal dress in vintage gold is to die for and a total steal! (If only her line existed when I got married.)

Christy Dawn opened shop on Lincoln Boulevard in Venice, and her store is as dreamy as you’d expect. Wood furniture and brass fixtures with copper accents create a warm backdrop for her vibrant dresses arranged by their gorgeous hues. 

We asked Christy to divulge her secrets and share how she stays inspired, while juggling work with family. (Spoiler: she answered as any good Cali girl would and lauds meditation.)

Your store's been open for over a year now. What inspired a brick-and-mortar, and how has it been going?

When we first started the business, we were strictly online and ran everything out of the garage. I never really imagined that we would open a brick and mortar, given how comfortable everyone is shopping online now.  But as Christy Dawn grew, it was clear we needed more space. We looked around for a few weeks and found the most adorable corner building on Lincoln Blvd in Venice that used to house a vacuum repair shop. It was the right price, within our budget, and available. It all lined up so well. The store has been open for over a year and a half now and it’s been an unmitigated success.

You mentioned the timelessness of your hometown in Placerville, CA was a strong inspiration for your vintage-inspired line. What was it like growing up there?

I grew up on 10 acres in the middle of nowhere. It was a slower paced life surrounded by the beauty of nature. Things don’t change as fast up there. Minus the newer cars, Main Street in Placerville looks just as it did 50 years ago. 

What do you do to stay creatively inspired?

When I'm in nature, I'm always the most inspired. I go for hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains a few times a week to reconnect with nature.

How has becoming a mother influenced your career?

I started Christy Dawn right around the time I got pregnant. In a way, it felt like I was birthing two babies at the same time. (Although one was much more painful!) But having a child really puts business decisions in perspective. I find myself asking the questions, “How can I run Christy Dawn in a way that will make the world a better place for my son?"

Here's a question every mother gets asked: how do you balance family with work? Do you have a secret weapon to help you juggle it all?

While there is a lot to do at Christy Dawn, I’ve tried to structure everything so that I get lots of family time. I think it’s a myth that you can’t have a successful business and at the same time have a wonderful family life. But more important than family time or business time is “Me” time, which is a 20 minute morning meditation. If my relationship with the universe is right, everything ends up working out very well.

What are some words of advice for other mamas trying to have it all?

The best advice I can give is, you can have it all. You don’t have to sacrifice family time in the name of the business. Also, sitting and getting quiet for 20 minutes a day helps a lot, too!

What's next for Christy Dawn? Any exciting news you can share with us?

We just got our own Christy Dawn factory and warehouse in Downtown LA! So we are currently in the midst of renovating and building out our offices.

Christy Dawn (1930 Lincoln Boulevard, Venice, CA 90291) is open Monday through Friday from 11am to 6pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm.

Ruby Nichols is a Fashion Mamas LA member, the founder of Almanac of Style, and mama to Dash.