First Look Inside Pearl Drop Venice
Never mind diamonds in the rough, let's discuss pearls … pure and unassuming, humbly revealing all the colors of the rainbow upon closer inspection. They're also a huge pain in the ass to harvest, buried under oyster guts, barricaded in jagged shells that need to be pried open with sharp objects - shells from oysters in the South Pacific that you need to dive down and find.
They're a lot like this new clothing and jewelry boutique near the intersection of Lincoln Blvd. and Rose Ave., appropriately named Pearl Drop. It's a play on Pearl, its Montana Ave. predecessor by designer and curator Jennifer Nicholson, who needs no point of reference in the fashion world, but yes, Jack's daughter. Inside you'll find a playful mix of bohemian staples -- paisley GoldDust dresses, chunky stone-encrusted Alex & Lee necklaces, vintage silver and turquoise Native American jewelry -- but toughened up with a modern mix of Nicholson's leather jackets, drapey kimonos in bold hues and Ilia organic lip colors. Outside you'll find busy Lincoln Boulevard -- the strip mall across the street, a bus stop at the 76 station.
After searching six months for retail space in Venice, Nicholson decided that this was the perfect spot, at the perfect location. Formerly Supplemental Organic Solutions (S.O.S.), a medical marijuana dispensary, Nicholson recognized its "great bones," painted over the graffiti wall art and set up shop. She initially looked on the rapidly developing Rose Ave., which has been likened to a new, younger Abbot Kinney, but even there felt a little crowded, so she pioneered East of Lincoln.
"It's uncharted," says Nicholson. "It's up-and-coming and I like being rogue and being able to do my own thing. Abbot Kinney is too saturated right now."
Nicholson and others including Tradesmen Los Angeles, The General Store Venice, and the just-opened Fire & Creme, are filling in the spaces between neighbors like Wurstkuche, Baby Blues and Lincoln Fine Wines to create what some have nicknamed the Linc. It's reminiscent to her of the Venice she knew as a kid, a community of artistic free spirits where her mother grew up, and where she spent most of the '80s. Nicholson also had her design studio in Venice at one point.
"The whole skater scene, I was really into in in my 20s," she says.
Friends and Rose Ave. neighbors Big Red Sun and The Golden State helped set up Pearl Drop's patio lounge, and Nicholson's yoga instructor also recently opened the Ra Ma Institute in the building next door on Lincoln Blvd. Now, after a brief retail hiatus following the closing of Pearl in 2005, she's back and feeling totally at home.