Down a cheerfully painted Venice alley, past the organic cereal and breakfast stand Another Kind of Sunrise, the hat maker Nick Fouquet and the biodynamic chocolatier Zen Bunni, is Pearl Drop’s new retail home. After just a year on Lincoln Boulevard, Jennifer Nicholson has dramatically downsized – transforming her hippie chic boutique from a lofty, lounge-y designer salon into, as she describes it, “a little magical perfume and potion store.” The nautical décor remains, with wooden floorboards salvaged from a shipwreck, shell-encrusted chests and mirrors, and a crystal ship chandelier from the 1930s that’s one of the few pieces devotees of the old store will recognize.
It wasn’t her plan to leave the extensively renovated Lincoln space so quickly, but the gentrifying neighborhood was still borderline sketchy and off-putting to customers, and Nicholson, who designed her own line for 10 years, had begun to find the business side of fashion “unappealing.” When she heard about an opening in the cozy collective on Abbott Kinney, she started thinking about bringing a “higher consciousness” to shopping. An avid practitioner of kundalini yoga who was raised with meditation by her mother, Jack Nicholson’s first wife Sandra Knight, Nicholson believes “the whole general consciousness is raising, and it trickles into retail.”
At Pearl Drop, apothecary products from lines like Sweet Sisters (created by Nicholson’s best friend from 4th grade), Persephenie and Moss Botanicals are hand-made and organic, and many of them have medicinal and spiritual purposes. Nicholson describes the natural perfumes from Sanae Intoxicants as “mood altering. Each one is almost like taking a drug to me,” she says, “because it invokes such imagery.”
Jewelry tends to fall into a category one could describe as “organic bling” – like the batik’d bone and precious stone earrings by Royal Nomad, or an ebony bracelet by Borgioni with a rose-gold-and-diamond snake wrapping around the wood – a kundalini symbol, Nicholson points out. Other specialty items include vintage moccasins, a new line of psychedelic scarves by iconic jewelry brand Alex & Lee, zodiac notecards by The Wild Unknown, GoldDust Dresses made of vintage Indian fabrics and feather headdresses from Unicorn Airlines.
While she is a huge Coachella fan and will be happily set up this year with the younger of her two sons in a safari tent (“the epitome of glamping!” she laughs), Nicholson’s personal style leans a little more toward warrior queen than earth momma. She prefers spiked Saint Laurent boots to Birkenstocks, and a large sterling silver anatomical heart pendant around her neck contains her children’s teeth, her dog’s tooth, two pearls, white buffalo sage and wolf hair – which, she explains, should only be encased in silver.
“I’m still discovering these things,” she says with a smile. “I’m seeking it out, it’s fun, and it makes me happy.”
Pearl Drop, open Wed-Sun 11-6. 1629 Abbott Kinney Blvd., Venice. 310.399.1304