February 5 2019

Rebel Nell – Graffiti Jewelry that Empowers Women in Detroit

Who are you? & can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Amy Peterson and I am an entrepreneur, mom and CEO.

What exactly is Rebel Nell?

Rebel Nell is a social enterprise in Detroit that exists to employ, educate and empower women transitioning out of homelessness. The women are trained and employed by Rebel Nell to make unique, one of a kind jewelry made from fallen graffiti. The sales from the jewelry are put towards providing the wrap around services to help transition them to an independent life.

What inspired you to start Rebel Nell?

For many years I lived next door to a well known shelter called COTS (Coalition on Temporary Shelter). I would walk my dog and have conversations with the women living there. These inspiring women made me think about a business where you could teach a woman to fish and Rebel Nell was born. I wanted to create a Detroitcentric product to pay tribute to our city but it was also a revenue stream that would support the wrap around services we would offer.

How did you come up with the name?

We wanted the name to be reflective of who we are and what we do. We also thought it important to pay tribute to a trailblazing woman whose ideas we could emulate in our business. My business partner and I adore Eleanor Roosevelt and everything she stood for. She was a revolutionary for womens rights, stood up for equality and was a tremendous humanitarian. Her dad called her “Little Nell” and we thought she was worth of a more bad ass nickname and we came up with Rebel Nell. We believe the women we employ are rebelling against what life has dealt to them and we are dealing with graffiti which is a rebellious art form

You employ, educate and empower women transitioning out of homelessness, can you tell us about that?

Yes, we are really proud of the work we are doing. We do a really deep dive with the women we employ. We offer financial literacy, business education, life wellness, housing resources, legal aid, education grants and other support that they need to tackle the barriers that have been prohibitive in the past. We have hired 20 women out of the shelter and transitioned 8 into the traditional workforce.

Is there a favorite product?

For me it is the Nell Clutch. This was a several year collaboration in the making with another amazing organization called Better Life Bags that also employs and empowers women. I love how many amazing women are involved in the making of such a special clutch bag. Each piece is completely one of a kind not only because of the bag but because of the woman who made it.

What is your favorite part about running Rebel Nell?

I get to work with amazing women everyday. They inspire me to keep going. I actually just left the world of sports which was my dream job to come work full-time at Rebel Nell. These ladies are really amazing and make me want to do better and push harder for this company every day.

What is your least favorite part about running Rebel Nell?

The administrative stuff. I hate running payroll and paying taxes.

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How do you spread the word about your company?

A lot of it has been through word of mouth. However, we want to expand into other markets and are now spending money on digital advertising with the hopes of gaining more customers so we can hire more women.

Do you have any advice for fellow entrepreneurs?

It is a ton of work and requires a lot of blood, sweat and tears but it can be very rewarding. Find a support system of other entrepreneurs.

Do you have a favorite quote or go to saying? ☺

A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Please visit us at www.RebelNell.com. If you sign up for our newsletter on our website you will get 15% off.

About She's Fit to Lead

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