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Rebel Nell exceeds expectations in 1st sales season

The women behind Rebel Nell planned to start their jewelry-making business slowly and build it steadily last year. They ended up growing and hiring their Woodbridge-based business faster than they expected.

Rebel Nell is a low-profit limited liability company that makes jewelry from the paint chips that flake off of graffiti murals. It aims to also create jobs that empower and educate disadvantaged women in Detroit. The 1-year-old business mainly goes through COTS Detroit to find its employees, which it did for the first time last fall.

"At the time we were only going to hire one because we were cautious," says Amy Peterson, who co-founded Rebel Nell with Diana Russell. "Diana and I fell in love with three of them and hired them. We said we were going to find a way to make it work."

Rebel Nell hired all three of them and went to work at its space at the Grand River Creative Corridor's 4731 building. Sales of the firm’s jewelry fought to keep up with demand during the holiday season.

"It far exceeded our expectations," Peterson says. "It got to the point we sold the pieces off our necks there was so much demand."

Rebel Nell plans to continue its growth curve in 2014. Peterson and Russell hope to find space for their jewelry in more local stores and add more employees.

"Our goal is to have two more women by the end of the year," Peterson says.

Source: Amy Peterson, co-founder of Rebel Nell
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
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